Have you heard about Google’s Kenyan scandal? A rogue branch of Google was scraping data off a local business’s website as part of an effort to sell competing product to its users.
Have you been frustrated by the lack of interoperability between Google products? For example, the GMail app on Android refuses to send an e-mail to the unsubscribe address for Google Groups mailing lists, claiming that it is invalid.
Ten years ago, Google was the cool kid on the blocks. It is now a monstrous machine with more then twenty thousand employees, a 172 billion dollar capital, over a million servers around the world that handle in excess of six percent of the global internet traffic.
In such a big structure, not only is it impossible to maintain all the initiatives in sync, tightly integrated and complementary in a consistent software offering, but it’s also inevitable to find competing projects aiming for the same market.
Back in July 2011, Google admitted what was obvious to everyone else: it has been distracted by too many potential opportunities. By closing Labs and many failed products, it effectively sent the message “Party’s over. You don’t have to go home, but you really shouldn’t stay here.”
But I don’t care about Google.
I’m not aware of any means to avoid growing old. In a similar fashion, everything grows around you. Some memories grow fonder, some more bitter. Software projects grow more complex, they are added features, workarounds.
Do you want to grow wider or do you want to grow deeper and higher?
Growing wider has never been as easy. It doesn’t require any focus, any kind of loyalty. You can keep collecting one-night stands. You can keep adding features to your product until you fill the needs of every potential customer out there.
Growing deeper is a work of dedication. Perhaps it’s watching the same movie a hundredth time and still discovering new details, subtleties in the dialogue, the scenery, that make it an even more enjoyable experience. Perhaps it’s dealing with the same customers every day, and finding ways to make them smile every time.
Growing higher is the hardest task. Cutting the ties that confine you too close to earth. It can be confused with smugness, but the sentiment is entirely other: your venom does not reach me, not because I am too good for you, but because your sympathy is no longer the fuel to my well-being.
Aspire for highness. To the small mind, overwhelmed by his lack of ability to concentrate, there is nothing more irritating than a peaceful person, with an undislodgeable smile.
Thinking about beauty, even abstract, is a much better coping mechanism than alcohol.
Much, much better.