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When G.M. Was Google

One Friday afternoon a dozen years ago, Larry Page, one of the founders of Google, posted on the wall of the office kitchen a printed-out screenshot of Google ad results, with “These Ads Suck!” scrawled on it. Google’s AdWords engine was supposed to serve up ads that were relevant to your search terms. He was finding that if you searched for Kawasaki H1B, the vintage motorcycle, you’d get ads for lawyers who would help you with your H-1B visa. That sort of thing. By Monday morning, five engineers who weren’t even on the advertising team had, acting on their own, devised a software solution to the problem—a solution that proved to be worth billions of dollars. “It wasn’t Google’s culture that turned those five engineers into problem-solving ninjas who changed the course of the company over the weekend,” Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg—the company’s former C.E.O. and its former head of product development, respectively—write in “How Google Works” (Grand Central). “Rather it was the culture that attracted the ninjas to the company in the first place.”

via When G.M. Was Google.

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