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Can Larry reboot Google?
By Dave Winer on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 4:19 AM.

Interesting story on Larry Page and Google. He of course is one of two founders, and the CEO of Google.  #

He says Google is its own biggest problem.  #

As an observer of BigCo's in the tech business for over 30 years (oy) I think I know at what point in the cycle he is in.  #

Here's the story, from an outsider's point of view.  #

When Google started it was great. They had a winning product, search, and it was connecting with users bigtime. Then they added mail, maps, bought YouTube and discovered ads.  #

The company grew and hired from the general talent pool of Silicon Valley. That means it was able to operate at huge scale, but the tradeoff was that great new ideas didn't make it there anymore.  #

Great ideas don't sound like great ideas before they happen. They sound unlikely. Egotistic. People find ways of dismissing them even if like Page you have a track record of recognizing, developing and promoting great ideas. The people at Google would recognize a fine new search engine or Twitter clone. Or a new YouTube, Dropbox, eBay or Skype. These are, today, proven ideas. And that's what Google invests in.  #

Larry Page is brilliant. And great ideas are addictive. And great ideas aren't just light bulbs. The transcontinental railroad was a great idea because of its scope and its ability to transform human civilization. To make something like that happen you have to do a lot more than "have" an idea. You have to develop it, make it work, and then convince everyone else to use it. Often without having the thing itself to help you sell it. (In other words to sell the idea of the transcontinental railroad you had to wave your arms a lot. Steve Jobs doesn't have to sell anything until he can put one in your hands.) #

The people who sold JFK on going to the moon were some of the most accomplished tech leaders ever. I think Page probably could have been one of those people.  #

Anyway, he loves great ideas. Has done some and wants to keep going. But he has this huge ball and chain around his neck called Google. It's so large you or I couldn't comprehend it. He has had time to get used to it, but I bet it's incomprehensible to him too. You can't grok the totality of something as big as Google, no matter how great your mind is. #

Bill Gates got to this point with Microsoft, tried to re-whip the intelligence of his early days, failed, and went on to be a philanthropist. #

Steve Jobs was fired before Apple could get to this point. He spent years in the wilderness, came back and somehow got Apple to turn the corner. Probably because he had no reason not to fire the losers who accumulate in BigCo's. There was a huge purge at Apple in 1997 and 1998.  #

Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg are there now. Neither of them has made it over the hump. Will they be Steve or will they be Bill? Or something else. #

I would love to see a video of Page's talk. I hope that makes its way to YouTube. :-) #

BTW, feature request. If I search for "google coffee mug" one of the first hits should be a blog-ready image of a google coffee mug. #

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