I recently read the book “I’m Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59” by Douglas Edwards and it was a fun book to read. There were also a lot lessons about growing a company, introducing products, and developing a brand.
This is a firsthand account of the early days at Google, from 1999 to 2005, by one of the first marketing employees of Google. You definitely get a glimpse of what life was like working for the founders of Google at a time when Google was just another Internet startup. Given Google’s size and success it is hard to remember when they didn’t exist or their existence was in question and they were threatened by AOL, Yahoo, and Inktomi.
One of the more fascinating themes throughout the book was on how Google developed their brand and their culture. “Don’t be evil” , defining something as Googley, and communicating (or not communicating) about privacy all had interesting histories. Masseurs, chefs, free lunch and dinner, and parties also contributed to the culture, a lot of these perks were focused on keeping people productive and at work in addition to being fun.
There is also plenty of information on how the products were developed and the stories of how they built and installed servers was interesting and entertaining.
This is not the whole story of Google, just the 1999 to 2005 period and although there is some discussion of mistakes Google made this is very much a positive view of Google.
Take some time and read this book, you’ll enjoy it and also gain some insights.