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John Battelle’s “The Search” was a very informative and eye-opening read regarding the power of search engines and Google in particular. I appreciated the history and background of the internet and search that Battelle included in the first half of the book. It is amazing to think about how rapidly things have changed and will continue to change because of the power of the internet.

Something that was glaring to me was the need for the combination of individuals with sound business skills and others with unparalleled innovative technological talents and curiosities. An important component of this is for both sets of people to have an appreciation for the other. This is not to say that the two areas are mutually exclusive but history does not seem to indicate that they are a likely combination in one person.

A common thread among many of the search companies that emerged in the 90’s is the Stanford PhD program. Clearly the program attracts very entrepreneurial and technologically inclined individuals and fosters an atmosphere of invention and commercialization. By the way, this is wise on Stanford’s part for a number of reasons not the least of which is alumni giving!

However, it seems as though these young entrepreneurs could stand to have additional strategic guidance, coaching, and experience. At the very least, it seems as though many of these students would benefit from being taught the values of successful management, teamwork, business strategy, and marketing. This would also leave them less vulnerable to the Compaq’s of the world as they would have a base to work from in evaluating the appropriate course for their companies in the future.

On a different note, the story of Moncrief was also disturbing to me. The part about how his business went away overnight was upsetting. However, Google’s blatant disregard for their customers is inexcusable. I guess they figure that they don’t have to care because they are so powerful, but one must think that an attitude or philosophy would definitely come back to haunt you. Perhaps the need to be reminded of their mantra…”Don’t be evil.”

The triumvirate’s handling of their IPO left me with a similar taste in my mouth. Schmidt had blatantly lied about Google going public. The “geeks are in control” and “we’re different and better than others” attitude may be justified but I believe that it reeks of immaturity and inexperience. It seems as though Forbes agreed at the time in their article “Google’s Flub, Flop And Bomb.” (

While clearly the outcomes that Google has reaped have been unprecedented, one has to wonder if they couldn’t have experienced even better results if they were more strategic and professional in their dealings. It really wouldn’t kill them to take advice from others every once in a while. For example, any PR or communications professional could have advised them about their interview with Playboy. You would think that they would be more open to it since they received some solid advice and coaching in their early stages (while still at Stanford).

Overall, Battelle really opened by eyes about the “search economy.” I found the possibilities that are on the horizon to be tremendously exciting. The ways in which we live, work, and access information generally are changing before our eyes. “The Search” has definitely inspired me to pay attention to this sector because it is and will affect all aspects of communication.


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