Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Could these financial hard times give birth to the next Google?

So the bailout plan has been rejected. Listening to the news in the past weeks, I've heard the word "unprecedented" an unprecedented number of times. These are possibly very frightening times, the more frightening the more tied in you are to the financial status quo.

In The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture by John Batelle, it tells of how Google stumbled upon the business model that would eventually make its fortune.

In late 1999/early 2000, Google was spending $500,000 a month on its smart staff, and had $20 million left in the bank. Income streams were ... well, hazy.

Ideologically opposed to tacky banner advertising, the founders sought a way to make money without compromising the user experience. We all know what they came up with, but at the time it was an experiment.

Plan B was to sign a banner advertising deal with DoubleClick - a sure thing in January 2000, but not four short months later, when the tech bubble burst. (Ironically, Google now owns Doubleclick!)

All of sudden, they had to make this new thing work. And if it hadn't been for the bubble bursting, Google may have ended up as just another traditional media company.

What innovative ideas are facing the do-or-die challenge of their lives this week? What plan B's just went under?

Need a reminder of those heady times? To celebrate their 10th birthday, Google has dragged their oldest index of the web out of storage ... see what you can find, and what you can't!
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Matt @ Kurb said...

I feel sorry for the people who are going to lose their jobs as their non innovative companies take the hit.

But maybe they'll end up becoming digital entrepreneurs too so we'll all live happily ever after.

Simon said...

Maybe ... but entrepreneurialism is not for everyone ... sadly. Mind you, some people might be discovering - all of a sudden - that it's for them!

Ben Young said...

Whilst it is a tough time ahead, also an exciting time. Huge opportunities for Gen Y to get a foot on the ladder.