Principles of Innovation from Google

Just came across a really interesting presentation from Google’s SVP of Product Management & Marketing, Jonathan Rosenberg. On Brain Sells, you can watch a video of his speech with highlights. What I love is that the presentation doesnt focus on just marketing but instead on creating a great organziational foundation. Here are what caught my eye as my favorite takeaways:

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.

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.

Avoid Hippos: 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…”

Rewarding Innovation: 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.


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