December 3, 2010
Why Grougle would be a huge mistake for Google
Ok, this is my personal blog, so I can say personal things. This is Martin Tobias speaking. Ok, I am also the CEO of Tippr with a dog in the Groupon/Livingsocial group buying fight, but this post is showing up here because it is more about my thoughts as a technologist.
I am a tech nerd. I know the difference between a bit and a byte. I know how to code (not well). I am passionate about product and technology. While with Microsoft in the early days (1989-1997), the place was full of similar tech nerds with bad hygiene and hyper focus. In recent years, Google has become the place for the smartest tech nerds to go. Google is fundamentally an engineering driven company like Microsoft was. Back in the early days of online services I remember Microsoft trying to get into the content business with MSN (to compete with AOl) and hired a lot of creative hollywood type people. The culture clash was crazy bad and I believe eventually that is what killed Microsoft as a content company. Engineers just don’t do content.
Now onto Groupon/Google. Groupon is run by a guy who’s last job was in a band. One of their most prized assets is the editorial voice of a talking cat. This is a consumer brand/entertainment company. This is not an engineering driven organization. The culture clash between Google and Groupon is going to be epic. If it happens I will enjoy watching the destruction from the sidelines.
As a Google fan and an ardent believer in the engineering driven culture (it is what we have at Tippr), I will be sad if the merger happens. It would be a giant mis-step for Google and it will fail.