Google As Religion

The only really entertaining snippet from the Economist’s recent homage to Larry Page is a quote from the ubiquitous Paul Saffo:

“Google is a religion posing as a company.”

Discuss. Because some might say that’s not such a bad thing. After all, Jim Collins argue in Built to Last that the standout companies he identifies have “cult-like cultures”. So, my personal squeamishness with the idea aside, is being “a religion posing as a company” such a bad thing?

Related posts:

  1. Built to … Deteriorate?
  2. The Success Secret of Jim “Good to Great” Collins
  3. Jim “Good to Great” Collins’ Next Book?
  4. Is Built to Last Falsifiable?
  5. Google Reader: Don’t Blame Us, It’s Only an API!

Comments

  1. Not much of a religion really. No miracles. No book of authoritative wisdom (unless you include the prospectus). No uplifting music. Not even the prospect of putting to death the unbelievers. What kind of religion is that?

  2. ed says:

    the only religion at google are the many prayers being said such that the stock may continue to rise.
    i have to assume that any web user with their sense of reason intact will notice that the software google develops by itself is pretty mediocre…which also begs the question what the $70-100mm in stock compensation paid in 2005 is going towards…
    i can only assume that the creative conditions at the googleplex are far less conducive for good ideas than the conditions for graduate students and other hackers…
    i’ll stand by my assessment that they were lucky to build a better mousetrap with the original “pagerank,” probably aren’t so good at search that they can make it work without helpful links to show the way, and have made it their mission to dilute the company’s focus away from things that make money onto average-quality, free consumer doo-dads…which they don’t really have much talent for developing anyway.
    i don’t think the question is whether google will “beat” microsoft. google, running off one really good idea and purchasing most of its best ideas elsewhere, already is microsoft.
    the question is whether google can overcome the microsoft-like culture they’re created and continue to grow profits…and not just their payroll.

  3. Franklin Stubbs says:

    Ed, wow. I’m picturing a fifth of jack daniels and a loaded forty-five next to your keyboard.
    Whatever Larry and Sergey did to you man, it’s not worth it. Turn toward the light!

  4. Alternatively recognize ICT (Information & Communication Technologies) as a progressive religion.
    This would encourage people to
    1. Define a roadmap for coming generations
    2. Balance the social, economic, and cultural aspects in hierarchical society

  5. True: No parting-the-red-sea-kind-of-things. No book of authoritative wisdom (unless you include the prospectus). No uplifting music.
    But Google has achieved the greatest miracle of all. In a world full of cynicism, drudgery and suffering, they’ve managed to give thousands of people meaning and happiness.
    I think that’s amazing. That’s religion. Google is a cult and I wish my investees were like them.

  6. True: No parting-the-red-sea-kind-of-things. No book of authoritative wisdom (unless you include the prospectus). No uplifting music.
    But Google has achieved the greatest miracle of all. In a world full of cynicism, drudgery and suffering, they’ve managed to give thousands of people meaning and happiness.
    I think that’s amazing. That’s religion. Google is a cult and I wish my investees were like them.