Google’s Success Story Partially Due to Long-Term Focus

Driven by the expectation that they meet analysts’ quarterly forecasts for stock performance, many U.S. companies have focused so much on the short term that they neglect opportunities to develop products and services to meet future demands. Not so Google, according to a recent AP story.

As the manager of Discern Analytics observes, “Everywhere you look in this country, it seems that we are suffering from the consequences of too much short-term thinking.” Silicon Valley’s Paul Saffo continues, “Google doesn’t have this disease. It is one of the few lone bright spots…in that regard.”

While some of Google’s decisions are puzzling, the wise strategy behind them becomes apparent in time. Google offered free e-mail with lots of capacity in 2004, which seemed odd at the time, and then followed that move with acquisition of a digital mapping service, which eventually made Google the “go-to” place for driving directions. More recently, the company created the free mobile-operation system, Android, that now powers millions of phones.

Kudos to Google’s leadership team, whose commitment to transparency means that they announce their moves even though they know the world is unlikely to understand and appreciate their decisions initially. It seems other companies would do well to follow the sometimes puzzling example of visionary leadership that Google clearly exemplifies.

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