Google #2 Do 1 Thing Well

Blog # 2 in my series on Google’s Operating Philosophy – 10 Things We Know to Be True


“It’s best to do one thing really, really well.”

“We do search. With one of the world’s largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well, and how we could do it better. Through continued iteration on difficult problems, we’ve been able to solve complex issues and provide continuous improvements to a service that already makes finding information a fast and seamless experience for millions of people. Our dedication to improving search helps us apply what we’ve learned to new products, like Gmail and Google Maps. Our hope is to bring the power of search to previously unexplored areas, and to help people access and use even more of the ever-expanding information in their lives.” Number1_Chaiwat

This is interesting because you might think that Google does more than just one thing. They do Google Earth, they have Android, Glass, Gmail and may other offerings.  However, they boil it down to finding new and better ways to do search. They believe that by continuing to solve search problems and doing it better, they can apply what they learn to other products to do them better too.  Google users trust that since Google search is so simple and effective that their other products will be too.

Image Courtesy of  Chaiwat

Consider other very successful companies that seem to do more than one thing.  Apple, for example, makes computers, phones, music players, and sells music online.  Do they agree that it’s best to do one thing?  I think Apple would probably say yes.  Apple challenges the status quo in everything they do.  They look for the simplest solution to every problem, which they will tell you, is usually the hardest one to find.  By doing this, they make digital technology accessible for the end user (remember her from Item 1 of Google’s philosophy).  Whether they buy phones, computers, mp3 players or online music, Apple customers trust that their products will be simple to use and elegant.

Another example I can think of is Honda.  Again, they seem to do many different things.  They make cars, motorcycles, generators, outboard motors and have even built a humanoid robot called Asimo. So what is Honda’s one thing.  A quick look at Honda’s website will tell you that Honda is built on Dreams. Well that is nice, but what does it mean?  Why are their customers so loyal to their products?  Further reading explains that Honda dreams about better ways to improve human mobility.  Asimo was a direct result of Honda research directed at learning how to help people with limited mobility.  In my opinion, this desire to improve human mobility has led Honda to design their products in a way that allows for a robust and repeatable manufacturing process better than anyone. As a result, their products perform better and longer than those of their competition.  Their customers are so loyal because they trust that their Honda product will, quite simply, work properly every time they go to use it.

What is the one thing you are really good at, and are you focused on improving it?

About Mike Bonn: I offer Business Coaching Services and facilitate the unique LMI process to help individuals and organizations improve performance.  If you would like to contact me to discuss any of my blogs, or to learn more about my excellent services, give me a call at 613.743.5642 or send me an email

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