An intriguing Cringely snapshot; note that the financial incentive suggestion below is not far off from what LivingSocial recently offered ($10 for a $20 Amazon.com gift card), shortly after Amazon invested in LivingSocial
But the real killer for Eric Schmidt — the bonehead move that would have gotten him fired had I been on the board — was that $6 billion offer for GroupOn.
Here’s what Google could have done — should have done. First, take four top engineers and set them up like a startup in a rented apartment, denying them any access to the Googleplex. No free massages and definitely no unlimited Fruit Loops. Google has grown to the point where it is virtually impossible to get anything done. So just like IBM did with the PC, a GroupOn clone would have to be done as a completely separate renegade operation. Four engineers, two months, and GoogleOn would be ready to go.
Then simply pay every adult in America $10 to join.
That’s about 100 million members or $1 billion. See, I saved Google five billion dollars.