How to Beat Google

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Beating Google means "doing something that not even Google could better in a reasonable time frame (a couple of months or maybe one or two years)"

Google is a large organization with a very talented workforce. Furthermore, Google has the resources to quickly get good in a number of fields, even if it has never dabbled in that field yet.

Suppose someone (or a small group of people like a startup) invents something or has a disruptive product idea that could make him/her a lot of money in a short space of time.

Suppose someone (or a small group of people like a startup) invents something or has a disruptive product idea that could make him/her a lot of money in a short space of time.

Even if we suppose nobody at Google had any inkling that such a breakthrough was about to happen (and they learn about this new idea only on the same day it gets published/launched), Google has the resources to

  • a) Buy up the startup or hire the inventor and pay them whatever they want;
  • b) Use its vast resources (brainpower, money and infrastructure) and build a better solution than was originally thought out.

So how can one beat Google at anything?

Well, I think there are a few things you could do to at least keep Google at bay for a reasonable amount of time:

Build a large userbase

This is not something anyone can reproduce in the short term, even with large amounts of money. It takes time to develop a userbase.

In short, network effects.

Leverage large amounts of resources yourself (think AWS)

You will never be able to outfinance Google or other players like that in the medium to long term but you may be able to support large amounts of users/operations for short periods of time, via AWS instances or similar solutions.

Choose a very, very narrow scope for your solution so that it won't be cost-effective for Google to launch an initiative in that direction.

If you are good at what you do and dedicate, say, 3 or 4 years to your problem domain nonstop (and, of course, assuming you have picked an important problem that people actually need (no underwater basket-weaving)), it's possible that you'll own something very valuable at the end of this period.

Even if you don't own your idea in the traditional sense (patents, etc.), you will still practically own it if you're the person in the world who knows the most about that.

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