What I’m Reading: I’m Feeling Lucky

Last month, on the advice of many friends, I picked up I’m Feeling Lucky by Donald Edwards. It’s the story of “Employee 59” at Google, and an insider’s view of the early days of the company.

Written from the perspective of one of the early marketers at Google, it tells the story of the years between start-up, and household name. In terms of the book itself, it’s an easy read – some technical details, but I found those just added to the storyline (and added an extra layer of interest for those into those kind of thing, like I was). The struggles of the company as they grew and changed, the working between departments, and teams themselves – it’s good stuff with some good takeaways.

I don’t want to give away too much of the “story,” but here are my top 3 takeaways from the book:

“Don’t be evil” is not the same as “Don’t consider, test, and evaluate evil.”

This one is a big one for me. Values matter. Saying one thing and doing another, that’s just not my style. There’s a LOT of different ways to make money, and there’s a big list still of ways to make a ton of money, but that doesn’t mean that all the things on the list are the right thing to do. To me, long-term success and happiness lie in doing something I believe in, working with and for people and clients that believe in those same things. Doing right, and making the world a better place – yes, it sounds cheesy, but making my customers’ lives better (whether through software solutions, business advice, or whatever the future may hold), and going home every day being proud of what I do and how I do it – that’s what matters.

The importance of celebrating success and acknowledging a job well done.

This one is of particular importance to me, because it’s one of my core philosophies in business (and really, in life). Before you go too far, I’m not one of those “everyone gets a trophy” kind of people, but in terms of thanking and appreciating people when they go above and beyond – I’m all over that. I take good care of my team, and I really believe you have to do that as a leader and a manager. Plus, celebrating is fun! Having fun is an essential element to success, or else, what’s the point?

Knowing what you don’t want is just as important as what you do (or what you want to become).

If you don’t know where you want to go, you’re going to have a tough time getting there. A bit of folk-talk to start this one, but it’s true. Creating goals and finding your niche, knowing who your customers are (and who they’re not), are key ingredients to being successful – in business, and in life (one of my favourite things, I don’t think things necessarily apply to only one or the other. And, for me, they’re really the same thing :) ). Setting boundaries isn’t a bad thing. No one can be everything to everyone, and being able to do what you do better than anyone else – that’s the good stuff.

Definitely a recommended read, whether you’re a start-up fan or a Google groupie – check it out!


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