LONDON -- Imagine if you could create the perfect company from scratch. How would you shape it?
Well, what is the greatest trend of our generation? Undoubtedly, it is the Internet. So the company would have to be centered on the Internet, perhaps providing the core functionality that links together the online universe.
The culture is key
What about the culture? Well, it would have to be a culture of openness and creativity. There would be an openness to ideas, and an outright drive to create and innovate. But, more than this, the company would not be tied to its history, but to its future, and would have the ambition to think big. And it would be agile enough to spot new trends and adapt to them, changing itself in the process.
Well, in my view, the perfect company already exists. It's called Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL).
Synonymous with the Internet
Vacuum cleaners often used to be called "hoovers," because the American brand was so synonymous with these appliances. In the same way today, you don't search the Internet, you "Google." Google so dominates the Internet; it has become synonymous with it.
The Google-dominated Internet is making the public library extinct, and has, sadly, laid waste to the high street. Google's tentacles now spread out to email, web browsers, and social networking. In fact, I can't think of a company that has had a greater effect on modern life.
Google, by spotting the mobile device revolution that Steve Jobs began, has shown itself to be far more agile than outdated Microsoft. Google now not only dominates computers, but also smart phones and tablets with its Android operating system. The future of tech seems to lie with the triumvirate of Google, Apple, and Samsung.
The scattergun vs. the laser
Just because Google's roots are in Internet search doesn't mean it can't dabble in smartphones, social networking and, in the future, new technologies like augmented reality glasses and driverless cars. And it is only through this experimentation that it can work out new disruptive technologies that turn into new and highly profitable revenue streams. The company has an innate understanding of how to cause creative destruction.
Is there a weakness? Well, what comes out for me is Google's lack of aggression, in both marketing and product design terms, compared to a company like Apple. But these companies have completely different approaches to product development: if Google is the scattergun, Apple is the laser. It will be fascinating to see which of these companies is the most successful in the future.
But if you consider an investment in Google as an investment in the Internet (in all its multifarious forms), I, for one, wouldn't bet against it.
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