Why Google Is Different

Here’s an interesting excerpt from a great Wall Street Journal commentary article about Google and how it has managed to not kill itself off:

“Elitism may be out of fashion, but Google is famously elitist when it comes to hiring. It understands that companies begin to slide into mediocrity when they start to hire mediocre people. A-level people want to work with A-level people. B-level people are threatened by class-A talent. So if you let a B-lister in the door, he or she will hire equally unremarkable colleagues. As the ranks of the mediocre expand, it becomes harder to attract and retain the exceptional. The process of dumbing down becomes irreversible.

Google’s grueling hiring process, akin to a Mensa test, values nonconformity nearly as highly as genius. Preference is given to candidates who have weird avocations and out-of-the-ordinary experiences. It’s one thing to hire ambitious brainiacs, and another to keep them. The Founders’ Awards, an annual multimillion dollar payout to teams who’ve made outsize contributions to Google’s growth, is one key retention mechanism The goal: to ensure that internal entrepreneurs have no incentive to take their best ideas somewhere else.”

God I wished I worked there some days. What an inspiring place. Mike are you listening? 😉