I recently read When Genius Failed, so I found it interesting that Ed Sim compares the current hubris at Google to what was going on at Long Term Capital Management in 1998.
I was having lunch with a friend recently who was telling me about some
of his dealings with Google over the last year. As an ex-Wall Street
guy, it struck him that some of the meetings he had with Google were
like the ones he had at Long Term Capital years ago. Even when LTC was
about to crater, he remembers going to their offices, being sequestered
into an off-campus conference room, and not being able to get any
information out of them to even help bail them out. In addition,
people would show up and leave during the meeting, take notes, and not
even introduce themselves. Well, it turns out that his meetings with
Google over the last year were pretty similar.
There are other parallels-Google has an appetite for hiring PhDs. is
driven by an incredible proprietary algorithm, and is by far the best
web company on the street and performing like a rock star. Like LTC,
the bigger and bigger Google gets, the harder it will be for them to
drive significant percentage based growth. In addition, the culture,
since it is one driven by engineers, can also be driven by a NIH or not
invented here syndrome. Ultimately, since history always does repeat
itself, I hope that Google understands that self-confidence is
imperative but hubris and arrogance can kill.