Google is known for delivering the best search results. It can be argued that they’re even better at identifying talent than search. No, they aren’t American Idol. But they are surprisingly similar. Both businesses have become too good at finding top talent.
For our purposes the introspective genius with glasses is the same as the enchanting performer with vocal chords of gold. They are a performineer with high hopes and abilities. They both dream of hitting it big. Similarly, the company that created a new verb for search and birthed two of America’s wealthiest young entrepreneurs is the same as the TV show made famous by Simon Cowell. They are Amerigooglecan Idol and if you get asked back for a second or third interview you’re pretty excited. If you beat out your competitors you’ve become a legend. Amerigooglecan Idol is a launching pad for many of our world’s top stars.
But there’s a problem. American Idol wants to be a launching pad, strictly a talent-finding business. They make their money by showing the process of identifying talent. Google, however, makes their money by retaining that talent. But they’ve been having trouble doing just that. And it makes sense. Talent, almost by definition, wants to soar, run free and blaze trails. Google understands that, and has made a good effort to encourage that, but it hasn’t worked as well as they would like.
I think the reason is this: if you get offered a job with Google you’re being told how exceptional you are by one of the world’s best talent identifiers. While you may accept the job and work for a few years, deep down your belief in yourself has been confirmed and eventually you’ll want to pursue the passion or idea you have inside you.
If Google offered you a job today, would you take it with the expectation of staying there for twenty years? I know I wouldn’t. When Google tells you they believe in you, who are you to argue?