Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The Google Story - David Vise
It thrills as you continue to read not so much because of the way it is told but because you know it is reality. Not any reality; but every computer user’s reality. Your reality and my reality.
This is not so much a book review because I don’t have much to say about the author’s work. The turn of events itself has been so interesting, so spectacular for the Google guys Larry and Sergey, right since their student days in Stanford university to their latest innovation “Google your genes”, that anyone doing a cover on their story would not need to make too much effort. Simply narrating facts in chronological order would be enough to get the reader interested.
I would however give the author credit for the efforts made to gather all the facts (there are so many of them) and assemble them to create a single thread.
There is much to be said however about the young founders, their courage, their brilliance and the unshakable faith they had in their own ability.
“Winners don’t do different things. They do things differently”. There could be no better example of this than the Google guys. The way they handled their initial public offering (IPO) giving a damn to Wall street, their “Don’t Be Evil” motto, the university like culture they created in workplace, their perpetual disdain for using ads to generate revenue, their laser like focus on end user…...
I loved this book for two things. One, it endorses my belief in “You don’t have to be shrewd to be a businessman”. Two, it reiterates the importance of “control” which the Google guys firmly held(I love control).
I enjoyed the constant comparisons with Microsoft (showing Microsoft and its custodian Bill Gates in poor light) and vivid illustrations of how the Google guys made Bill Gates bite the dust. Again, I have a strong resentment towards those who are shrewd; people in general and businessmen in particular.
If one begins to consider all those things that empower today’s individual Google looms large before you. It empowers you regardless of your sex, religion, age, geographical location in a way that is indescribable.
But given the fact that Google is eventually going to be the singular source of information and knowledge for future generations, and that libraries are soon going to become a thing of the past, there are serious concerns one cannot overlook.
Google will define the idea that future generations will have of the world. Therefore the questions
“How truthful and unbiased is Google?” and
“Will the United States as a nation and as a political entity try to control this information dissemination? “ are a billion dollars each.
This concern is very well expressed by the head of Bibliotheque Nationale of France who said “I don’t want the French revolution to be retold by books chosen by the United States”.
The book gives a general understanding of how IT business works. Of legal issues arising in the internet world, of how websites that provide free services make money, of their revenue models, of their social impact, of privacy issues…..of how they have changed the world.
Bottomline. This book is a must read for every computer user.