James Governor's Monkchips

You Know You’re Just Another Media Company When…

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EMI is poaching your people.

You purchase another media company and immediately lay off 25% of the workforce.

When rumors fly around you’re buying other major firms such as Skype and Expedia.

When you miss your numbers and the share price feels the pain.

When you buy cool startups that suddenly disappear.

This post was originally supposed to be ironic. Of course Google has some characteristics and IP that set it apart from the pack. But the myth of exceptionalism is slowly being debunked (shining company on the hill…) Google is frankly awesome, and is only just getting started in many respects. But it is just another company – it has to manage growth, ship product, keep its people happy and so on. New growth areas will be enterprise apps, cloud computing. There is still plenty of upside in search. And special props to the Google team behind the contact management API – you people are fantastic.

I think the industry will be better off as Google matures. I meant to be ironic in the title and intro but then point out all the goodness at Google. But in writing the blog I can’t help thinking jaiku’s placeholder homepage is really pretty embarrassing.


bous update link: it seems BusinessWeek is thinking similarly, with a story entitled What Goes Up.

disclosure: RedMonk runs Google Docs.


  1. I would have called the post as

    “You are just another enterprise working within the constraints of a Capital Market based economy”.

    Google is after all NOT a private company and lives in this world.

    It is also no longer a small startup where decisions like monetization and ROI can be postponed.

    A contrast to google would be a company like BOSE – which choose to stay private and more importantly small , so that they could focus on products and technology and so much on the economics.

    Once you get into the IPO world you are ultimately a function of what the markets wants from you. In good times you stock price could be $750 and in bad times could be $75.

  2. I think the way Google deals with the start ups it acquires could certainly be improved, sometimes it seems like they are just acquiring people and skills rather than any product per se.

    But it must also be pretty tough to pull in technology that is never likely to look like your own. Thus a complete strip down and re-build is inevitable, along with integration and perhaps watering down of the initial genius, Jotspot is another good example.

    A cloud move could help alleviate some of this as I have already discussed, but also the world outside needs to grow up to the new emerging shapes caused by the fusion of media and technology, this genie is not going back in the bottle.

    I think you are spot on though in your diagnosis, snow balls get harder and harder to push up hills as they grow and unless the new ‘big’ is ‘small’ that will be the perennial problem


  3. Niraj J – absolutely right on, brother. private companies do of course have a lot more freedom of movement, having not yet been shackled by success. not sure your title is quite as catchy though. 😉

    Al – I am more skeptical about Google success in acquiring startups. It has done well on the business apps side, but not so much on in the social arena. I need to check out the new Picasa Gears though- interesting.

  4. hey Sam how you doin? nice to see ya. glad to make you smile of a Friday morning

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