Notes on I'm Feeling Lucky
I recently finished listening to the book I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 by Douglas Edwards. It was quite a long, detailed story, but I particularly enjoyed that level of detail, as hearing the "inside story" was what I was actually interested in.
I learned about Google around 2001, when a friend showed me a search engine he claimed worked better (and faster) than Yahoo (that's when they were just showing the milliseconds to complete a query, which they still do to this day). When I got to college, I had friends who worked at the headquarters and even invited me there for meals (it was like going to Disneyland). It was really neat hearing the detailed account in this book from an insider and correlating that with my own personal experiences of the company and people I knew there.
The story was written by a journalist who was tired of working at large corporations and wanted to experience the start-up life. He became Google's Brand Manager and continuously struggled with his own identity in the company and what his role was. It was humbling to hear about the internal politics and constant debates that took place between the initial members of the company on issues all over the board, like product features, EULA language, April Fool's jokes, logos, and UI design and copy. I felt like I could relate to the author because I too have experienced these types of debates and have felt similar frustration to his in the past.
Overall, I learned a lot more about Google and the bumpy, windy road it took to where it is today. It's so easy to think they had everything figured out from the beginning; this book explains that there could be nothing further from the truth.
Below are my main notes and takeaways from each part.
Ch. 1: From whence you came
Ch. 11: Liftoff
Ch. 17: Two speakers and one voice
Ch. 26: S1 for the money
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