It’s really hard to change your DNA

*editor’s note: we’re back on WordPress. The Tumblr experiment will live on but more to share content and for random things*

When I was at Yahoo! There were two distinct times when I realised that the company wasn’t going to understand social media. The first was when a senior exec came to Europe and pitched the company on a new social product, creatively named Yahoo! Social. I was pretty vocal that the company hadn’t learnt any lessons from previous failures and this product was the definition of insanity. A year or so later that exec left. Yahoo! has gotten better at social but it will never truly be a social company.

So I’m not surprised by the recent news that Vic Gundotra is leaving Google. Google gets search. They get helping people find what they’re looking for. They get indexing the world’s information. They don’t really get people. They don’t really get relationships. At least not like Twitter, Tumblr, Linkedin and Facebook get people. Personally, I’m not convinced they ever will.

I believe this is related to a company’s DNA. Google started with a very different mission to Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook and it shows when they try to do things on a social level. It shows when Yahoo! tries to do it, when Microsoft tries to do it. Personally, I think the best way for companies to enter in this space is acquire a company that truly gets social. Which is why I liked Amazon buying GoodReads, or when Yahoo! bought Tumblr. It adds to the DNA. I think when Google acquired Android it helped change the company, they should have done the same when it came to social.