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This follows the author from his hire when Google was a startup until the IPO. It's a parallel story of Google the company and his personal odyssey from being a key player at the beginning to slowly becoming marginalized, and finally shown the door.
Recounting successes and failures, it's fascinating to hear the accounts of when AOL and Yahoo! were the big fish, and Google had to swim carefully to keep from upsetting them.
It's also a fascinating account of being in a company when it's an infant and there are no walls, and watching the company become a corporation. Anyone who's been in an organization during a growth phase has been in the situation where it goes from being this wide open playing field and you can talk to the "big boys and girls" anytime you wish, to watching walls spring up, things start to divide, and finding yourself boxed on the wrong side of the wall. The previously friendly faces are replaced by new people that make power plays to take your authority and slide you into the outer circle until the day you sit across from some person you don't know, being informed you no longer have a place at the company where you were once a key player.
I don't know how much you'll learn about business from this book, except that the founders of Google believed strongly in certain things. They pushed hard for their beliefs, but as much as they tried, Google eventually became another corporate entity. It was still different in a lot of ways, and they challenged a lot of traditional business thinking.
There's more there, I think, than the author intended.
26 of 26 people found this review helpful
I have to admit that I was somewhat skeptical about this book. A marketing guy's perspective on Google? That's crazy, who cares about that, I thought. But I had just finished a couple other popular books on Google and thought that this might round out my perspective one of the most influential and successful companies of all time.
What I didn't realize was that I would be taken on a tour of Google, from it's childhood through adolescence, as though I were riding on the shoulders of the author. I would listen, mouth agape at the stupidity of running servers without cases on metal racks then marvel at the subtle and not-so-subtle genius exhibited by Googlers. I would learn how a quick hack could lead to billions of dollars of profits but I would also discover that my suspicions about chaotic product management were in fact correct.
"I'm Feeling Lucky" goes where no other Google book dares - it explores the intimately human aspect of a company often characterized as "The Borg." It reveals that Google engineers are not just single-dimensional geeks, but are creative people who share a passion for excellence and doing the "right" thing. But more importantly, it shows us a prime example of how a group of supremely confident and intelligent people can eschew tradition and change the world.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
For anyone interested in Google or working at an internet based business this book is a must read/listen. Douglas gives a detailed account of his 6 or so years at Google as the business went from a small start up to the massive internet giant it is today. Douglas also reads it excellently and as it is his story you get a better feeling of his feelings about the different things that happened during his time there. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By the end of the book I felt I had been there, and gone through this torturous yet adventurous journey with Douglas. Amazing narration with a surprisingly honesty and personal side to it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful