The Internet is about speed and innovation and it feeds a culture of impatience. We don’t like to wait. Not for a page to load or even for another page of search results. What makes Google unique then, is their insistence on looking long term in such an uncertain and dynamic online world.
First start with the founders – who’ve each pledged to be at Google at least 20 years. Then consider that their goal is ambitious – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” That could take a while – according to Eric Schmidt, maybe 300 years.
How often do you hear a CEO talk about working on a project that is projected to last hundreds of years? Long after Schmidt is gone. I suspect that this long-range thinking enables Google to take on issues like global warming and other long-term initiatives of their nonprofit Google.org.
In a ComputerWorld article Bala Iyer (goes to his blog), an associate professor of technology operations and information management at Babson College, says Google is the company to watch and learn from. He attributes Google’s mission statement and actions as showing “strategic patience.”
Rather than live by quarterly results and shareholder demands, they seem to be willing to disappoint in the short term to reach what they want long term. Google’s approach is even found in their IT infrastructure – which costs billions of dollars, but can be expanded quickly and supports hundreds of millions of users a day.
Google uses that IT backbone to “customize the Internet to its advantage.” Along with Google’s culture, their investments fuels their innovation. It’s what has helped turn Google into an extraordinary company – a company to watch – in just ten years.