The Google Question

In the past couple of months I have been asked to speak at a number of events around LA.  I’m quite flattered to be asked and have noticed some themes in the questions.

One theme or question that almost always comes up as a topic is “What about Google Wallet?” or more generically “What if Google wants to get in your business?”

At this point, given all of the things Google is involved in, anyone starting a business could probably be asked this question, not just a payments business. After all, Google is making cars, shipping physical products, selling advertising, payments, office software, glasses, phones, computers, tablets, and search.  (Search being the source of most of the revenue.)

The real story of Google is not one of grounds-up innovation, though, it is one of executing well on existing concepts, often with the help of acquisitions.

Let’s look at some (incomplete) examples:

  • Web search - didn’t invent, made better (in house, as original product)

  • Sponsored search - copied from Overture, bought Applied Semantics around AdWords/AdSense

  • Maps - not the first, acquired Where 2 Technologies

  • Word processing, etc - copied Microsoft and others, bought writely and etherpad, among others

  • Mobile phones - didn’t invent, bought Android, Motorola

  • Wallet - not sure if it’s working, but bought TxVia

  • Voice - bought GrandCentral

The list goes on.

Does Google worry me? No. If they like what Wallaby is doing so much, maybe they’ll just try to buy us. If they copy us, I’ll know we’re on the right path and I’ll trust in my team of 10 to out-execute their team of thousands.  That’s a bet I will take any day of the week.