When I think about Google and Salesforce, a very distinct trait comes to picture. Both the companies are doing exceedingly well and one common thread that runs between them is they work very hard to differentiate. Google was born after Yahoo. They could have just gone along and trusted their super search algorithm to make it work for them. But NOPE. With their search algorithm, they could have just sustained in the present. As time went on, no amounts of tweaking the algorithm will keep them ahead. So, what they did was to invest in future. How? They did it through ideas! The 80/20 principle.
Imagine working at Google – 1 day of every week is the day you can work on the most creative thing you have invented or thought of. With that in place, even the people who think they are not creative will become creative. Yes, there would be plethora of ideas and it would be impossible to manage. But what people miss is this – this idea fodder will feed Google forever. Even if creative people leave Google, the impressions they are going to make on Google is so immense that Google will actually benefit from it. Google differentiated from Yahoo and became a leader. The idea is so cool that, even if today Yahoo calls it out and starts to implement 80/20 principle in their company they might actually beat Google. But we all know about corporate hubris – it’s far more bigger than individual creativity. Yahoo will find it shameful to follow the trail of Google. But it could only be justified if they come up with their own creative idea generation. Whatever process they follow – they need to label it and let it hang out there so that everyone at Yahoo is aware of it.
Now about Salesforce. They differentiate a whole lot different than any other company. They follow something called the 1% solution. This is far bigger than what Google does. In this company we are no where at the individual level. It’s at a community level. It’s a about giving back and there by attracting more. You can only give if you have. The more you have the more you can give. Same reason why Warren Buffet can give so much money – because he keeps having more and more. So, Salesforce went up to a higher level by basing their company on the principles of giving back to community. It’s not about the individual anymore. They are aiming far bigger than Google. Salesforce may not be as big as Google in the markets, but among community it’s far bigger than Google. It’s not about us looking at these companies with a competitive eyes. These companies are excelling in their markets because they are differentiating. There is no other company I know of so far which does this 1% solution.
Imagine a company whose roots are based on giving back to community like Salesforce. And whose financial momentum is based on 80/20% rule like Google. Now that would make one great company. The GForce!