Things Google Knows To Be True #4,5 & 6

Today’s post is a continuation of my previous series on Google’s “Ten Things We Know to Be True”. If you missed the first 3, here are the links:

1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.

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

3. Fast is better than slow.

Now, for the next installment. I’ve grouped the next 3 together because, frankly, 4 and 5 are kind of dry and I couldn’t come up with anything particularly great to write about them. 6 is a beauty though, so read on!

#4 Democracy on the web works.

#5 You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.

Items 4 and 5 are fairly wordy and more “nuts and bolts” descriptions about how the Google search function works and how they are making it better.  Suffice it to say, that both “things they know to be true” are based on the importance of open-source programming and how it is creating opportunities for Google and it’s carriers, manufacturers and developers.

And now, for my favourite…

“#6 You can make money without doing evil.

Google is a business. The revenue we generate is derived from offering search technology to companies and from the sale of advertising displayed on our site and on other sites across the web. Hundreds of thousands of advertisers worldwide use AdWords to promote their products; hundreds of thousands of publishers take advantage of our AdSense program to deliver ads relevant to their site content. To ensure that we’re ultimately serving all our users (whether they are advertisers or not), we have a set of guiding principles for our advertising programs and practices:

  • We don’t allow ads to be displayed on our results pages unless they are relevant where they are shown. And we firmly believe that ads can provide useful information if, and only if, they are relevant to what you wish to find–so it’s possible that certain searches won’t lead to any ads at all.
  • We believe that advertising can be effective without being flashy. We don’t accept pop–up advertising, which interferes with your ability to see the content you’ve requested. We’ve found that text ads that are relevant to the person reading them draw much higher clickthrough rates than ads appearing randomly. Any advertiser, whether small or large, can take advantage of this highly targeted medium.
  • Advertising on Google is always clearly identified as a “Sponsored Link,” so it does not compromise the integrity of our search results. We never manipulate rankings to put our partners higher in our search results and no one can buy better PageRank. Our users trust our objectivity and no short-term gain could ever justify breaching that trust.”

To paraphrase, -we make money (and lots of it), because we provide a valuable service to our direct customers (advertisers) and the end user (remember them from item #1?).  We believe providing the end user with the best possible experience is what makes our service so valuable, so compromising that experience in the name of short term financial gain does not make sense. Here are some fundamental rules we won’t break in our efforts to improve the customer experience.”  Stuartmilesvalues

This seems so simple, but it is an area in which so many companies struggle.  Without clearly defined values in a business, the definition of “evil” as the good folks at Google describe it, can become somewhat “fuzzy’ and company leaders can rationalize questionable strategies because of potential short term profits. It’s not enough to define the values – goodness knows there are plenty of companies with “Values” hanging on the wall of the board room which nobody knows and they certainly don’t use to make decisions – you need to live them.  Without Google making this statement, employees could easily believe that they are doing the right thing by making decisions that increase profits of the company.  By providing values so clearly stated, Google has given its employees the ability to make more decisions without having to ask first.  This is quite possibly the greatest gift an employer can give to its employees.  (Before you make a joke about a big fat bonus being better, you should read Dan Pink’s “Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”.  It turns out Autonomy is a better motivator than cash.)

Think about how your company makes its decisions. What are the “No Compromise” areas and where is there room for creativity.  The latter is critical for innovation and the former is just as critical for decision making and operational excellence.  The two, combined with a good strategy and execution, lead to long term success for the business.

Image courtesy Stuart Miles /

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 how I can help you, give me a call at 613.743.5642 or send me an email

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