Google Innovation Culture


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Slides of my talk at HEC Montreal 2009 about Google Innovation Culture, explaining what traits of Google Enterprise Culture favor innovation.

The title is in french, fr-ca, since this was given in Quebec, the slides are in english (Tabernacle!) becaue it is easier for sharing, and the pictures of my family of bilingual:-)

  • Google is being run by Indians, managerially and technically. Even though Page and Schmidt are CEO and Executive Chairman of Big G, but still we can’t forget that it was Amit Singhal, an IIT Roorkey Graduate, who re-wrote the whole algorithm of Google Search Engine in 2000 which made Google the best in the industry. Then, Nikesh Arora of BHU-IT is the Chief Business Manager; Vic Goundotra is the man behind the whole Google Plus… and, many many more. Search FAMOUS INDIANS WORKING IN GOOGLE for more details.
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Google Innovation Culture

  1. 1. Une culture de l’innovation 2 Patrick Chanezon [email_address] chanezon HEC Montreal 20 Octobre 2009
  2. 2. Traits of Google Enterprise Culture <ul><li>Infrastructure Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Universality </li></ul><ul><li>Design Principles </li></ul><ul><li>Inspiration driven by data </li></ul><ul><li>Risk </li></ul><ul><li>Agile </li></ul><ul><li>Open Source </li></ul><ul><li>APIs </li></ul><ul><li>Googleyness </li></ul><ul><li>The world is flat </li></ul><ul><li>Do no evil </li></ul><ul><li>Getting the right People </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic patience </li></ul>
  3. 3. Infrastructure culture
  4. 4. Infrastructure culture <ul><li>Larry and Serguey’s 1998 paper ”The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine&quot; </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other Google Research papers since then </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Build on the shoulders of giants </li></ul><ul><li>Custom stack made of standards parts: machines, linux, servers </li></ul><ul><li>Standard infrastructure: sharding, GFS, MapReduce, BigTable </li></ul><ul><li>Google App Engine: easy cloud, for Googlers and others developers </li></ul><ul><li>Standard languages: c/c++, java, python </li></ul><ul><li>Horizontal scalability: parallel and asynchronous whenever possible </li></ul>
  5. 5. Universality
  6. 6. Universality <ul><li>Be ambitious </li></ul><ul><li>Tackle large problems… </li></ul><ul><li>…at the scale of the web </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: gmail, GWT, OpenSocial, Maps, Earth, Checkout, App Engine, Chrome, Wave </li></ul><ul><li>Products or parts of them can become reusable infrastructure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>GWT used in Wave and AdWords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Checkout used in Android Market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BigTable used in App Engine </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. What makes a design &quot;Googley&quot;?
  8. 8. What makes a design &quot;Googley&quot;? <ul><li>1. Focus on people—their lives, their work, their dreams. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Every millisecond counts. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Simplicity is powerful </li></ul><ul><li>4. Engage beginners and attract experts. </li></ul><ul><li>5. Dare to innovate. </li></ul><ul><li>6. Design for the world. </li></ul><ul><li>7. Plan for today's and tomorrow's business. </li></ul><ul><li>8. Delight the eye without distracting the mind. </li></ul><ul><li>9. Be worthy of people's trust. </li></ul><ul><li>10. Add a human touch. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  9. 9. Inspiration driven by Data
  10. 10. Inspiration driven by Data <ul><li>A/B testing (see Marissa's preso) for UI </li></ul><ul><li>Everything is measured </li></ul><ul><li>Measures drive product development </li></ul><ul><li>Dogfood program: use products internally before they are released, sometimes friend and family programs </li></ul><ul><li>Gmail labs: allows 20% ideas to be pushed out to external volunteers </li></ul>
  11. 11. Fail often, fail quickly, and learn
  12. 12. Fail often, fail quickly, and learn <ul><li>Risk taking/Experimentation is encouraged </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“Do not be afraid of day-to-day failures — learn from them. (As they say at Google, “don’t run from failure — fail often, fail quickly, and learn.”) Cherish your history, both the successes and mistakes. All of these behaviors are the way to get better at programming. If you don’t follow them, you’re cheating your own personal development.” </li></ul><ul><li>Ben Collins-Sussman (Subversion, </li></ul>
  13. 13. Agile Development Processes
  14. 14. Agile Development Processes <ul><li>Influences from XP, Agile, Scrum </li></ul><ul><li>Code reviews </li></ul><ul><li>Test Driven Development: Testing on the Toilets program and blog </li></ul><ul><li>Many internal development tools: Mondrian recently open sourced </li></ul><ul><li>Changed the meaning of beta </li></ul><ul><li>Teams co-located: 3-15 people, 4/cubicle, all close to each other </li></ul><ul><li>International offices: manage whole projects, avoid coordination costs </li></ul>
  15. 15. Open Source Culture
  16. 16. Open Source Culture <ul><li>Open Source Program Office </li></ul><ul><li>Summer of Code </li></ul><ul><li>Open sourcing parts of Google code </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Making the web better: GWT, Gears, OpenSocial, Android </li></ul>
  17. 17. API Culture
  18. 18. API Culture <ul><li>Bill Joy: &quot;Innovation happens elsewhere&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>From 3 to 62 APIs in 3 years </li></ul><ul><li>Maps on websites </li></ul><ul><li>Friend Connect: all sites can become social </li></ul><ul><ul><li> for the list </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Build an ecosystem around the APIs (my job) </li></ul><ul><li>User's choice: get their data out </li></ul>
  19. 19. API Culture (fr-ca)
  20. 20. Googleyness
  21. 21. Googleyness <ul><li>Innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Non conformism </li></ul><ul><li>Risk taking </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Pragmatism: doers, coders, not talkers, architects or “urbanists” </li></ul>
  22. 22. The world is flat
  23. 23. The world is flat <ul><li>Flat management structure but structured processes </li></ul><ul><li>7 levels for 20k employees </li></ul><ul><li>Tolerance for chaos </li></ul><ul><li>Managed bottom up process for innovation: </li></ul><ul><li>20% time </li></ul><ul><li>Committee to decide whether to invest in a project </li></ul><ul><li>70/20/10 rule </li></ul><ul><li>Culture of consensus </li></ul>
  24. 24. Do No Evil
  25. 25. Do No Evil <ul><li>Not an absolute </li></ul><ul><li>More like a moral compass for the company </li></ul><ul><li>Frequently used in meetings: wildcard that can change decisions </li></ul>
  26. 26. Getting the right people
  27. 27. Getting the right people <ul><li>Layered recruitment process: phone screens, interviews, committees, Larry & Serguey's final word </li></ul><ul><li>50% engineers, 50% sales </li></ul><ul><li>High bar for engineers </li></ul><ul><li>Free food, best perks in the industry </li></ul><ul><li>Google transportation: shuttle, bikes, experiments </li></ul><ul><li>Acquisitions: small teams, early stage, for people and technology </li></ul>
  28. 28. Strategic patience
  29. 29. Strategic patience <ul><li>AdWords provides a regular and solid revenue stream </li></ul><ul><li>Allows Google to be patient when investing other areas </li></ul><ul><li>70/20/10 Rule </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: Gmail, Google Apps, Checkout </li></ul><ul><li>Acquisitions: teams lost for a year to migrate to Google infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>... but it pays off! </li></ul>
  30. 30. Harvard Business Review article <ul><li>“Reverse Engineering Google’s Innovation Machine”, HBR april 2008, Bala Iyer and Thomas Davenport </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>They got it right </li></ul><ul><li>Indentified many aspects of what makes Google culture work well for innovation </li></ul><ul><li>And provide a process to help you adapt some of its elements to your business </li></ul>
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