Did you ever wonder what it’s like to work at Google? Now you can find out. Well, that’s only part true. Edwards was Google employee number 59 and worked there from 1999 till 2005. We should perhaps instead have asked: Did you ever wonder what it was like to be Douglas Edwards while he worked at Google?
We listened to the Audible unabridged version of this book (at double speed — it’s addictive), and found it to be an appealing account of a work-place totally dominated by engineers — or should we say nerds?
Edwards sets the scene by recounting an episode from 2002 where he basically asks Page for a confirmation that, although Page and Brin had been right most of the time, Edwards’ expertise had also been important to the company. Page answers dryly: “When have we not been right?” And such is Edwards’ depiction of the nerd couple being Larry Page and Sergei Brin. They sincerely believe that they are right, that what they are doing is right and that anyone who believes otherwise is simply misguided.
Edwards ends up being misguided a lot of the time. And he is honest about it in his book. After all, his background in marketing is of the traditional type. He came from an executive position in marketing at the newspaper of the Valley, turned down an offer with Yahoo!, only to end up working with a future CEO of Yahoo!: Marissa Meyers just got hired at Yahoo!, but used to work alongside Edwards as a UI expert and later in the product management group reporting directly to Larry Page. It’s safe to say that Meyers and Edwards didn’t get along so well.
The book is largely anecdotal. Hear about the firing of middle-managers in a public staff meeting; Vice-President Al Gore spending his abundance of spare time wandering the corridors of the Google HQ and Eric Schmidt entering the scene during the long-lasting process of “we should probably get ourselves a CEO”.
Edwards asked Eric Schmidt, after a particularly exhilarating argument with Page and Brin in which Schmidt backed Edwards, if he didn’t think Page and Brin were a handful sometimes. Schmidt supposedly answered:
“I’m well compensated. Now, excuse me while I walk around the building a few times.”
September 11 affected the people at Google in much the same way that it affected anyone else. One early response was “Is Google alive?” meaning, are the people at the Manhattan office OK? Yet, the account of decisions made in the surge for information following the attack is memorable.
Edwards took compromises in a lot of places in order to spend time at Google. We say he was motivated by his eagerness to be a part of something bigger. When that feeling went away, he left Google in March 2005. He felt lucky, and he probably was.
If you're looking for a lesson on the difference between commodities, goods, services and experiences, then this book will provide it. The important lesson, though, is how to move from a service-based business model to one based on experiences, as first exemplarized by Disney's theme parks.
Other than that, we find that The Experience Economy functions mostly as content marketing for the authors' consultancy business. Which is perfectly fine, but we think that the main lessons of the book are outdated.
We found one important and interesting aspect of PIne and Gilmore's book that we want to point out. It's reflected in the book's subtitle: "Work Is Theatre & Every Business Is A Stage".
In order to transform your service into an experience you must consider yourself a director of a play, your employees as actors and supporting staff, and your customers as the audience.
You must also appreciate the different styles of acting -- and more importantly, reconsider the traditional script-based customer service. Draw lessons from improv theatre and street actors, to give your customers truly unique experiences.
Religion, and its institutions can arguably be blamed for countless atrocities throughout history, such as the molesting of innocent children, the burning of women because they had cats (and possibly other horrendous crimes), the fall of democracies, genocides (yes, plural), plentiful wars, starvation, 9/11, Israel vs. Palestine, AIDS, ... well, you get the idea.
No religion escapes Hitchen's watchful eye and characteristically stingy British tongue. Of Muslim extremists and their motives he notes dryly that "their problem is not so much that they desire virgins as that they are virgins."
Hitchen's book is not only a history of religion, and a criticism of its claim to universal truth, but also an argument that all religion is man-made. Religion was created for man to dominate woman, for the powerful to subdue the masses or for the wealthy to control the poor.
"Religion is opium to the people," is to be understood not as a criticism of religion, but as a statement about power, and how power necessitates the creation of instruments to ensure that those who have it, keep it.
God is an infinitely hypocritical figure, creating things to be desired, only to forbid its devouring. To create us as sexual beings, and make then sex a sin. To make foreskins, labia and clitorises and instruct our clergy to brutally cut them off.
Such is only a few of Hitchen's numerous powerful criticisms of all of the world's religions.
Finally, Hitchen asks the inevitable, what happens to our morale without religion? The short answer is: Since religion is man-made, human morale necessarily precedes religion.
Great book about marketing.
Make insanely great products, base your marketing on that
Yes I did listen to it in one sitting.
Believable characters. Close and dirty fighting. Cold and comfortable love making. Beautiful betrayals. Surprising story.
Egg. He is a mean mofo.
I finished listening to the 16 + Hours book in two days. While I made drawings for my blog
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