Ever had your eye caught on something circling a drain? The circle gets smaller until the object disappears down the rabbit hole.
One thing great cutting edge techno-geeks have in common, whether it is a dev from SoftBank, Matt Mullenweg or even Eric Schmidt. They are exceptional people, brilliant and able to, reasonably accurately, predict the future of a certain piece of technology, by just looking at it or even at the description of it.
The other thing they have in common is that they eventually become so close to their core that they cannot see the forest for the trees. Nobody will tell them either, those that can see knows that one does not scratch the balls of a hibernating grisly and those that cannot just don’t know.
Let’s take SoftBank (less personal), the company has great vision, but after a few years, the drain is being circled by many at the company. They have lost the ability to adjust trajectory mid flight and to recalculate in real time. This is a good thing, otherwise I guess they would be producing real cutting edge tech, like Google Labs, Google 2.0 etc. instead of just improving on what others have done. (SoftBank, for those that don’t know, develops technology, they also operate Yahoo in Japan and do many other things) ( It is so bad that SoftBank is talking about Google 2.0 without even understanding that they are 🙂 )
Google has (had?) the right idea. Freedom for staff to develop anything. Of course I am not saying that this does not mean that Google is circling the drain. Google makes mistakes and Google is not scared to make mistakes. Take Knol (and imho, plus, which big G may still force us all to use, but at what cost to themselves? Google Plus is Twitter on steroids, it is not Facebook, and it is not a functionality thing, it is much a brand thing).
Anyway, Knol, Google made a mistake with knol, Orkut and so many of the things they do, but they are not dominated by fear, they are developed by courage and loyalty. When the Chairman says that Facebook is a threat to net freedom, people listen, people look. Will Facebook become true evil incarnate?
While we are waiting for a partial verdict in the Google vs Oracle battle today sometime, think on the initial IPO of Facebook. Will Facebook top one hundred Billion dollars in value, or not? 5 Bucks on Google winning the fair use argument and 5 bucks on Facebook just making 100 Billion. Do I break even or make money? Time will tell.