While some corporate choices lead us down a garden path to delightful gains, some journeys can delay growth as an organization. Worse still, some decisions can sink the entire ship by sapping energy and resources from an enterprise’s core competency.
Too Big to Succeed?
In initial drafts of this post, I struggled with the conflict of how much I love using Google Search, Google Maps, and a variety of other Google products with the difficulty I was experiencing with Google Apps, a platform of services including Google Docs services like word processing, spreadsheets, and Google’s GMail for business email service. I found the extremely low per-user fee charged to businesses using Google Apps and free availability of some services to be at odds with professional use when support is required; for a period of time last year, the spreadsheet service was completely unavailable for edits or uploads. However, I was wrong. My thesis was planned to be “Spread Too Thin,” based on the idea that by taking on so many tasks, and by becoming a Jack of All Trades, Google might become the anecdotal Master of None.
I Stand Corrected
While complaining about services which in some cases are completely developed to compete with existing models (maps.google.com is now in many ways better than the MapQuest.com who dominated the market years ago, or launching Google+ to integrate social networking directly into the Google suite and in effect take on Facebook and Twitter), I underestimated the work that appears to go into this kind of Google growth. The leverage of large monopolies is always fraught with peril, because if a firm becomes too large and exerts its own girth in order to control the market, it runs the risk of competing unfairly. But looking at this in-depth, Google appears to target large opportunities, in fact bringing its considerable cannons to bear only on sizable markets, even when they appear unrelated to existing lines of Google business. When a small company is achieving remarkable growth, as in the case of Groupon.com, Google makes all efforts to acquire the firm and acquire the intellectual property, only competing when required.
I now consider the progress made on new and exciting (sometimes seemingly unrelated) fronts for Google to be not only what is currently called “creative destruction” or constructing “disruptive technology” but better still, the achievement of Google’s mission: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. It’s a win because they succeed far more often than they fail.