When Google Chrome was first launched in 2008, Firefox and Internet Explorer users had a good laugh looking at the new browser since it had no extensions, no theme support, nothing that competitors provided to users. But, slowly, people started turning to Google Chrome, and they liked it instantly. It was the fastest of all, pages loaded immediately, and people believed it could evolve into something big (the minimalist design helped there).
Presently, Google Chrome stands at the top in browsers market with 60.98% market share against IE and Firefox who hold 12% and 11% share, respectively.
But Google Chrome wouldn’t have made this far if Larry Page hadn’t provoked Sundar Pichai, the then-vice president of products management, into setting a highly ambitious target for Chrome monthly active users.
In 2008, current Google CEO Sundar Pichai was overseeing the launch of Google Chrome and set a target of 20 million weekly users in one year. John Doerr, who backed Google, in his book “Measure What Matters,” recalls, “I thought there was no way we would get there.”
But Pichai faith in the product proved John Doerr that “stretch” key metrics work; pushing the products team to its limits to reach the primary goal. And the odds went into the favor of Sundar Pichai, people who used Chrome loved it.
But soon Doerr felt like Pichai was going for somewhat unrealistic goals. The product team had already missed the second milestone of 50 million by about 12 million. When Pichai set the next year’s goal at 100 million with safeguards placed on advertising, faster code, and distribution deals, Larry Page stepped in and said it wasn’t enough.
“My target, he pointed out, touched only 10% of the world’s one billion internet users at the time,” said Pichai. “I countered that 100 million was in fact aggressive.”
Larry Page, then President of Products management, was famous for pushing employees to their extreme limits. “Always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting” and “have a healthy disregard for the impossible” are some of his sayings according to various experts and account of his colleagues. He pushed this thinking into Pichai, and both agreed on a target of 111 million.
And under the great goal setting process of Google, now followed by various other companies, the company managed to reach 111 million mark by Q4 of 2010.