What can we learn from Google?

No, I am not talking about what can we learn from using Google but what lessons can we learn from Google’s approach to make compelling offers. A lot, I guess.

First thing that comes to my mind is that when Google launches something it will be different. Way different from what everyone else is offering. Here are some examples:

Home page: The home page still has so much whitespace that it is unbelievable. When everyone else was using the portal approach, Google was clear that people come there to search for something and all that was required was the search bar. The simplicity is what won so many hearts.

Ad words: From the get go, Google made it clear that they would make money from relevant ads. It started with their own site but now there are probably millions of partner sites that use Google Adwords as a revenue generating engine.

Gmail: When everyone else was offering sub 10MB diskspace, Google did not open with a 100MB offer but a 1GB offer. There was no comparison. It’s hard for someone else to catch up

Maps: Maps and directions are a commodity now. However, zoom in feature in Google maps was the talk of the town.

Google Answers: The concept is similar to several expert marketplaces. The key difference is that the experts have been pre-screened and are top class. Ask a question and you will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of answers you receive.

Giving back: Read about the story of Google hiring a top notch Firefox programmer and allowing him to continue to work on Firefox (open source browser). Granted, there may be business interest underlying this but for now, they are giving a great gift to the open source community.

Google is one of the greatest success stories of the valley and I am proud of it. I was thinking about what could we learn and apply in our own lives from this story. Here are few worth mentioning:

Make your offers so compelling that people will take notice. Marginal improvements won’t help.

Scarcity builds value: Gmail is still an invitation only webmail. There are thousands on the waiting list.

Design for revenue and profit from the get go. Making this an after thought will be a mistake

Leverage others with win-win partnerships: Google didn’t stop with adwords on their site. They let it spread like wild fire through their partners.

Give back constantly: The more you give, the more you get

Something to think about.