10 Lessons Learned from the Early Days of Google




Matt was “volunteered” to work on the front-end of the ads product, where he worked for about a year. During this experience Matt could see people starting to spam Google. So Matt went to a VP of Engineering and said “I want to work on spam” and the VP said OK. Just like that. Before that Matt largely went along with what others thought he should do.

You would be amazed what a difference it makes to just tell someone “I would like to do X.” If you are manager, if someone wants to work on something they will work twice as hard.

No, success is hundreds of innovations. It’s not like there’s one shining epiphany and everything is set. So it wasn’t just cheap hardware, it wasn’t just Page Rank, it was Map Reduce, Spanner, and so on. It takes many innovations to make a successful company or a successful career.

You could record every meeting if you wanted too. Digital is cheap. Ten years from now you’ll want to remember that ping pong table where eight of you would sit around and talk about making Google search quality better. You’re going to want to remember that huge dog. You’re going to want to remember the good old days.

Try to take pictures when something funny or quirky happens. One example was a giant cookie sent in by someone wanting reinclusion into search. Other examples are April fools pranks and Halloween traditions.

There was a bet Matt made with his team where they could do anything they wanted to his hair of they did a really good job fighting spam for a quarter. They cut it all off

Interesting story about weekly meetings where employees could grill the execs about why they made the decisions they made.

Matt has always thought of Google as a tool and they try to make it the best tool they can.

Fred Brooks in The "Computer Scientist as Toolsmith": If we perceive our role aright, we then see more clearly the proper criterion for success: a toolmaker succeeds as, and only as, the users of his tool succeed with his aid.