Independent Research and Policy Advocacy

What makes Google special?

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For a company of Google’s stature that has reached the scale it has, and still regard itself to be an Internet start-up is both admirable and inspiring. One of the biggest draws of what makes Google special is its culture which its “Ten things we know to be true” principles encapsulate and in essence form the core of all its actions.

To give a peek into this culture, Mr. Sridhar Seshadri, Head Online Sales, Google India, gave a seminar talk at our office on the topic.


Kicking off his talk by discussing the company’s philosophy, he highlighted that relentless focus on the user with continuous improvement on the product offering is a basic essential to what they do. A case in point is Search, its core offering, which though enjoys tremendous market share, it dedicates significant amount of energy in bettering it by the day. Also with a belief that great just isn’t good enough; it constantly pushes the innovation envelope by anticipating what the user would want and solves a problem that they cannot articulate.

To a question on attracting great talent, he pointed out that Google sets very high standards when it comes to hiring people. Typically a potential employee interacts with 6-12 people from diverse functions before he gets on board; the process though elaborate, eventually pays off. In line with this, he stressed the role of HR, and how crucial it is for it to be proactive in thinking from an employee perspective in terms of facilities, design etc, in addition to its routine of course.

The 20% time off (called Innovation Time off) for employees to pursue projects that interest them, he felt, has been a good motivation technique and been the source of some of its popular offerings like Gmail, Google News, Google Talk, Google Earth, Chrome etc.

His talk included live examples and touched upon an array of subjects from its Chrome OS to its philanthropy work at Clearly the knowledge that we had gained through his talk has given us a lot of food for thought as we proceed on our path towards enabling financial inclusion.

The seminar also marked the launch of the SPARK series – Informal sessions held every Friday by different speakers sharing their knowledge on diverse topics. The intent being to understand and appreciate the different dots that exist within the IFMR ecosystem, and have the Spark series as the channel where the dots connect.

Spark series for April kicks off on 9th April 2010.

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