The Search SIG event tonight was very good. In the first segment Dan Farber interviewed John Battelle on his new book, The Search. I’ve read the book and so a lot of what was said wasn’t new, but John did mention one thing that I had missed – he suggested reading all of the footnotes because there are interesting stories included that weren’t appropriate for the main text but that he wanted to publish. The example he gave was a series of negotiations with Sergey Brin over whether or not Sergey would be allowed to read and edit the book before printing.
I asked John a question that has been bothering me for some time. Google’s business is built on the back of its advertising revenue. Without it, everything else would fail. I also see a large number of companies that I profile on TechCrunch relying either directly or indirectly on Google adwords revenue. Given how cyclical the advertising market is, I asked John what he thougth would happen in the next downturn.
His answer was fairly insightful. He thinks (online) advertising has fundamentally changed since the last downturn as it has moved from a cpm to cpc model, and that a downturn won’t have the same impact as it might have had previously. Ok, I buy that to an extent. And he followed up with something more interesting – saying, in effect, that the ability of companies today to operate on much smaller budgets (easier dev platforms, less people, etc.) will help them weather cyclical storms.
I hope so. Otherwise I’ll have to start a new blog called DeadCrunch.