Ideas can come from anywhere.
Google News came from an employee.
Google Maps came from an acquisition.
Google Desktop came from a user.
“There’s a myriad of different places that ideas come from, and what you really want to do is set up a system where people can feel like they can contribute to those ideas and that the best ideas rise to the top in sort of a Darwinistic way by proof of concept, a powerful prototype, by demonstrating that’s it’s going to fill a really important user need, and so on and so forth.”
A number of Google products have come from their employees, because Google gives them “the freedom and tools to work on things that interest them”.
Apart from employees, Google also gives importance to feedback that it receives from its users.A simple query like “How come I can’t search my computer as fast as I can search the web?” had been transformed into a great product, Google Desktop.
Mayer says Google uses a number of ways to get feedback from users. They have:
- Focus groups
- User studies
- Multiple email addresses for users to email Google
- Tools to watch user patterns
“Entrepreneurs need to hire people who are smarter than they are.”
Mayer says that working with smart people “challenges you to think and work on another level than you thought possible.”
The idea is that when you hire smart people, you’re hiring people who can bounce ideas and challenge each other. You’re also hiring people who are efficient, inventive, and more determined than an average employee. All these characteristics lead to better products, which leads to a better company.