How Google should build Groupon Competitor

I, Cringley has some advice on how Google could have come up with Groupon Competitor (which they seem to have now with Google Offers). It’s always fun reading I, Cringley.

Bring me the head of Eric Schmidt!

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.

Buying companies yields far more instant advantage than building them, I know. In Groupon’s case Google would get effectively irrelevant, copyable technology along with their entire user base. But $6 billion? Really?

My plan is way better.