Google clearly has a number of strengths, but its greatest may be the freedom to fail. Google shares are up more than 28% so far in 2013 and the company’s market capitalization recently topped $300 billion for the first time. Investors are bullish on Google’s prospects for the future and perhaps one of the reasons is that Google has shown time and time again that it is willing to take big risks in an effort to drive innovation.
In a recent article, The Wall Street Journal’s Steve Rosenbush hypothesized that Google’s greatest strength may be “the luxury of failure.” He describes Google’s strategy as a “reckless, up-for-anything approach” and notes that it seems to be working quite well since Google’s stock is worth 50% more now than it was a year ago and revenue has climbed 30% over that period of time.
“Phones equipped with the Android operating system are outselling the once-unassailable iPhone,” Rosenbush wrote. “Google is also building virtual reality glasses that are about to hit the market. Its drawing board includes emerging technology for autonomous cars, and who knows what else. Sure, it has had some misses—its Google + social network has its fans, but has yet to achieve truly significant market traction. Its inexpensive Chromebook laptops have limited appeal, too.”
Google has proven time and time again that it’s not afraid to fail. While some of its big gambles have crashed and burned, others have grown to become core businesses for the Internet giant. It is impossible to innovate without taking risks, and the fact that Google is more successful than most of its rivals is directly related to its willingness to take chances.