Comparing Google to an ordinary business is like comparing a rocket to an Edsel. No academic analysis or bystander's account can capture it. Now Doug Edwards, Employee Number 59, offers the first inside view of Google, giving listeners a chance to fully experience the bizarre mix of camaraderie and competition at this phenomenal company.
Edwards, Google's first director of marketing and brand management, describes it as it happened. We see the first, pioneering steps of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the company's young, idiosyncratic partners; the evolution of the company's famously nonhierarchical structure (where every employee finds a problem to tackle or a feature to create and works independently); the development of brand identity; the races to develop and implement each new feature; and the many ideas that never came to pass. Above all, Edwards - a former journalist who knows how to write - captures the Google Experience, the rollercoaster ride of being part of a company creating itself in a whole new universe.
I'm Feeling Lucky captures for the first time the unique, self-invented, yet profoundly important culture of the world's most transformative corporation.
©2011 Douglas Edwards (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"This lively, thoughtful business memoir is more entertaining than it really has any right to be, and should be required reading for startup aficionados." (Publishers Weekly)
"Douglas Edwards is indeed lucky, sort of an accidental millionaire, a reluctant bystander in a sea of computer geniuses who changed the world. This is a rare look at what happened inside the building of the most important company of our time." (Seth Godin)
"Douglas Edwards recounts Google's stumble and rise with verve and humor and a generosity of spirit. He kept me turning the pages of this engrossing tale." (Ken Auletta, author of Googled: The End of the World as We Know It)
“With a warm, approachable tone and perfect pacing, Edwards narrates his detailed account of his experiences as an early employee of Google, Inc….Edwards seems a natural as he provides a highly listenable audio performance….the listener walks away with a better understanding of how true organizational creativity and brilliant technical engineering can impact the human condition and world culture.” (AudioFile)
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.
Watch out "Social Network" and "Pirates of Siicon Valley" the next great tech movie is contained within the pages this book. I also enjoyed to Jeff Jarvis's "WWGD" and "In the Plex" but this book has great personal drama as well as the interesting Google Story. You can relate the Doug as he takes you on his journey through the world of search, working hard to understand the Google Culture and create a better world. This guy is an awesome writer and a wonderful story teller. I can't wait to see the movie!! I've only written a few reviews but this book is so good I wanted to recommend it to others. This book is not the usual "yada-yada!" Awesome book! Highly recommended!!
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.
One of the funniest books I've ever read. The style is witty, kind and down to earth. A must read for anyone who has ever worked at a start-up. Hearing the story from the author's own mouth adds to the personal feeling of the book. You'll be the lucky one if you take the time to listen to this book.
Written from the insight you discover how google started and became what it is. It's an obliged reading if you want to fully understand google and probably it's future as well. It's well written and shows the human part behind the little box of search in the corner of your browser.
An entertaining, well written personal story of the career-choice of a lifetime. Highlights include the AOL-negotiations and the behind-the-curtain look at the googlers on the annual ski-trip. Edwards doesn't drop any huge bombs or surprises, except how blatantly he describes his sour relationship with Marissa Mayer who cannot be very pleased reading this book.
Entertaing and incitefull read from a person who worked inside google during it's startup period through it's major growth period.
This is not just your yaddah yaddah tell all. I came away tremendously impressed by Google, Douglas Edwards, the Founders and a truly amazing cast of characters making their way in a world of opportunity on a rather bizzare silicon valley playing field. I admit that that I only understand some of technical issues a little better. Nevertheless, if, like me, you have used Google's growing arsenal of tools since its infancy, you will find this a particularly interesting history lesson, even though some of it is going to be over your head too.
I just have to say thank you for this book. One of the best business books I've ever read not because it's a business book but because of the insights, opinion, history and detail that was shared by Douglas Edwards about a amazing company that didn't just happen but was built.
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.
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