I have a love/hate relationship with Google.
Most of Google’s products and services are pretty fascinating.
Street view? Maybe it has been around long enough to lose its wow factor, but if you take a step back: how spectacular is that?
Gmail has a wonderfully clean interface and I’m a huge fan of labels & the navigation keyboard shortcuts are wired into my brain.
I made a big splash about Google+ when it came out last summer, and I still think it is structurally far better than Facebook (which admittedly means nothing if no one is using it).
I could go on; the point is simply that Google is capable of awe inspiring, jaw dropping stuff.
Yet, they fall short.
Apparently 90% is ‘Good Enough’
I love Google for the products that they build, but hate them because time and again they stop short of 100%. It seems that at some point someone always says, “Well, that’s good enough” and they move on to creating the next cool product.
Let me provide a few examples:
The other day I was thinking of taking my sister to the movies; conveniently Google was smart enough to show me the movie times (see the pic above). Google even gave me the address and phone number of the theater.
Naturally I wanted to double check in Google maps to make sure I knew where the theater was….but wait, why do I need to copy the address and paste it into a maps search? Google, please, turn that address into a link. You have maps, why not integrate them? Oh, and don’t forget that phone number you looked up for me might be a good link for Google Voice.
Here’s another one: have you ever tried to search your Gmail? Google’s biggest business is their search engine. They can magically scrape only blue clip art images from all across the web if you want, but somehow searching my inbox is difficult.
Try searching for an email from a friend, first search their actual email address, second search by typing in their name. You’ll find emails from that friend or with that friend cc’d in each search, but not necessarily the same ones. This is a sure headache when you’re looking for something specific. Whole companies have been born out of Google’s shortfalls in inbox search (e.g. Attachments.me).
While we’re on the subject of Gmail; have you ever tried to enter a bulleted list or a numbered list in Gmail? Formatting is a nightmare on its own, but god forbid if you’re in the middle of a thread and start to add formatting. Just don’t even try.
Okay one more: Google+ circles are great for people who like to organize the people they know. Actually, several people already do this in their contacts list. My Gmail contacts are organized by how I know them. One of the biggest complaints about Google+ when it first rolled out was the fact that those of us who have polished our contact books couldn’t transfer that organization over to circles. C’mon Google!
I can’t expect everything to be perfect, but with nearly 35,000 employees some of the holes in Google’s products should be considered embarrassing. Especially stuff like the lack of a maps link on the movie showtimes search result. Maybe Larry Page doesn’t go to the movies?
How Does This Apply To Me?
Okay, so you aren’t managing the Google machine, but surely you are producing something of value for someone. Whether you’re an accountant who build financial models or a McDonalds employee making burgers…you still have the choice to go 90% or 110%.
Maybe you’re a Social Entrepreneur trying to change the way the world handles a particular problem. Whoever you are, keep asking yourself, “what else?”. “What is missing?”
Your first draft might be ‘good enough’, but it is definitely not your best. Even your final draft is probably not your best. Keep improving.
110% is more of a state of mind than something that can actually be achieved.
Please, please, please go 110%.