Currently Reading

David and Goliath
Wooden: A Coach's Life

Recently Read

Will's books

Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town
3 of 5 stars
The story of Bassett furniture and John Bassett III in particular is a great one that should be told. Beth Macy does a reasonable job telling it, but spends much too much time discussing her challenges and experiences writing the book as...
The Silent Man
5 of 5 stars
Another great John Wells book. I previously compared Alex Berenson and his hero, John Wells, with Vince Flynn and his troubled CIA agent/assassin, Mitch Rapp. Towards the end of Flynn's short life and in his final Rapp books, Flynn got a...
Getting Started with Hobby Quadcopters and Drones
2 of 5 stars
When I was looking up reviews of drones on the web, I found several mentions of this "book" (a pamphlet,really). It's OK,but all the information can be easily found elsewhere online. The repeated warning about crashing your drone and sta...
The Martian
5 of 5 stars
Wow. Just . . . wow. This was one of the most entertaining books I have read in a long time. The story is fabulous and the execution wonderful. Basically a diary of an astronaut left behind in an escape from a failed Mars mission (though...
The Ghost War
5 of 5 stars
I've read a few other of Berenson's John Wells books before and found them entertaining,although not up to the standard set by Vince Flynn and his hero, Mitch Rapp. Sadly, Flynn passed away and having finished all the Mitch Rapp books, I...

Andy Grove Describes Google’s Organizational Structure as Brownian Motion

iinovate has a great podcast with accompanying YouTube videos of an interview with Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google.  They have broken out one segment where a luminary, in this case Andy Grove of Intel fame, asks a question.  Grove queries: 

“From the outside it looks like Google’s organizational structure is best described by . . . Brownian motion . . in an expanding bottle.  Does [Eric Schmidt] think it will work forever.”

I find Schmidt’s answer to be revealing.  It’s so convenient to think of Google, its inner workings in particular, in some uniform, consistent way.  I know that I’m certainly guilty of this.  The stories of days off to innovate, corporate massage therapists at everyone’s disposal, cappuccino machines in every closet and Guitar Hero duels whenever employees feel the urge are captivating.  It’s also easy to let visions of this environment overtake the realization that real work gets done in spades within the company’s walls.  Schmidt states that legal, finance, M&A, investment and even sales are all run in “a very traditional way.”  Further, he says that it’s only the “creative side” that gets all the attention and can be described as Brownian motion which, he thinks, is a reasonable description. 

Doh!  Of course.  That makes complete sense.  There goes my fantasy about the insides of the company being in some kind of total, but managed chaos.  I guess there is no tooth fairy after all.  Next, someone’s gonna tell me there’s no Santa Claus.

Check out the iinovate post for the other, longer part of the interview.

Thanks to Guy Kawasaki for pointing it out.

  • Bill Tilley

    makes sense, at the end of the day a business needs to be run like a business with an awareness of the bottom line. One needs to make sure as processes are refined and improved that the business yield productivity gains from them. A business can run with the perks but productivity and profitability needs to be tracked a improved upon steadily.