Tuesday, 14 April, 2015

Book Review: How Google Works

Written by Eric Schimidt (former CEO and current executive chairperson) and Jonathan Rosenberg (former SVP for Products and current advisor to CEO), this book provides insights into functioning of Google. But more than describing how things work at Google, the authors have attempted to provide guidance on how to manage new-age companies that would employ "smart creatives". The advice is given for almost all aspects of business, starting from culture to strategy to decisions to innovation. As Product Head for Educational ERP SaaS, I found the guidance given in this book quite relevant and useful. A must read for every practicing and aspiring manager!

Let me note down my key takeaways from this book:
  • product excellence is now paramount to business success.
  • rule of seven - managers should have minimum of seven direct reports.
  • exile knaves but fight for divas (great example of diva is Steve Jobs!)
  • bet on technical insights, not market research
  • hiring is the most important thing you do
  • hire learning animals
  • schedule interviews for 30 minutes
  • decide with data
  • every meeting needs an owner
  • spend 80% of your time on 80% of your revenue
  • the world's best athletes need coaches, and you don't?
  • guidelines for over-communication - reinforce core themes; make it effective; make it interesting, fun or inspirational; let it be authentic; ensure right audience; use right media;tell the truth, be humble and bank goodwill for a rainy day.
  • guidelines for email communication - respond quickly; be crisp; clean your inbox constantly; handle email in LIFO order; remember you are a router; use bcc feature judiciously; don't yell online; copy yourself on email for which follow-up is needed and then flag it accordingly; forward useful emails to yourself with search-friendly keywords.

There is also 8-page career advice, which I liked the most. Let me quickly note down the key points here:
  • when out of college, look for right industry over company
  • plan your career - think about your ideal job after five years and then assess your strengths and weaknesses
  • learn how the right data, crunched the right way, will help make better decisions.
  • read.
  • know your elevator pitch - your current work, the driving technical insight, measurement of success and how it fits into the big picture
  • travel across the globe
  • combine passion with contribution