Alistair Barr, reporting for the Wall Street Journal, interviews Sridhar Ramaswamy, who leads Google’s advertising group:
“As phones get bigger the space issue becomes less challenging,” he said, pulling his Nexus 6 smartphone out to show its six-inch display. “This is essentially a tablet. People’s ability to navigate sites and fill out forms and such goes up tremendously.”
That makes sense.
On Google’s progress in mobile advertising:
WSJD: Did Google underestimate the impact of mobile on search and ad prices?
We recognized the power of mobile from very early on. I don’t think we haven’t taken mobile seriously. Android was an early bet on this. But for all companies, not just us, it’s one of these things where the pace of change is quite incredible, in spite of all the early investments that companies and people like (Google founders) Larry (Page) and Sergey (Brin) did.
I’m sure Google recognized the potential early on. It’s one of the best high-performance companies I’ve seen. (Meaning, it has great people, pursues great goals, and achieves many great outcomes.)
But here’s what I think when I see a big company under-respond to a big trend: it’s a big company. There likely isn’t a small, focused team with freedom of action to experiment and move fast. There probably *is* a bright, motivated set of people, but distributed across several teams, with several layers of management, trying to look outward, inward, propose, and respond (internally, via slides) to many requests, constraints, and status checks. That’s what big companies are: a revenue engine that supports many, with tons of talented people and potential directions, but a lot of complexity. Good work gets done, but more slowly. Risk is reduced, but some central opportunities go under-developed.
That said, a small team is no guarantee of success. It would take Google to count all the small companies and small teams that fail. But it helps… with speed – in orientation, decision, action, and repeating that as necessary. Combine the resources of Google with the dexterity of small teams, and the potential for achieving great things, including winning in the mobile advertising market, is high.