“Larry Page lives by the gospel of 10x”

February 2013 WIRED interview with Google CEO, Larry Page …

Google’s Larry Page on Why Moon Shots Matter

Steven Levy 01.17.13

Larry Page lives by the gospel of 10x. Most companies would be happy to improve a product by 10 percent. Not the CEO and cofounder of Google. The way Page sees it, a 10 percent improvement means that you’re basically doing the same thing as everybody else. You probably won’t fail spectacularly, but you are guaranteed not to succeed wildly.

That’s why Page expects his employees to create products and services that are 10 times better than the competition. That means he isn’t satisfied with discovering a couple of hidden efficiencies or tweaking code to achieve modest gains. Thousand-percent improvement requires rethinking problems entirely, exploring the edges of what’s technically possible, and having a lot more fun in the process.

This regimen of cheeky aspiration has made Google an extraordinary success story, changing the lives of its users while fattening the wallets of its investors. But it has also accomplished something far beyond Google itself: In an industry rife with bandwagon-hopping and strategic positioning, Page’s approach is a beacon for those who want more from their CEOs than a bloated earnings statement. While Google has made some missteps in recent years, and while its power has deservedly drawn the scrutiny of regulators and critics, it remains a flagship for optimists who believe that innovation will provide us with not just delightful gadgetry but solutions to our problems and inspiration for our dreams. For those people–and maybe for the human enterprise itself–a car that drives itself (to name one of the company’s recent tech triumphs) is a much more valuable dividend than one calculated in cents per share. There’s no question which is more important to Larry Page.

Of course, it can be challenging working for a boss whose dominant trait is dissatisfaction with the pace of progress. Astro Teller, who oversees Google X, the company’s blue-sky skunkworks division, illustrates Page’s proclivities with a parable. Teller imagines wheeling a Dr. Who time machine into Page’s office. He plugs it in and–it works! But instead of being bowled over, Page asks why it needs a plug. Wouldn’t it be better if it didn’t use power at all? “It’s not because he’s not excited about time machines or he’s ungrateful that we built it,” Teller says. “It’s just core to who he is. There’s always more to do, and his focus is on where the next 10X will come from.”

Page thought big even when he was little–he has said he always wanted to be an inventor, not just to produce gadgetry but to change the world. As an undergrad at the University of Michigan, he found inspiration in a student leadership-training program called LeaderShape, which preached “a healthy disregard for the impossible.” By the time he got to grad school at Stanford, it was a natural step for him to 10X his potential thesis idea–a tool to annotate web pages–into a search engine that transformed the web and the world. And once Google’s riotously successful ad business provided a plump financial cushion, Page was free to push for innovations that bore only a passing relationship to his core business. Google would build an email service–with 100 times the storage of competitors. Google would provide translations–for the entire web, from any language to any other. Google would give readers instant access to a global library–by scanning nearly every book ever published and putting the contents in its indexes. More recently, Google launched its own version of an ISP service–laying its own fiber and providing broadband service to Kansas City customers at 100 times industry-standard speeds.

That moon-shot mentality is the basis of Google X, which the company established in early 2010 to identify and implement once-impossible sci-fi fantasies: Hail Mary projects like the self-driving car. Or Google Glass, a wearable computing system. Or an artificial brain, in which a cluster of computers running advanced algorithms learn from the world around them, much like humans do. (In one experiment, it took only three days for a digital colony of 1,000 machines, with a billion connections, to surpass previous benchmarks in identifying photos of faces and cats.)

Page was closely involved in establishing Google X, but since he has ascended to lead the company, he can’t spend as much time there. Some Googlers wonder if Page, clearly at his happiest working on moon shots, is essentially taking one for the team by assuming the sometimes prosaic tasks of a CEO. (Talking to bureaucrats about antitrust issues, for example, is probably not his idea of a good time.)

The evidence shows, however, that Page has attacked his role with full-hearted fervor, applying the same 10X mentality to the process of running the company.

He reorganized the management team around an “L-Team” of top aides, and he relentlessly rallied employees around a sweeping effort to integrate all of Google’s offerings into a seamlessly social whole. And in the boldest move in his tenure, he engineered the $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, one of the world’s biggest handset companies.

In one of the rare interviews he has granted as CEO, Page recently discussed thinking big and other Googley issues with Wired at the company’s Mountain View, California, headquarters. Later that same day, Page, who turns 40 in March, announced a new philanthropic venture. After observing epidemiological behavior via Google Search’s flu-tracking service, he decided to pay for free flu shots for kids in the entire Bay Area. How 10X of him.

— Click for the original article

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Customer Lab: NewSell and WOMBAT SELLING

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Nothing has changed the business environment more than the WWW, in the last 20 years. Now, with the Apple platform and its glittering array of devices supporting Facebook, Twitter and Google the customer is not only right … the customer rules!

Customers today, in their own right, are global publishers, broadcasters, niche marketers, content-providers and network producers and they are well aware of the fact.

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The origin of x10 Thinking

For thirty years I have been spreading the x10 meme through books, blogs and x10 thinking enterprise solutions. Occasionally I am asked about the origin of x10 Thinking.

As you no doubt know, Powers of 10 is long established in mathematics. I have always been fascinated by the phenomenon of tenpower and have included it as a key topic in most of my books.

Thirty years ago I first wrote about cvs2bvs in my book NewSell (p 137, Boardroom Books, 1984 New York) that: “The BVS is always ten times better than the CVS”. Or, “BVS = CVS x10”.

Later, I wrote about the googol (10100) and the googolplex as exotic examples of tenpower in my best-seller Software For the Brain (1989). And again in 2012 in English Thinking: The Three Methods.

I was first to apply powers of ten in neuroscience as a simple but powerful way of escaping from the established patterns of inside the square thinking to outside the square thinking and coined the term ‘x10 Thinking’.

In 2000, I wrote it all up in what has been called the ‘gospel of x10’: The x10 Memeplex: Multiply Your Business By Ten! (Prentice Hall).

However, I was originally inspired by the Charles and Ray Eames movie – Powers of Ten – which I bought to screen at SOT instructor classes in New York.

I was first shown the movie while doing speaking engagements in Monte Carlo for IBM Europe in the mid-80s. This brilliant Eames thought experiment is now online and you can watch it here. It’s a classic!

Get the x10 book

“Larry Page lives by the gospel of 10x”

WIRED Magazine, Cover Story February 2013 by Steven Levy:

Larry Page lives by the gospel of 10x. Most companies would be happy to improve a product by 10 percent. Not the CEO and cofounder of Google. The way Page sees it, a 10 percent improvement means that you’re basically doing the same thing as everybody else. That’s why Page expects his employees to create products and services that are 10 times better than the competition.

Multiply Your Business by 10!

In this exciting book, Michael Hewitt-Gleeson introduces a new way to think about business. He describes the x10 meme – the innovative idea of multiplying your business by 10.

Currently the business growth meme in most people’s brain is 10% per annum. Here the author stresses that the market is changing rapidly and businesses cannot stay the same. The 10% per annum meme is outdated and needs to be upgraded.

X10 is the focus for future thinking and for customer-driven businesses bent on profit share. Using three easy-to-follow tutorials, Hewitt-Gleeson guides you through The x10 Memeplex. Finally, a case study plan helps people to transfer these ideas into their own business practices.

This book will change the way everyone thinks about business. Go ahead. Read the x10 gospel. Infect your mind with the x10 meme. Be like Larry Page and multiply your business by ten!

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Who is the one person you know who would most benefit from a copy of this x10 book? Pass it on. (NOTE: This file has already been scanned for viruses).

Einstein’s Advice to His Son

“That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.”

In 1915, aged thirty-six, Einstein was living in wartorn Berlin, while his estranged wife, Mileva, and their two sons, Hans Albert Einstein and Eduard “Tete” Einstein, lived in comparatively safe Vienna. On November 4 of that year, having just completed the two-page masterpiece that would catapult him into international celebrity and historical glory, his theory of general relativity, Einstein sent 11-year-old Hans Albert the following letter:

My dear Albert,

Yesterday I received your dear letter and was very happy with it. I was already afraid you wouldn’t write to me at all any more. You told me when I was in Zurich, that it is awkward for you when I come to Zurich. Therefore I think it is better if we get together in a different place, where nobody will interfere with our comfort. I will in any case urge that each year we spend a whole month together, so that you see that you have a father who is fond of you and who loves you. You can also learn many good and beautiful things from me, something another cannot as easily offer you. What I have achieved through such a lot of strenuous work shall not only be there for strangers but especially for my own boys. These days I have completed one of the most beautiful works of my life, when you are bigger, I will tell you about it.

I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits, better even than school. Because those are things which fit a young person such as you very well. Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal. . . .

Be with Tete kissed by your

Papa.

Regards to Mama.

 

The Biology of Risk

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How to investigate hidden truths … ask ‘Cui bono?’

Deception is one of nature’s long-standing survival strategies. All of the unfolding darwinian extravaganza of life uses deception to survive — even at the level of microorganisms.

And, as any ten-year-old already knows, when it comes to human behaviour, things are rarely as they seem.

There are deceptions. There are hidden motives and hidden agendas. There are people ‘behind the scenes’. There are manipulators. There are scapegoats. There are turncoats. There are traps and ambushes. There are willing or paid agents. There are big investments and potential payoffs. There are opportunists and there are traitors.

Little wonder that situations are rarely how they seem. Rarely how they are portrayed. Nor are they what they seem to be on the surface. So what can you do? What can you use to find out what’s really happening in complex situations? What investigative tools can anyone use?

One ancient and clever tool is called cui bono.

The power of the cui bono is the most likely answer to the question: who benefits?

This is always a very useful question to ask. However, because of the very nature of deception there is not always a very obvious answer to that question.

Investigative journalism and criminal investigations may invest considerable resources in trying to construct comprehensive answers to the cui bono. They are trying to find out: who benefits most from the crime or situation that we are investigating?

The Cui Bono Test

When you are trying to uncover a much better understanding of the truth you can use the Cui Bono test. Whenever you find yourself looking to allocate suspicion or blame to agents involved in a situation ask yourself if they have passed the Cui Bono Test.

To apply the Cui Bono Test you carefully ask the questions: How did that agent benefit? Who else benefited? Who benefited more? Who benefited the most?

Is it true?
The most important question to ask is: Is it true? You can also use greyscale thinking to pursue the truth in any situation that arises.

—click through there for more on greyscale thinking