Serving the user

Following my observations on Google’s mutated identity, there’s more news of the company’s “decay”. The focus here this time is something else; about the shift in the company culture that results in a bureacracy that plays it safe. There’s a common strand around the fact that Google has changed. And part of the change involves becoming removed from the needs of the user and a bit less grounded on realities.

Indeed, reality is about what the market wants when your company is small and just leading parts of a large market – usually a small part. Yet when a company grows, the insides of the company and the decisions of the management often can be more real than the user. In fact, your boss is likely going to have way more influence over your fate than the users have over the fate of the company. At least in the short term.

So should we have a cultural metric that is about how much a company revolves around serving the user? Maybe. But it is only possible from the top-down. The management have to model and lead that. Yet the management is usually selected by shareholders and at some point when the company grows big. At some point, the short term interests of the shareholders can conflict with that of the user. Moreover, the business model of Internet companies like Google is “ads” – which means users don’t even contribute directly to the revenues of the company!