Google’s culture of yes

November 19, 2010

Nikesh Arora, Google’s President of Global Sales Operations and Business Development, spoke to Chrystia yesterday at a panel during the Paley Center for Media’s November International Council meeting. Arora explained how Google is able to keep its garage-workshop spirit of innovation even as the company swelled to 20,000 employees. The key, he said, was to establish a “culture of yes” where the default option is for management to approve employees’ new ideas andprojects rather than trying to nitpick and say no. Several of Google’s most recent initiatives, from driverless cars to a new offshore power grid to promote wind power, were the byproduct of this bottom-up process.

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In response to Chrystia’s question about whether Facebook’s new e-mail service will steal users away from Google, Arora said the “internet is not a zero-sum game.” He predicted that in five to eight years, 80 to 90 percent of people’s time will be spent on internet-enabled devices, and in such a world, it would be impossible for any one company to dominate all online behavior.  Arora foresaw a future in which there are 15 to 20 players that provide the most popular online services, and that he would include Google and Facebook in that list.

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Finally Arora shared his outlook for what areas Google is investing in most heavily.  He said the company’s focus on advertising, while sizable, is aimed only at the 10% of the $600 – $700 billion ad market that is online.  In five to eight years, he predicted 30 to 50 percent of the ad market will shift to online.  Google will be poised to take advantage of that shift, as well as the shift to personalization and interactivity in ads that will occur in the near term.

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Posted by Peter Rudegeair.


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Culture of the “yes”, and the driverless car!
Can you imagine how this technology could help people with some handicaps, sight problems, aging people at early stages of dementia or Alzheimer!
They could be behind the driver’s wheel, but could be so better protected!
I am so enthusiastic about this, I hope that this will become reality before I get to the age when I might need it!
YES! Google, go for it!

Posted by garilou | Report as abusive

“The key, he said, was to establish a “culture of yes” where the default option is for management to approve employees’ new ideas andprojects rather than trying to nitpick and say no.”

– The organization that repeats or clones this concept has a long way to in future! This is awesome!

Posted by x.wolfman | Report as abusive

In its heyday, Microsoft also had a culture of ‘yes’. It’s how they ended up with talking Barney Dinosaur toys. Today they still live or die on Windows and Office. Google is dabbling, but other than web advertising is not proving to be successful at the adaptation game, though it is probably fun working on things that don’t have to produce a profit.

Posted by ARJTurgot2 | Report as abusive

Just wanted to let you know that we cited you in our recent blog “Say yes to the test”:

and would love any thoughts you have to share on this culture for nonprofits!Thanks so much for sharing this in-depth look at what a culture of yes can mean to a company. It’s truly made a difference in how we approach the work we do in Fort Worth and Tarrant County.

Posted by CCFortWorth | Report as abusive