Here is a collection of things that Google does in the office. Well, i need not tell you that Google is one of the most successful companies in the last decade. But how do they do it? From time to time i like to take a peak at the Google-culture and try to understand what makes them tick…
PLAYBOY: Do you subscribe to any particular management theories, or do you make them up as you go?
PAGE: We try to use elements from different companies, but a lot is seat-of-your-pants stuff.
PLAYBOY: How will you avoid the mistakes of many other dot-coms? After their IPOs, employees became more focused on the stock price than on their jobs. Many of those companies are gone.
PAGE: Those companies are not good analogues for Google.
PLAYBOY: But like you, they were Internet-focused technology companies. What’s the difference?
PAGE: A lot of those companies were around for less than a year or two before they went public. We’ve been around for five. We’re at a pretty significant scale, too. We have more than 150,000 advertisers and a lot of salespeople. Millions of people use Google. It’s a completely different thing.
PLAYBOY: And you’re profitable.
PAGE: That’s a difference, yes. The dot-com period was difficult for us. We were dismayed in that climate.
PLAYBOY: What dismayed you?
PAGE: We knew a lot of things people were doing weren’t sustainable, and that made it hard for us to operate. We couldn’t get good people for reasonable prices. We couldn’t get office space. It was a hypercompetitive time. We had the opportunity to invest in 100 or more companies and didn’t invest in any of them. I guess we lost a lot of money in the short term—but not in the long term.
PLAYBOY: Companies tried to buy you, too. Did you ever consider selling Google?
PAGE: No. We think we’re an important company, and we’re dedicated to doing this over the long term. We like being independent.
PLAYBOY: Is your company motto really “Don’t be evil”?
BRIN: Yes, it’s real.
PLAYBOY: Is it a written code?
BRIN: Yes. We have other rules, too.
PAGE: We allow dogs, for example.
BRIN: As for “Don’t be evil,” we have tried to define precisely what it means to be a force for good—always do the right, ethical thing. Ultimately, “Don’t be evil” seems the easiest way to summarize it.
PAGE: Apparently people like it better than “Be good.”
BRIN: It’s not enough not to be evil. We also actively try to be good.
PLAYBOY: Who ultimately decides what is evil? Eric Schmidt, your CEO, once said, “Evil is whatever Sergey decides is evil.”
PAGE: That was not one of his best quotes, though it’s memorable.
PLAYBOY: How does it work?
BRIN: We deal with all varieties of information. Somebody’s always upset no matter what we do. We have to make a decision; otherwise there’s a never-ending debate. Some issues are crystal clear. When they’re less