Mark Pincus on Google

Mark’s got some thoughtful comments on the Borg–oops, I meant Google:
“google base is a very msft mba approach to the world. while it makes business sense, it lacks soul. it does as little to help the community as bringing in a walmart. in fact, google feels a like walmart today. once the excitement over trying out their latest release wears off we are left with the realization that they are going to ultimately put the corner grocer (being craigslist) out of business, and suck value out of an economy not add back. and while it’s a beautiful day here in san francisco, it’s a sad one for me to see a company with so much promise to help the world, primarily focus on helping itself.”
There’s lots of good talk in the comments as well–

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  1. Howard Owens says:

    While I’m aften spouting “Google is the Enemy,” Mark’s analogy is far from perfect, primarily for this fault: Wal-Mart is one of the best things that ever happened to the U.S. economy. Wal-Mart maybe the single biggest pressure against inflation, and has generated a tremendous number of jobs by keeping prices down, generating massive sales, and circulating cash flow. Basic Economics 101.
    Of course, I’m not sure Google is going to be as good for the economy, but I could see that possibility emerging. It just may be that today’s economic leaders may not be the ones benefiting and there could be a painful transition to a new Google-dominated economy, if such a thing is possible.
    But the other aspect of free markets is that for every push in one direction, there is a pull in another. Google will create as many opportunities as it kills, maybe more, and the weight of its own success will create its own kind of drag. Open markets are wondfully self-correcting ecosystems.

  2. Randy says:

    “Suck value out of the economy?” Wal-Mart? Are you joking? If the competitors that Wal-Mart beats truly represented value in the economy, they wouldn’t go under, they would thrive. This should be obvious.
    But the point isn’t to argue about Wal-Mart, it’s the very cogent warnings Mark makes about Google and whether it would or should be a Wal-Mart type of presence in new media. As an interested amateur/outsider, it seems to me that there is good in the essential disorganization of the Internet, and where it is bad, it is where it represents economic waste – i.e., dot-com zillions down the drain, a different alleged supply-chain “solution” for every commercial sector, virtually every dollar spent on Internet advertising up to around 2002…Anyway, it’s the large and more efficient companies, the Wal-Marts, Googles, Yahoos, eBays, etc., who help squeeze out the waste and who help define the competitive ground. Would it be amiss to say that you want an “almost Wal-Mart”?

  3. mark pincus says:

    chiming in…it’s easy for us all to say walmart is good because it drives efficiencies. course, if you look at the rules they’re playing by, you start to question whether they are using unfair trade practices that are not available to their comp in order to create artificially low ‘everyday pricing’.
    is it fair that they cost the US $3 billion for the welfare paid to their employees? is it fair that they regularly get tax subsidies from cities? is it fair that they use labor in china subjected to standards we dont allow for US workers? these are tough questions but they ought to be asked. and what happens to those low prices once the competition is gone?
    also helping the economy? is that why every little town they move into ends up looking like a ghost town? are they really helping the local economy by taking their high wage jobs and turning them into welfare recipients?
    now google is a WAY better company with a moral compass and stated desire to help the world. however, we have to look for some analogies. they regularly charge 50%+ fees to publishers for providing ads meaning they own HALF of every publishing business on the web. what’s to keep them in check when they have a monopoly on all classifies (a very fragmented business) too?

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