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2010-12-18

Google, Pixar and complacency

Summary of “Google’s Facebook-Killer Slowed By Political Infighting”:
  • Google is scared of Facebook and Twitter, because they are very successful and own important data for improving the quality of web searches.
  • It has already bought a number of social companies, but does not seem to be able to integrate them well into the company; there is a lot of political infighting between various groups.
This confirms what I have observed for a while: While Google buys many companies, they don’t often become a meaningful part of it. It also suffers from self-centeredness and a general lack of focus. An article in the Harvard Business Review [via Daring Fireball] makes a similar observation. But the article is mainly a description of how Ed Catmull leads Pixar, in a style that is arguably different from Google’s:
Pixar has [...] a culture where the fear of complacency is a strong motivator, where new problems are identified, discussed, and addressed openly and honestly, all of which requires humility.
As an aside, the article also links to “Keep Your Crises Small”, an interesting talk by Catmull. Openness and the willingness to make mistakes (and learn from them) are rare in the business world. It is a good sign that Pixar encourages both.

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