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Gmail: Founder Dilemmas

2021-06-30 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文

51Due教员组今天给各位留学生带来一篇纯原创代写商科范文,本文将探讨Buchheit在创建Gmail时所面临的各种困境,以及创业者如何避免这些困境。希望这篇可以帮助到各位留学生,同时需要代写也可以直接联系我们51Due客服vx(vx:Jenny_dynh)进行咨询。

Gmail: Founder Dilemmas

It is common when entrepreneurship faces with various types of dilemmas. There are numerous factors and interest groups involved in a startup project, product, or company. It is also quite common that not all of these factors are in harmony with each other. Therefore, it results in tough decisions to be made by the founder, to determine what is the best for the startup. As one of the representing services of Google, Gmail has become a trusted brand among users for many years. In the book by Jessica Livingston, an interview done with the creator of Gmail, Paul Buchheit. Although Buchheit was working as a Google employee, the circumstances of creating Gmail resembles a lot the process of establishing a startup project. This essay will explore the various dilemmas Buchheit faced in creating Gmail, and ways for entrepreneurs to avoid these dilemmas.

 

The solo-versus-team dilemma is the tough decision to make about whether to go solo or seek cofounders in start-ups. In the Gmail case, Buchheit was responsible for product development alone at first. He was able to project all his inspirations about this entirely new idea into the project. The reason for going solo is that Buchheit had little worries for resources and pressure for the project to succeed initially (Wasserman, 2012: 53). By controlling all the decision making by the founder, there was no worries of redundancy or inefficiency at first, since it was all organized by him alone. Working alone and having a fair degree of freedom at first, Buchheit was soon joined new programmers who had varying opinions on the final product (Livingston, 2007: 163). The addition of new team members took a long while of adjustment as well. In the development of a product, it is essential that all the new members obtain assistance and get into their roles as quickly as possible. It is also important to set up a central member, or members, who are in charge of the delegation of tasks in a team. This effective mitigates the chaos that may be brought by additional members.

 

Investor dilemmas are important to all start-ups since they involve value and risks. Although founders often carry inspiring ideas with them, they can become too obsessed with their ideas and over-optimistic (Wasserman, 2012: 186). This may introduce long-term issues with the investment. On the other hand, attitudes from decision makers and investors may swing at times. When opposition voices emerged against the ideas of Gmail, it was difficult for the team to defend themselves (Livingston, 2007: 166). People are always unsure about new things. Being afraid of risks could be the biggest obstacle for start-ups (Livingston, 2007: 163). Buchheit was worried that the project would be cancelled all the time because the idea of Gmail was very new and different from the major product of the company, which was the search engine (Livingston, 2007: 167). Luckily, Google has a company culture that encourages bold ideas. Even if the decision to introduce search into an email service, or the selection of JavaScript as the development tool seemed risky at first, these ideas were much better received once people got used to them. The important thing about risk taking is to treat failure as a normal thing. Meanwhile, a practical and thorough assessment would be necessary to minimize the risks for the investors.

 

A large part of role dilemmas lies in the decision–making approaches. There are two major ways to make decisions: egalitarian and hierarchical (Wasserman, 2012: 87). Each of these two approaches has advantages and disadvantages. Egalitarianism brings out the cohesion within a team and serves as an important means of employee motivation (Haleblian and Finkelstein, 1993: 859). In the fast-paced technology firms, the dominance CEO of managers can have adverse effects. Firm performance is negatively influenced by manager dominance by as much as 19%. In the case of Google and Gmail, the management level and Buchheit himself have enforced egalitarianism instead of a dominant leadership style. When Gmail had already become an established product and a successful brand, the addition of new features to an existing project can raise many concerns (Livingston, 2007: 170). People innately avoid things that are new and different. It was going to be more and more difficult to add major changes into a finished product, because the stability of the existing large data base is a major consideration. However, this pursuit for stability may also be hindering the potential opportunity for the product to improve. What the leaders of the project did was actually to stand firmly on their beliefs, while integrating the considerations from the team members as well. This is how Gmail turned out to be a successful product and an integration of innovation and popularity.

 

The wealth versus control dilemma occurred in the Gmail case as well. The desire for resources is what all entrepreneurs face in the initial phase of their start-up. However, the challenge of their resource dependence is that they have to make trade-offs in order to obtain more resources (Evans and Jovanovic, 1989: 824). Buchheit’s Gmail project was in desperate need of new people since there were new challenges emerging at all times and they needed more people to handle the problems (Livingston, 2007: 166). However, the addition of these people also brought him a diminished authority and partial loss of the overall control in the project. An effective way out of the dilemma is by aligning everyone’s interest. For Gmail, the motivation was straightforward: to build a product and satisfy the needs of the customers who did not have a reliable mail service. It was based on this goal that many decisions on Gmail were made, that did not prioritize making profit. For example, the team decided to provide one gigabyte of storage, while existing products provided megabytes at best (Livingston, 2007: 163). By diverting the attention from amassing resources to fulfilling the goal of creating the best email service, the wealth versus control dilemmas can be avoided.

 

It is the hope of all founders to see their business, services, and products to be accessible in the largest scale as possible. Then there emerges the dilemma between service quality and user base. For Gmail, the balance between keeping things operational and expanding the user base by inviting more users was hard to keep (Livingston, 2007: 167). In order to attract more investment, a product, especially in the information technology business, must have a fair number of users. However, it was difficult to expand to a larger number of user due to the limited resources they had. Introduction of new users can increase the influence of the product. However, with limited hardware resources it was difficult to maintain the service quality simultaneously. If the user review of the product is affected due to the reduction in quality, there are still losses for the start-up. What Buchheit and his team did was to be selective about the user group and always prioritize service quality over quantity. A directional approach has been used, targeting the university students specifically (Livingston, 2007: 167). This strategy worked well, and it applies to other start-ups facing the quality-quantity dilemmas, too. The directional approach increases the chance of success with the same quantity, while not impacting product quality.

 

An ethical dilemma also emerged as Buchheit talked about some search engines “selling search results.” Search engine controls a large number of sources and channels of information, and plays a decisive role in the control engine users' information acquisition. At the same time, it also plays a crucial role in the construction of social knowledge. The acquisition of information, the control of knowledge construction and dissemination, and the control of global information resources are all ethical dilemmas raised by search engines (Chiru, 2016: 162). Search engine companies that are oriented toward commercial interests have absolute control over the information displayed by information search results. When corporate interests are involved, they often take appropriate measures or measures to protect the rights of relevant interest groups. These actions may infringe the user’s right to information and privacy. Buchheit considered selling search results to be “questionable” (Livingston, 2007: 170). Although he was referring to the competitors and not Google itself, it was indeed an important ethical dilemma that Google faced. It was easy for the mode of profit-earning for a search engine to cross the line by mixing advertisements with search results and tricking its users. However, companies may lose public trust forever once such actions are exposed. Therefore, it is imperative that startup companies establish and enforce proper ethical standards from the very beginning.

 

This essay has covered dilemmas that deal with factors including personality and human resources, value and risks, management styles, resources and control, quantity versus quality, and ethics. It is important that the founders and managers of startups to have in mind the big picture and the long-term interest of the project as always, which will enable them to find the balance between conflicting factors and mitigate the potential resistance. Meanwhile, ethical integrity and persistence in the goals are also the key to successful startups.


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