An Insight a Day

The Google Technique

An interesting passage from Skip the Line by James Altucher:

When I started my first job, everyone warned me, “Bruce will steal credit for everything you do. Be careful.” My friends were being kind to me. Credit, they thought, was something you hold on to like a precious gift and don’t let anyone take from you.

But I wanted my boss to have credit. In part because the better he looked, the more likely I was to keep my job. I was terrified of being fired.

I gave Bruce credit for everything I did. I would tell everyone: This was Bruce’s idea. Or Bruce let me do this. Or thank God I have a boss like Bruce. Bruce got promoted. And promoted and promoted. And he let me do more and more of what I wanted to do without saying anything. Because it always made him look good.

So eventually I started a company on the side. And then I hired my own company to do some of the work I was assigned to do.

Nobody cared. Because now I was enormously productive. And my boss got all the credit. And his boss. And his boss.

And then I quit. And then I went to my company full time.

Now what?

I made my clients look good.

Their job was to make great websites for their companies. I would make great websites for their companies. In meetings I would give them full credit for coming up with design ideas, functionality, business models, etc.

They looked good. They got promoted. They got hired at other companies. Who would they then hire to do their work? My company.

One time some of my employees wanted to quit to start their own company and even take some of our clients. My partners were furious! I said, “No problem.” And I gave them advice. I made them look good. When I needed help twenty years later with something critical, they were the first to help me out. Not my old partners, but the employees who “betrayed” us. Be the credit card: give everyone the credit they deserve. Then they keep coming back to the source.

Careers are a marathon, not a sprint.

So what does this technique have to do with Google? Well, Google doesn’t know anything about motorcycles. But if I go to Google and I ask, “Can you please tell me all about motorcycles?” it’ll say, “Listen, we don’t know anything about motorcycles, but we’ve done a lot of research and here are the ten best websites where you can learn about motorcycles.”

It’ll also say, “And by the way, these three websites over here might be good, but just so you know, they are paying us.”

Google makes the best motorcycle sites look good. Google measures its success by how quickly its users leave And now when I need to learn about the “best phones,” what site do I go to? Not a phone site. I go to Google.

Some websites spend years trying to do SEO (search engine optimization) so they always appear near the top of Google’s rankings. But Google is aware of this and is constantly changing and improving its algorithm so that it consistently ranks the highest quality websites near the top.

People always go back to the source. I realized when I was always making people look good, I was the source. They would come back to me. Whenever I needed a new job or a career, whenever I needed a favor, whenever I was in despair and thought I was lost, whenever I needed a hand to pick me up and get off the floor, I always found help from the people who at some point or other I made look good.

Every day find someone to help. Find someone to give credit to. Find someone for whom you can selflessly figure out how to make their lives easier. Need no credit ever and everyone will give you credit forever.

Skip the Line

I find myself reading and rereading this entire passage on the Google technique and just had to share it. It's a great idea and very well-written, indeed!