Google's SVP of Product Management & Marketing Jonathan Rosenberg speaks practically about the things he learned at Google about being innovative. A lot of it can be applied to advertising agencies and our clients. Here's a summary of his principles...
The more you do something, the greater the value.
Colleges are great because they have great professors...great students come because they have great professors...great professors come because they want to be around great students...great alumni network form out of great students and so more students come.
Google users go where the information is, advertisers go where people are, we get more users beecause we have more advetisers because we can buy distribution because sites know we can monetize their content better and get more users.
Hiring Brilliant People
A's hire B's...B's hire C's and so on. You can train A's to hire A's, but you can't train B's to hire anything but second rate B's or Cs, because they are threatened by A's and can't understand them anyway. Maintain a high bar. Three person teams work better, small workspaces, don't hire specialists.
Ideas Come from Anywhere
Most companies say this but don't do it. They don't reward it. Have to be accepting and then implement a system to deliver against it. Trust people with everything. At Google everything we do is on our intranet. Product developent cycle is based on that openness.
Morph Ideas, Don't Kill Them
The underlying technologies are changing fast. We have to constantly be revisiting ideas that did not work and reapplying.
Blogs were originally about sharing information to reach niche communities, but now blog systems are the engine to publish information in Google Docs and Apps.
Convergence used to be about one device magical device that does everything...that didn't happen. Convergence us really in the cloud not the device...all of your data needs to converge, devices will diverge. Different things happened from the expectations, but its the same idea.
Users Come First, Not Money
Disinformation gets spread fast, but Truth travels faster.
People ruthlessly punish companies that do the wrong thing, and richly reward companies that do the right thing. (Steve Jobs is about the user. iPod based on one button, instead of Sony with a hundred confusing buttons.)
Don't say to us "I Think"...Show Us
Bring data we know to be true, not spun up. Two projectors in every meeting room. One for your idea or presentation, and one that shows actual source data. Argue everything based on data that everyone else in the room can argue against. Tell us with data what worked, not what you think will work.
Sardine fishermen go out to sea, get fish, then sell them in the market. The first one back gets a good price at the market, the last fisherman has a catch that spoils and races back out to sea to the next town that he thinks might have enough demand to sell his fish there. Someone gave them cell phones to call ahead and find out which town needs nore fish. The fisherman does not want ot think, he wants to know.
Most talk about experimenting & iterating, few do it. Larry Page said to me: "When did the engineers do a better job of adding new features or doing it faster than what you put in your product plan brief and schedule?" Well never. Just get people working on a demo, see what users do and then iterate it form there.
Having Clear Vision
How many people worked for a company that had a missions statement? Everyone.
How many people remember their mission statement? No one.
Antibodies in Companies Try to Kill Big Ideas.
Most people in a company under promise, and over deliver. That's wrong. Creates fear, complacency and rewards mediocre work. Google looks at it differently. You are only expected to achieve a mark of 60% on your Objectives, but your Objectives must be big. People may not achieve the big goal, but reward people who do reasonably well, instead of them under-performing in hopes of maybe over-delivering and ending up just being mediocre.
Accept a Smaller Piece of a Bigger Pie
Writers Strike was basically about an increase in profits from 4 cents to 8 cents on DVD sales...they basically held up the world on the future of DVD royalties. But who even uses DVDs? Most people in this room are watching movies on their computer or on-demand. The writers were arguing a larger piece of a smaller pie that is turning into a crumb!
Feed the Winners, Starve the Losers
Most companies have General Managers that worry about their own area not the greater good. Take a portal like Yahoo. Distribution is on the homepage for every group...Weather, Fiance site, Sports, Career, etc. A group doing poorly and failing to get users will want to push more to get more exposure on the homepage so they can get more traffic. This is the opposite of what you should do. If the Career site sucks, no one is visiting it, but the Finance site is doing great booming, steer people there. Feed the winners, starve the losers. Its the difference between a general manager oriented company and a functionally oriented one.
A hippo kills more people than any other animal. In business, hippos kill more products & ideas than anyone, A hippo is the highest paid person's opinion. Hippos say "I think..."
Eric Schmidt when at SUN needed a Workstation PC to complete an idea he had...he took one off the dock and unpacked it...it had 8 "Read Me First" documents! He put it on the wall and it was the company's org chart. 8 hippos insisted they have their own document in it.
If you can see a companies org chart in the box, don't buy it. Apple is an example of doing it right. Maniacal focus on the user.
Most companies have profit sharing...HP gives 6.5% to 8.5%...everyone gets about the same. Instead, pay the people that deliver more. The best guys in an investment bank make more, shortstops on a baseball team gets more, etc. At Google the guy who made Google News has made us lots of money, millions of dollars, so we pay him millions of dollars. Life is not fair...I'm not as pretty so I got less dates...I can't shoot slam dunks so I don't get to play in the NBA. Reward innovation.
Lawyers and Bureaucrats
A good one thinks through the implications of a problem in relationship to the business objectives. The bad ones are not flexible to what reality is.
At toll roads like the Golden Gate Bridge...you queue, you burn gas, you thrown money in a bin...you used to have to do the same thing when you drive back. But a toll one direction is better and they changed it. Who is gonna drive around the bay the other way just to avoid a toll!?
Software and downloads have an "I AGREE" form, filled with legal. Same with those long copyright & legal footers appended to the end of emails yous end from your company, it wastes bits. Lawyers insist on these things but they don't understand the online medium.
At Starbucks you don't have to wait for the transaction to complete if you pay with a credit card...they process it as if it is going to go through. This way the line moves faster, and the transaction is processed in the background, and there's an alert a few minutes later if there is a problem with the card. I mean what is someone gonna do!? Is someone gonna get their Tall Mocha Frappuccino and run out of the store with a visa card that does not work? Ridiculous!
Bad lawyers and manager create a constraint set that becomes the null set, and then they optimize around that...wrong rules, not applicable anymore.
Learning to Learn
I can't articulate theories about economics from my college...but I did learn how to learn.