Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
umair haque  


Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Research Note: Google vs Beacon, Or Why Advantage is in the DNA

Lately, I've been talking to a lot of people about Facebook, Google, good vs evil, and the essence of advantage.

The easiest way to understand what good is, and why it's powerful, is through the counterfactual.

Why didn't Google launch a Google Beacon? After all, it has vastly more data than Facebook, and, because it's Google every retailer, publisher, advertiser etc under the sun would scramble desperately to join.

A Google beacon might transmit details of your searches to your friends, when you click on an ad, for example. The details aren't the point - the economics are: Google could make a near-term killing via a (bigger, more valuable) Beacon style service.

So why didn't/doesn't Google do it? Simple: because, though it makes Google better off in the short run, it makes people worse off in the long run.

That's what evil is about. And that's what Facebook can't process - because its a company with much intelligence, passion, and commitment - but no wisdom, empathy, or courage.

Does that sound familiar? It should: it's exactly the DNA of Microsoft.

And that's also why - advantage, in the edgeconomy, is in the DNA.

-- umair // 3:09 PM // 7 comments


Umair... I am starting to slowly but surely love your thinking.

"...wisdom, empathy, and courage" - not exactly what you're getting when looking for and hiring "brilliant" engineers only.

I had a post on my blog back in 2005 titled "Oh, I Wish an Era was Ending..."

The era of the (among others):

- sales person
- creative marketing
- thousands of "brilliant" Microsoft engineers

BTW... most industry and media people still think of Larry Page and Sergei Brin as "brilliant" whiz kids - WRONG!
// Blogger Boby // 7:29 PM

Spot on.
// Blogger Scott Crawford // 4:22 PM

Just another one to your basket:
// Blogger zby // 12:12 PM

Just for fun, I'd like Umair or others to name some companies that have tons of wisdom, empathy, and courage but very little intelligence, passion, and commitment. :D
// Anonymous Anonymous // 10:49 PM

hey zack,

in fact, there are huge numbers of businesses like that - it's usually local/niche lifestyle players, like your friendly health food co-op/high-concept restaurant/high-end audio retailer/rep cinema/etc.

thx for the comments guys.
// Blogger umair // 11:03 PM

Hey Umair,

Since you quite regulalry touch on the 'hype in the valley theme' - here's a video called 'Bubble' you may want to link to. Funny if nothing else.
// Anonymous Anonymous // 10:39 AM

sorry umair, missed pasting the link.
// Anonymous Anonymous // 10:40 AM
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