I just finished the chapter in Good to Great about the Hedgehog Concept: how great companies focus on a single concept that they can be the best in the world at and are passionate about. But today it seems like some companies, including Google, are trying to branch out into many different areas. Does that mean they cannot become “great” companies, a la Jim Collins?
The hedgehog concept can be fairly abstract. Abbott Laboratories became the best at “cost-effective health care,” although this included a variety of products, from diagnostics to hospital supplies. I know that Google’s mission is to “organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” but what do cars have to do with that? Is this an instance of making the world’s information useful? That seems like a stretch. And what about Gmail, for that matter?