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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Google’s Ultimate Demo System

Google’s director of research Peter Norvig was interviewed by Slate:

Google has been remarkably successful at creating popular products. How does the company create a culture that’s conducive to generating new ideas?

Well, we have great people, and that’s a huge part of it. But I think the main thing is just trying a lot of ideas. We’ve built the ultimate system for making demos internally. If a startup company has an idea, it’s like, “Well, I need a copy of the Web to make my idea work, I need a thousand computers, I gotta go raise money to do that.” So they spend months or years raising money and building infrastructure.

Whereas we have all of that. Somebody can learn how to use it in their first day and say, “OK, I have an idea, and these pieces are already here, and I can just connect them together and see if it works.” And if it doesn’t work today, next week I’ll have another idea. And I haven’t wasted months going down one path. It’s like playing with tinker toys or something. You plug ’em together, you try something, and if you think it’s good, you keep going. And if it isn’t, you put them down and start on something new.

[Thanks Jérôme!]


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