Wajahat Karim

@WajahatKarim3

Google Doesn’t Innovate? Then Who Does?

January 25th 2018
Picture Credits: Search Engine Land

First of all… Thank you for taking time to write such a master piece. Very nice article. These are completely my own opinions and I don’t intend to hurt you or anyone here.

Well, from what I understood, there are two major things in your article:

Google doesn’t innovate except Waymo, TensorFlow, Google Assistant etc.

I never have been to west and neither I have worked in Google. So, your opinions might be wrong or right as you were an insider. But, from a consumer point of view, I see Google is more innovative than Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook. After Steve Jobs, Apple hasn’t been really apple. They are stumbling and trying to get a hold on their crazy loyal customers. But, on other side, there’s always something which I read about Google almost every single day. From Google+( a failed experiment) to Hangout (a successful knockout to Skype) to YouTube (a successful acquisition) to quick responding to market needs through Android (a sort-of MVP after iPhone launch which apparently captured like 60–70 % market share), I see Google as not only competing to every possible company there, but a lot more innovative and aggressive with executions. The products I mentioned are barely anything, Google’s so big and I am sure there would be a lots of things going on inside. But, I can say this:

If Google’s not innovative, then why there are failures (Google+) in their pockets. Failures comes from experimenting. Failures comes from mistakes. Failures comes from not understanding what customers want. Failures comes from innovation.

Regarding your point of view, maybe you are right since you’ve been there. But, what I see is you have only saw Google from inside. So, you might not have understood what Google’s really on outside. Now, you are at Grab (I wish you best of luck), you might see Google in different perspective because now you are not in the makers/creators category anymore. Now, you are the consumer of their technology, their products, and their failures (innovative experiments).

This is a war. And you are betting on Grab to be your knight.

Well, I agree with you on this. I have a Pakistani. And have been in South East Asia (or as you wrote SEA) for whole of my life of 27 years. And I have witnessed everything here in front-line hot seat. When Uber was rocking in West and disrupting ride-hailing (or as they write it), I was following it all along. Many local alternatives were coming along including Careem (which is a unicorn now in middle east), I used to say that there’s tough spot for Uber here. Then problems in India led uber to be banned there, and people lost trust. But, yet again, I use Uber all the time having more local and better alternatives in the market. Why? Maybe I like their experience more. Or maybe I had bad experiences with others. Or maybe I didn’t bother to try them as I have been on Uber since start. Or maybe I am stupid. Or maybe I am crazy loyal (Apple-like) fan of Uber. But, you are absolutely right. This is a war. There’s competition. And since, this is an open market (SEA), there’s a lot of potential. From everything (payments, driverless cars and more) we see in West, which people take for granted, in SEA there’s nothing like it here. Everything should be developed, but more tough is that should be used by millions of people here. These are developing countries and the priorities here are little different than of west for the people. So, convincing them to give priority to their platform is surely a war. (I have worked on 2 startups and I have experienced it on first hand).

Ride-hailing or Food-hailing???

Let alone ride-hailing is hell competitive and tough here. Companies are lowering fares to capture the market, which is resulting in lower margins bringing less numbers and more loss in companies’ quarterly reports. And then come this food delivery. Food is already a lot competitive and sensitive in nature. If it was about delivering movie tickets (as here’s not so much online booking), It would be a whole lot another game. Food needs temperature adjustments. Food needs urgent deliveries (no excuses of traffic-stuck or strikes — whole another side effect of SEA). But, that is innovation.

Innovation is solving problems which we think can’t be solved in unimaginable ways.

I wish you a very good luck for your tenure at Grab. And if someday, Grab is launched here in Pakistan. I will happily try it. It’s good to see people in big companies like Google trying to do something for developing countries. Believe me, it truly feels great to have attention. Thank you again.

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