Tidbits from Google’s prospectus

Interesting tidbits taken from Google’s Letter from the Founders posted in a Searchblog analysis (thanks Michael). Some positives and negatives:

We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google. This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner. For example, AdSense for content and Google News were both prototyped in “20% time.” Most risky projects fizzle, often teaching us something. Others succeed and become attractive businesses.

Nice to see some innovation time being part of regular work hours.

We run Google as a triumvirate. Sergey and I have worked closely together for the last eight years, five at Google. Eric, our CEO, joined Google three years ago. The three of us run the company collaboratively with Sergey and me as Presidents. The structure is unconventional, but we have worked successfully in this way.

Unusual structure. Wonder what stockholders would do if the company was sucking wind. Who do you fire?

We hired Eric as a more experienced complement to Sergey and me to help us run the business. Eric was CTO of Sun Microsystems. He was also CEO of Novell and has a Ph.D. in computer science, a very unusual and important combination for Google given our scientific and technical culture.

This is the one thing I think could be Google’s achilles heal – – an all engineer management team. From the rumor mill, the place pretty much only hires computer science folks (even for product managers). Diverse work places are the key to innovation IMO. If you hire only one type of perspective, you’ll tend to get one type of product from it – – diminishing long term shareholder value.

As an investor, you are placing a potentially risky long term bet on the team, especially Sergey and me.

What about the employees?

We have transferred significant ownership of Google to employees in return for their efforts in building the business.

I heard Google job offers included tiny amounts of stock in comparison to other pre IPO companies.

We provide many unusual benefits for our employees, including meals free of charge, doctors and washing machines. We are careful to consider the long term advantages to the company of these benefits. Expect us to add benefits rather than pare them down over time. We believe it is easy to be penny wise and pound foolish with respect to benefits that can save employees considerable time and improve their health and productivity.

Good, another plug for employees.

We aspire to make Google an institution that makes the world a better place. With our products, Google connects people and information all around the world for free.