Larry Page's first blunder
The Google founder is now CEO, and already he's taken a wrong turn on social networking
Computerworld - Eric Schmidt is out at Google. Larry Page is in. I miss Eric already.
Page, who started as CEO on Monday, wasted no time changing the company's focus and direction. He implemented a major reorganization in his first week, installing smart loyalists to head various product groups. They'll have more autonomy and report directly to Page. Great idea, Larry!
Google's new king screwed up royally, however, when he sent a companywide memo tying 25% of every employee's bonus to Google's success in social. As one commenter put it, Page tied all Google bonuses to "Facebook envy."
Why the social incentive was a mistake
Only a small fraction of Google's employees are involved in social services. So why is Page incentivizing everybody?
Page wants employees to advocate Google's social networking features to family and friends. "When we release products, try them and encourage your family and friends to do the same," he wrote in the memo. Allegedly.
Call it the "Spam Grandma for Cash" program.
Page also wants, no doubt, to apply internal peer pressure to employees directly involved in social features to get off their butts and beat Facebook. Imagine the Google social teams huddled together in the cafeteria trying to ignore icy stares from all directions -- including the kitchen staff.
I appreciate the new chief's aggressiveness, but Page's bonus incentive on social success is a lousy idea. Here's why:
It doesn't get at the root of the problem. The reason Google fails in social networking is not because Ed from the mailroom isn't pushing Google Profiles on his uncle. It's because Google has a blind spot about the "human element" in usability.
Google doesn't seem to understand that Facebook is a party.
Imagine Larry Page sitting alone in his apartment while Mark Zuckerberg is having the time of his life next door. The music is loud. There's food and cocktails. Fashionably dressed hipsters are laughing on the balcony.
So Larry gets jealous and decides he's going to invent something even better than a party. He uses his massive brain to deconstruct all the elements of a party and bring those elements to other aspects of people's lives.
He invents a way to serve nachos to people while they're in bed at night. Cocktails for breakfast. Booming house music in the bathroom. Drunken small-talk during religious services. Party stuff everywhere.
The problem is that you can't improve upon a party. And you can't improve everyday life by making everything more like a party. People want to isolate social from nonsocial aspects of their lives. It's human nature.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Face Time Anytime Real-time communications facilitates team collaboration from nearly anywhere in the world. With facts and figures you can use to justify an investment
- Riverbed Stingray Application Firewall: Securing Cloud Applications with a Distributed Web Application Firewall Responsibility over IT security is moving away from the network and IT infrastructure and to the application and software architecture itself. IT organizations...
- Now is the time to implement a video conference solution Video conferencing is getting a lot of buzz lately due to the recent cost decrease, making it tangible for many law firms. It's...
- Video drives engagement Achieving maximum results means building a solid platform and network infrastructure. As digital age unfolds, it's clear that the ability to communicate effectively...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Web Apps White Papers | Webcasts