Planet Google

Posted October 1, 2011 in Career Management, Decision Making, What We're Reading

Front CoverBy: Randall Stross

Reviewed by Chris Taylor, Actionable Books

The Premise: In 1998, two Ph.D. students set out to change the world with a small start-up company; a company we now know as Google. Planet Google is a history and insight into the rapid rise of the global juggernaut, and the various challenges founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have faced along the way.“Mastering the entire Web interested them not because it offered the greatest likelihood of future profits, which did not seem to be the case at all in 1998, but because it was an absorbing technical challenge.” In his landmark text, Built to Last, Jim Collin’s coined the phrase “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals” (or BHAGs, for short), suggesting that no company achieved greatness without first striving for greatness; pursuing that which was laughable to the outside world. Google’s goal of “organizing all the world’s information” is possibly the most audacious corporate objective to date. To most the mission was laughable, especially in 1998 at the company’s creation. And yet, it is this single purpose, this passion-driven objective, that has spawned the growth of every new asset of the Google empire.

The Bottom Line: You’ve got to admire the audacity of Google’s goals. Imagine Brin and Page pitching venture capitalists for funding with the mission statement “to organize the world’s information”. It sounds ludicrous. And perhaps, in 1998, it was. But it had passion behind it, and two brilliant men who believed in their goal above all else. As it turns out, passion goes a long way.

It’s easy to get distracted by “reasonable”, “realistic” and the host of other limiting ideals that those outside your business can place on you and your aspirations. Big or small, it’s important to stay connected to goals that are important to you. Goals that make you want to get out of bed in the morning, and keep you motivated through the hurdles that are bound to come up.

By all means, be reasonable. Just make sure that that “reasonable” is still exciting for you, and that you haven’t sacrificed passion in the pursuit of acceptable.

Check out the full book summary here.

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