Innovation, not instant
Google launches early and often in small
beta tests before
releasing new features widely.
"There are two different types of
programmers. Some like to code for months or even years, and hope
they will have built the perfect product. That's castle building.
Companies work this way, too.
Apple is great at it. If you get it right and you've built just
the perfect thing, you get this worldwide 'Wow!' The problem is, if
you get it wrong, you get a thud, a thud in which you've spent,
like, five years and 100 people on something the market doesn't
want. Others prefer to have something working at the end of the day,
something to refine and
the next day. That's what we do: our
early and often'
The hardest part about indoctrinating people into our
culture is when engineers show me a
prototype and I'm like, 'Great, let's go!' They'll say, 'Oh, no,
it's not ready. It's not up to Google standards. This doesn't look
like a Google product yet.' They want to castle-build and do all
these other features and make it all perfect. I tell them, 'The
Googly thing is to launch it early on Google Labs and then iterate,
learning what the market wants – and making it great.' The beauty of
experimenting in this way is that you never get too far from what
the market wants. The market pulls you back."
Focus on data,
Don't use "I
like" in meetings, push staffers to use metrics.
"When I meet people who run
design at other organizations, they're always like, 'Design is
one of the most political areas of the company. This designer likes
green and that one likes purple, and whose design gets picked? The
one who buddies up to the boss.'
think of design as an
art. We think of design as a science. It doesn't matter who is the
favorite or how much you like this aesthetic versus that aesthetic.
It all comes down to data. Run a 1% test [on 1% of the audience] and
whichever design does best against the
user-happiness metrics over a two-week period is the one we
launch. We have a very academic environment where we're looking at
data all the time.
We probably have somewhere between 50
and 100 experiments
running on live traffic, everything from the default number of
results to underlined links to how big an arrow should be. We're
trying all those different things."
Worry about usage and users, not money.
simple to use and easy to love.
The money will follow.
"I used to call this 'Users, Not
Money.' We believe that if we focus on the users, the
come. In a truly virtual business, if you're successful, you'll be
working at something that's so necessary people will pay for it in
subscription form. Or you'll have so many users that advertisers
will pay to sponsor the site."
Don't kill projects. Morph them.
There's always a kernel of something good that can be salvaged.
"Eric Schmidt made this
observation to me once, which I think is accurate: Any
that is good enough to make it to Labs probably has a kernel of
something interesting in there somewhere, even if the market doesn't
respond to it. It's our job to take the product and morph it into
the market needs."