The problem with Google…

My first Internet connexion? 1993. At this time, no Chrome, no Firefox, no Google, and a VERY slow modem (my first was a 33.6 kbit/s, with its delicious Krooooiiiii noise at the beginning).

What we call the “Web” was a big mess, Netscape (the browser) was crashing every twelve seconds, and to try to find things, you had to use Lycos or AltaVista. Both were pretty inaccurate. One great source of informations was the Usenet Newsgroups.

Google appeared in 1998 with a simple and great idea, which I just found in the wiki page :

While conventional search engines ranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page, the two theorized about a better system that analyzed the relationships among websites. They called this new technology PageRank; it determined a website’s relevance by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages that linked back to the original site.

Well, therefore, everybody used Google, which is very easy to understand : if you wanted to find the best page about canoes in California BEFORE Google, good luck! Results were a total mess, and the one you needed was lost in dozens of other things…


But AltaVista and Lycos had this : the ability to LOSE you in the web, on little hiking paths. You were constantly discovering little diaries, unknown collectors, fascinating people gathering infos on many subjects, smart web pages… Almost all searches were adventures… because, precisely, or thanks, to the “no ranking”.

This leads to a well known dial :

 Tout gain s’accompagne d’une perte – Every gain involves loss


Today, with Google and Facebook, we all navigate on highways. Most of the time, if you want to navigate on unbeaten tracks, you have to jump out off Google and find links pages, forums or… newsgroups (who use them today?).


Or this great answer to this little question : “How to discover new websites?”


Thanks for reading!


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Reaching by Taking Off

Is it important to not believe?

The answer is probably yes for creatives.  If you invent something you have to, at some point, target the “I don’t believe it” factor. “You can’t do that” must be addressed.

We invent mainly by modifying. You add a characteristic or you make it smaller, or bigger.  Bending what you already have increases the strength of the item.  Maybe !


There is another way to invent something : Taking off.

Pick any human activity and play with that lever. Take off. The “less is more” tool.

Steve Jobs invented the iPhone when he decided to kill the physical keyboard.  This concept left a place for the screen and eventually the dropdown keyboard came to life.

Google had a great idea when they decided to take off everything from their page except the logo and the search tool.  No publicity or list of pages was there.  This was contrary to their Yahoo or Altavista competition at the time.

Peter Gabriel once asked his drummer to throw the high-hat. What?!! He replied, “I have a free hand now. What will I do with it?”. That was the point, exactly…

It can be useful to draw a picture of this activity or make a list of what’s already at play here. Then: CUT SOMETHING!

Take an umbrella.  Take the color off.  Now it’s transparent.  Kill the handle and you suddenly need to find a way to hold it (magic? levitation? fixing it to where?). And what if you take off the fabric, or the plastic, or the umbrella ribs?  Is it still an umbrella?

Now for a poem. What can you cut?

A few words – up to the reader to decide?
Structure – words wandering off the page – a calligram?
Support – no paper, so where is the poem now?

What else is there?


Maybe sometimes, instead of pushing all the levers to maximize the course, you can try to cut one small element off the machine and then watch what happens.  Maybe the whole system will move along faster, or maybe you’ll find an idea so great it becomes ground-breaking.