ASYMCO: Google's 3 Ps

InsightaaS: Across the Net often highlights posts from Horace Dediu’s ASYMCO blog, an interesting source of insight into issues pertaining to Apple, and to the smartphone and related markets generally. This post, Google’s three Ps, provides a very different perspective. It's a highly-philosophical view of the ways in which Google's operating approach differs from the practices found in traditional businesses, and what this means. Dediu sees "the radical bet underlying the Google thesis [bing]: are business models necessary?" going on to note that "This is in fact a bet many VCs are implicitly placing within the current start-up culture." Dediu believes that Google warrants particular scrutiny, since it wields "de-facto control over the online (and hence increasingly offline) lives of more than one billion people. Users, but not customers, of a company whose purpose is undefined."

A company is nothing more (and nothing less) than three things: people, processes and purposes. In the language of the software engineer these would be inputs, algorithms and specifications. In the language of classical business analysis they are assets (or resources), organization structures and business models. In military theory, these are logistics, tactics and strategy.

This is the trinity which allows for an understanding of a complex system: the physical, the operational and the guiding principle. The what, the how and the why.

When approaching any analysis problem, these questions form the foundation of causal inference. What is it, how does it work and why does it exist?...Some companies try to define their purposes beyond profit but they are often too vague or merely speak of values represent a quality not causality.

This is the case with Google. The problem isn’t only that "don’t be evil" isn’t a priority or a purpose, but also that its resources are not applied to cohesive goals. In fact, there seems to be no interest in pursuing a direction aligned with generating income...

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