It turns out that Wal-Mart, the world’s most profitable retailer, and Google, the virtual world’s most profitable search seller, have a lot more in common than you might think.
• Wal-Mart: Sam Walton (1918 – 1992), who personified “middle America.”
• Google: Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who personify geek America.
• Wal-Mart: “Always low prices!”
• Google: “Don’t be evil.”
• Wal-Mart: “Always low wages.”
• Google: “Maybe not evil, but after the IPO not so good either.”
• Wal-Mart: $202 billion (not bad for a company that peddles cheap goods imported from China).
• Google: $55 billion (not bad for a company that doesn’t actually make anything).
• Wal-Mart: Accounts for almost 9 percent of all retail sales in the United States.
• Google: Accounts for almost four out of five internet searches (which includes sites that license Google’s search technology), and 75 percent of all referrals to websites.
Secrets to success:
• Wal-Mart: Revolutionized the retail industry by offering a wider variety of products (at lower prices) than competitors in a clean, customer-friendly environment.
• Google: Revolutionized the search engine industry by offering faster, more useful searches (for free) than competitors on a clean, user-friendly website.
Key moment in company’s history:
• Wal-Mart: 1988, when it opened up its first Supercenter in Washington, Missouri, thereby giving new meaning to the term “one-stop shopping.”
• Google: 2000, when, following Yahoo’s lead, it began selling advertisements based on keywords, giving new emphasis to the term “relevancy.”