Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 8th Dec 2016 23:42 UTC
Google

The architect of this reorganization - known as "Alphabetization" at the ever-sunny Google - was Ruth Porat, the new chief financial officer. Porat, who was born in England but grew up in Palo Alto, led Morgan Stanley's technology banking division during the first dot-com boom, served as an adviser to the Treasury Department during the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and became Morgan Stanley's CFO in 2010. She joined Google in May 2015 with a mandate to bring discipline and focus to a company so awash in cash that it never needed much of either. She instituted rigorous budgeting and, according to people familiar with Alphabet's operations, forced the Other Bets to begin paying for the shared Google services they used. Projects hatched with ambiguous timelines of 10 or more years in some cases had to show a path to profit in half the time.

At most big companies, such financial controls are standard operating procedure, and Alphabet's investors are pleased. Its stock is up 35 percent since Porat joined. But within the Other Bets, Porat's tenure has been controversial, earning her an unflattering nickname: Ruthless Ruth. "She's a hatchet man," says a former senior Alphabet executive. "If Larry isn't excited about something," the executive continues, referring to CEO Page, "Ruth kills it."

I love these stories of problems few of us will ever have to deal with.

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The end is nigh
by kwan_e on Fri 9th Dec 2016 02:21 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

It just reads like something you'd read about a company in 20 years time about why it stopped innovating and stagnated and why it's being carved up and sold to investors.

Reply Score: 10

RE: The end is nigh
by project_2501 on Fri 9th Dec 2016 09:59 UTC in reply to "The end is nigh"
project_2501 Member since:
2006-03-20

I was about to say exactly that.

Rarely have bean counters improved the lot of a venture.

The best most innovative companies kept the management consultants and bean counters ar bay.

Reply Score: 5

RE: The end is nigh
by Adurbe on Fri 9th Dec 2016 10:39 UTC in reply to "The end is nigh"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

That is part of the goal. Google had become bloated with pet projects, many of which they bought in.

Ok, the company was still printing money, but failed projects simply refused to die. Over time that would become a burden and Block innovation as new projects that compete with existing solutions weren't getting commissioned..

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: The end is nigh
by spudley99 on Fri 9th Dec 2016 16:29 UTC in reply to "RE: The end is nigh"
spudley99 Member since:
2009-03-25

That is part of the goal. Google had become bloated with pet projects, many of which they bought in.

Ok, the company was still printing money, but failed projects simply refused to die. Over time that would become a burden and Block innovation as new projects that compete with existing solutions weren't getting commissioned..


Google really needs to try selling or spinning off some of those projects rather than just killing them. Their habit of constantly killing off products that people still want to use is starting to get them a bit of a bad reputation.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: The end is nigh
by rft183 on Fri 9th Dec 2016 16:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The end is nigh"
rft183 Member since:
2005-08-11


Google really needs to try selling or spinning off some of those projects rather than just killing them. Their habit of constantly killing off products that people still want to use is starting to get them a bit of a bad reputation.

Definitely! I've found myself not wanting to switch to any of their services if there is a decent competitor at all. I'm afraid I'll start to rely on it, and then they'll kill it.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: The end is nigh
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 12th Dec 2016 14:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The end is nigh"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

While I understand the frustration, in most cases that isn't possible. Almost all in house google products use google libraries and technologies that aren't publicly available. They can't sell them off without revealing "trade secrets".

I think its better to have Google be more disciplined in its product offerings. Release less, and support more longer.

Reply Score: 2

RE: The end is nigh
by unclefester on Sat 10th Dec 2016 03:15 UTC in reply to "The end is nigh"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

It just reads like something you'd read about a company in 20 years time about why it stopped innovating and stagnated and why it's being carved up and sold to investors.


I totally disagree. The Google moonshots were self-indulgent hobbies that produced nothing particularly useful.

The most successful research-focused companies like 3M and IBM only spend about 4-6% of their income on R&D. They achieve outstanding outcomes by being ruthlessly focused and incredibly disciplined.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The end is nigh
by kwan_e on Sat 10th Dec 2016 06:50 UTC in reply to "RE: The end is nigh"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

The most successful research-focused companies like 3M and IBM only spend about 4-6% of their income on R&D. They achieve outstanding outcomes by being ruthlessly focused and incredibly disciplined.


http://fortune.com/2014/11/17/top-10-research-development/

I guess these other companies aren't successful then.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: The end is nigh
by oiaohm on Sat 10th Dec 2016 07:09 UTC in reply to "RE: The end is nigh"
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

3M is not exactly the best example. 3M makes over different 55000 products no one is 100 percent sure how large 3M product catalogue really is.

3M is product/customer focused not research focused. They make something how to produce product from it is highly important. Post it notes are a result of a failed glue experiment.

Why over 55000 products is they make a product they keep how to make product if someone orders from 3m and they have the tech to make it they make it if they don't have the tech to make it they attempt to develop it.

3m is very different even letting staff run own experiments it for them to find new products to sell.

Samsung in R&D and marketing spends about the same amount.

Really research-focused is so wrong. Majority of research-focused are companies doomed to failure. The ones the most successful R&D budget spend results are customer focused where the R&D is focused on servicing a customer or future customer need.

3M is really example of customer focused but not incredibly disciplined. Incredibly disciplined 3M would not have end up in the position where they don't know how many products total they will be producing in a year.

IBM core is a support company with customer requests for support driving a lot of R&D. So customer focused. The reality is most long lived companies doing lots of R&D is that they are doing R&D to meet customer needs.

Then you look a Google moonshots how many of those had any objective of being provided to clients for profit.

Yes google need someone to get it back on track of making products for clients.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: The end is nigh
by Lennie on Sun 11th Dec 2016 18:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The end is nigh"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

So who does the most innovate research ?

The answer might surprise you: the government.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: The end is nigh
by oiaohm on Sun 11th Dec 2016 23:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The end is nigh"
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

The answer is not surprising when you think about it.

Government has taxes to get income. Government is not dependant on customers buying product from it. So government can waste money on research going no where without risking end up without a income.

Yes governments have absolute monopolies for income in the area they rule. So also don't have to worry about competition other than war stealing their income base.

A commercial company or charity has to be client/supporter driven or end up bankrupt.

Some companies like google get to ignore the reality for so long but the reality has to dawn at some point.

So you want innovate research its government who does it. But then there is a question tones of research done by government ends up patented by individual companies that then profit from it and restrict competition with those patents.

There are a lot of questions about government research and how much governments should protect the research they have done for the benefit of everyone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The end is nigh
by M.Onty on Mon 12th Dec 2016 14:12 UTC in reply to "RE: The end is nigh"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

The most successful research-focused companies like 3M and IBM only spend about 4-6% of their income on R&D.

If they spend 4--6% of their income on research then they're not research focused.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: The end is nigh
by unclefester on Tue 13th Dec 2016 03:06 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The end is nigh"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

If they spend 4--6% of their income on research then they're not research focused.


IBM is the biggest industrial research organisation in in the world.

IBM has generated more patents than any other organisation for each of the past the past 22 years.

IBM employees have garnered five Nobel Prizes, six Turing Awards, ten National Medals of Technology, and five National Medals of Science.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: The end is nigh
by M.Onty on Tue 13th Dec 2016 09:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The end is nigh"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

Yes, I get that. Its something they are very good at, and they employ very smart people, and they are very big. But its not their primary focus.

Perhaps I'm being pedantic, but there are companies out there who exist purely to research and either receive commission for that research, or sell the rights, or are waiting for the right one to commercialise.

That's not to diminish the acheivements of the people at IBM, nor to suggest IBM should be any more research focused.

Reply Score: 2

Financial Discipline
by candiceclings on Mon 12th Dec 2016 05:38 UTC
candiceclings
Member since:
2016-12-12

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Edited 2016-12-12 05:39 UTC

Reply Score: 1