“Your work is terrible” may be a blessing in disguise

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This ads sucks

It was a Friday afternoon in early 2003, Google was still a young startup in Silicon Valley, Nokia was still a giant in Mobile industry and Yahoo was still the Internet portal. Larry was testing Google search engine with the term “H1B Kawasaki”.

And he was horrified.

If you were not fan of motorbike then the term referred to the Kawasaki H1B 1972

Kawasaki H1 Mach III 500cc.jpg
From: Wikipedia

But at the time, Google.com presented search results filled with lawyers and immigration ads for H1-B (a type of visa for foreign skilled workers in US).


Typically, there will be a number of product design meetings, followed up with engineering technical meetings, then with product quality testings and with release schedule.

It usually take weeks, if not months to fix this type of problem.

What did Larry do? |
He printed out the result page, then circle the ads and wrote :

“This ads sucks”.

Then he posted it to the pantry wall where Google engineers hang around.

A group of engineers saw it and decided to spend the weekend code up a prototype, which eventually evolved to be Google Adsense.

That is how Google Adsense was born. Now it is multi-billion dollar business.

From “How Google Works” – by Eric Schmidth & Jonathan Rosenberg


Blame work, not people

At times, we do need strong kicks by people you trust the most, to get better. A punch to the face? No. But candid constructive feedback, definitely Yes.

Also note that how Larry did not put any name, any team or individual – he simply pointed out the problem, and relied on the belief that his smart-creative Googlers will find the solution for it.

That’s the art of shouting & blaming and people still want to work with you.

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