I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59

I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59

Posted by jack_miller | Published 6 months ago

With 226 ratings

By: Douglas Edwards and Audible Studios

Purchased At: Or $10.00 to buy

Comparing Google to an ordinary business is like comparing a rocket to an Edsel. No academic analysis or bystander's account can capture it. Now Doug Edwards, Employee Number 59, offers the first inside view of Google, giving listeners a chance to fully experience the bizarre mix of camaraderie and competition at this phenomenal company.

Edwards, Google's first director of marketing and brand management, describes it as it happened. We see the first, pioneering steps of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the company's young, idiosyncratic partners; the evolution of the company's famously nonhierarchical structure (where every employee finds a problem to tackle or a feature to create and works independently); the development of brand identity; the races to develop and implement each new feature; and the many ideas that never came to pass. Above all, Edwards - a former journalist who knows how to write - captures the Google Experience, the rollercoaster ride of being part of a company creating itself in a whole new universe.

I'm Feeling Lucky captures for the first time the unique, self-invented, yet profoundly important culture of the world's most transformative corporation.

UPDATE: After giving this book another chance by suffering through the first few chapters of "Oh golly gosh" sentiment, I'm glad I did. The writing style of the initial chapters really irritated me to the point of abandoning this book with a two-star rating. But after sticking with it a little longer, I'm glad I did - this book is an incredibly fascinating and well-written look at how Google evolved through various phases of maturity, even while being haltered to the idefatigable egos of Larry and Sergey.

ORIGINAL REVIEW: If I have to read, one more time, about how this old guy thought Sergey Brin and Larry Page would look up to his erudite wisdom, I'm gonna lose my spit. I get it, the author was extremely proud about how valuable he thought his wisdom would be, and he was wrong. That said, I stopped reading the book fairly early because the writing style just really irritated me. I'm going to try to return to this book again later, and will update this review if I find anything of value. But until then, maybe you can Google for stories instead.

- layla_sanchez

This isn't just some factual account of events in Google's history. After all, Doug has been known as "the voice of Google" given his involvement in most of Google's user interactions and communications. Thus the book is written in that particular voice - a narrative that is able to address even the most technical concerns related while still making it approachable to the average user. After all, Doug is a marketing guy at heart and never claimed to be an engineer. Some have found the language to be too simplistic at times, but I found it vibrant and refreshing in tone and thus a pleasure to read even when discussing the more stressful situations Doug had to deal with.

Thus the book flows along two lines. On the one hand, it provides a striking inside look at Google's early history including milestone events such as their first search deal with AOL and the development of AdWords. But at the same time it's really just the tale of a marketing guy trying to redefine the job based on the technically-driven and data-obsessed engineers that were fundamental to growing Google to the company that it is today.

The book has certainly given me a lot to think about in terms of both my own marketing job and Google as a company. While Doug makes sure to tell all sides of the story and not just the warm and fuzzy stuff, he does seem to have a particular slant here - one last message as Google's voice that he has to deliver. If anything, this feels like Doug's last message to us users - an attempt to explain how Google operates at its core and thus presents a different view of the company given the big decisions it makes that get splashed all over the news. Google isn't quite the information monster and privacy villain that many present it to be. But it is moving solely to the beat of its own drum and its own concept of what they feel is in the best interests of the user.

At the same time, it's an amazing exploration of marketing and how the old concepts may not quite work in the increasingly product-aligned world that we live in. Branding goes beyond just thinking of the company as a whole but building images and ideas around individual product lines, especially in a tech world.

- leighton_brown

This a very good look at this technology in its early years. We get a inside view at the conflicts, successes , strategies , and competitive landscape that they had to confront. The pace of change is quite breathtaking and means everyone is working all the time. There is some effort to address this issue of being at work all the time with out meaningfull time off and how that affects the authors personal relationships. We are told that there is a price to pay for the all encompassing work schedule. This is the confession to wife, children and family that work comes first. Many careers are like that and it takes some major juggling to make it work for the author and his family.

I thought the comparsison and contrast of his previous employment in less stressfully environment was insightfully. Older established companies he had worked for we're not at the cutting edge of technology and were losing the race . They had grown complacent and falling further behind these juggernauts. But he did get two weeks paid vacation and holidays off to be with the family. We don't get a clear answer on where the balance comes in between work and play.

Gourmet food keeps the troops happy and many other perks makes the long hours more palitable. Giving employees time to work on there on projects is a stroke of genius. It gets workers to buy more into the bigger goals of the firm and there own projects as well.

This is a worthwhile read of the life and times of one of the original employees.

- bruno_adams

I was hoping for a little more insight on the company and wanted to be taken on the ride of start up to billion dollar company. The author is a good writer so the book does flow nicely, but lacks any real in depth stories about the company and how it grew. I could tell right away, and not surprisingly, the author was not able to get into fine details, nor does he know everything that went on in the company (he is 55, not 1-10).

I enjoyed the chapters toward the end "The Sell of a new Machine, "Don't Let Marketing Drive", and "Mistakes we Made". These chapters offered some good information that some will certainly find helpful as the author takes you through some of the thought processes and setting up some functions.

My favorite of the "Ten Things We've Found to be True":
1) Focus on the user and all else will follow.
2) It's best to do one thing really, really well.
3) There's always more information out there.
4) The need for information crosses all borders.
5) You don't need a suit to be serious.

Silicon Valley start ups are still an exciting and foreign word to many, so keep learning and exploring. This book does provide some good insight on working at one of the best on the web.

- braylon_reed

You would have to be very interested in the early days of Google, the search giant, to know who Douglas Edwards is. Apparently he looks just like Skinner from The X-Files, and he led the distinctly off centre and goofy Google version of PR and engaging with the wider world. His story runs up to when Google went public, so it goes from 1999 to 2005. Accordingly some of this is ancient history, but interesting nonetheless. As a non-techie Edwards does a more than decent job of explaining the issues and technology in language that anyone could understand. He is clearly not your typical PR person either, it is difficult to think of a worse title than the one that he chose for this book.

This is certainly not hugely critical of Google, or the people there, nor is it just a puff piece singing their praises. It is a very personal view of his life there, and it would seem that for those six years he had very little life at all outwith Google. It does not offer a huge insight into the people there, Edwards writes about himself a lot, but apart from working at Google there does not seem to be anything terribly remarkable about him. Perhaps his self effacing, gee shucks, approach was the early Google brand.

If you are interested in the early days of Google, then this is a first rate insider’s account, very well done for the Kindle, and written with a real attention for detail and affection for the subject.

- mae_turner

Why write a self-effacing book about your relatively ineffectually input into the Google phenomenon? About how your ideas were put down, laughed at and ignored while you had sleepless nights about just how rubbish your contribution was? Well, because you made one good decision. You bought your Google share options on offer at twenty cents each. Today, as I write, each of those options are worth five hundred and seventy dollars each. Let's say you bough $10,000 worth from the money you borrowed from your folks. Let google do the math. Meanwhile, go and write a book about the insanity of it all. It's not like you'll ever have to work again, is it!?
Still, it's hard to have sour grapes over a bloke who admits he lucked into it all and is happy just to record what it was like to be there. This is a nice easy read about the time and place that was the dot com boom, from one of the very few companies that survived it all to emerge with the spoils. Why Google, and why not Alta Vista, Hotbot, Yahoo and all the others? You won't find the answer here, except maybe in the title. After all, for every failed project Google have launched, and there must be hundreds, they lucked in with one. It's hard to see Google as being lucky, but this book helps you do it.

- finnegan_martinez

The booked flowed along, at the right pace.

The book ends with him leaving and in a away I felt like I was leaving Google with him. Sad not to be in the loop and out on my own.

Putting characters behind those names you see tagged at the end of Google Blog.

In away it really makes you want to work for Google but in another way could you take the stress of working such a company with the cumulative stress of everyone stressing back. The politics sucked as well for our man Dougie.

If Doug had been more into politics would he still be at Google after building his empire to give himself purpose.

I wonder how much he made, does anyone know?

- ariana_rogers

Interesting but the narrative is disrupted by the author using obscure words unnecessarily in order to appear smart. E.g. "...we had an obligation to bring out our near-dead imitatives and load them in the tumbrel."

So, "tumbrel" is a Middle English word for an open cart that tilted back and was used for taking prisoners to the guillotine. Is that really the best word to convey the point?

- mike_carter

The book gives an account of Google growth, politics and personalities in its early days. Little if any technical content. Describes the endless detail, personalities and petty politics around decision-making in Google from the perspective of a mid-level Comms/PR manager. Not a great read I'm afraid! And certainly not 'hilarious' as suggested by the front cover!

- ryleigh_stewart

Although ancient history - in IT terms - the years covered by this book are the formative period of one of the most successful, and omnipresent, companies of our time. The subjects covered include some good work, some surprisingly naive, but they are always interesting

- renata_stewart

Interesting insight into the meteoric rise of Google, really aimed at fellow geeks as much of the language is intelligible only to those in IT professionally. But still a racy account

- nehemiah_bailey

Brought this based on the reviews and was not disappointed. this book really gives you an insight of how google operated in the early days and how it went from a small start up in Silicon Valley into a fully fledged Public company. Don't Be Evil!

- maeve_reyes

Great behind the scene insights

- esmeralda_richardson

Great Item ★ Well Packaged ★ Super Fast Delivery ★ Would Buy From Again!! - A***

- olive_parker

I enjoyed this book and liked the insight it gave into Google although it's obviously a personal opinion by the author.

- musa_sanchez

Le récit d’un ancien employé de Google qui nous plonge dans le Google des tous débuts où la boîte n’était encore qu’une petite startup. Un bon livre qui se lit comme un roman où on y découvre les méthodes et aventures des débuts de Google et comment l’entreprise s’est développée à travers tous ses différents produits.

A vous de lire maintenant…

- santiago_castillo

LOVED this book. An easy read, stories that draw you in, and overall - something many in the startup world can relate to. Recommended!

- katie_rodriguez

great book , everything abt google nd by that i mean literally everything in nice way

- samara_white

Douglas Edwards, der erste Marketingchef von Google, berichtet hier über die Anfangszeit des Suchmaschinen-Startups 1999-2005.

Durch den jahrelangen direkten Kontakt zu den Gründern kann er hier authentische Insider-Informationen bringen. Er beschreibt die Charaktere von Larry Page und Sergej Brin und die turbulente Atmosphäre während der New Economy in Kalifornien. Heute kann man sich kaum vorstellen, dass Google mal ein Underdog war und Fachleute Suchmaschinen für tot erklärten, weil es ja schon Yahoo gebe. Die Anfangszeit von Google war also sehr mühsam. Auch die Technik war eine Herausforderung, denn die vielen Server waren teuer und schwierig unterzubringen. Die Zusammenarbeit mit Geheimdiensten wird auch erwähnt. Der Autor bemüht sich zwar, das als harmlos darzustellen, aber es wird deutlich, dass den Google-Gründern die Macht der verbundenen Information über viele Menschen völlig klar ist.

Der Autor bringt seinen persönlichen Beitrag zum Google-Image überzeugend rüber. Als Marketingprofi weiß er, dass sich reine Technik nicht verkaufen lässt. Wer heute die Außenwirkung von Google wahrnimmt, bekommt ein Stück von Douglas Edwards' Arbeit mit.

Ein spannendes Buch für diejenigen, die sich für Startups, technisches Marketing und die Firma Google interessieren.

- deacon_johnson

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