A Warm Reception for “Reconsidering Relevance”

I am proud to report that the “Reconsidering Relevance” presentation has been enjoying  a warm reception:

  • SlideShare: made top (most viewed) presentation on the day it was posted (January 9th) and was featured today (January 21st) by the SlideShare editorial team. Viewed over 1,000 times.
  • Interviewed by Cloud of Data blogger Paul Miller about the presentation, and more generally about Endeca’s approach to enterprise search. Click  here to listen to the podcast.
  • Presentation re-posted on Oracle’s Enterprise 2.0 and Content Management blog.

I am grateful for the attention this presentation has received, and I hope that the attention helps further the HCIR vision that the presentation advocates. I also promise that the YouTube video is forthcoming. Google is very apologetic about the delay, but they assure me that the upload is in process.

By Daniel Tunkelang

High-Class Consultant.

3 replies on “A Warm Reception for “Reconsidering Relevance””

I listened to the podcast on the drive home from work yesterday. Great points – I quite enjoyed it.

On the question of whether Google will ever implement any of what you’ve been suggesting.. or anything even remotely HCIR-ish (interaction, dialogue, etc.).. I wonder if the issue is not so much about the computational complexity of the offering. Google specializes in hiring the type of smart computer scientists that love those sorts of basic, computery optimization challenges. I have no doubt they could do it, if they put their minds to it.

Rather, I wonder if the issue is more one of the Innovator’s Dilemma. They know there is something better that they can do. They know that there is something better that they should do. But they have such a conceptual lock-in, they’re so completely tied in between themselves and their customers, about this notion of a blank page and a single-line text box, and 10 results. I wonder if maybe they feel like changing that makes them no longer “Googly” — even though they know they can and should be doing something better.

It’s a classic case of the Innovator’s Dilemma, where there comes a point where you can no longer incrementally improve your current offering. You have to destroy what you have, in order to create what you’ll have next. And that can be a scary leap to take. Maybe Google doesn’t have the willpower for that kind of disruption?


Thanks, I am delighted to hear it! I realize that it’s asking a lot of people to listen to a 30-minute or more presentation online, though I forgot that the rest of the world drives to work. I need to stop being such a parochial New Yorker!

I agree that Google is not lacking the collective talent to do just about anything, and they are a textbook candidate for the Innovator’s Dilemma.

Still, I don’t write off their capacity for disruptive innovation. They may make 99% of their revenue from AdWords and AdSense, but they are exploring other directions that aren’t incremental improvements to their current ones, and they take at least some of those efforts quite seriously.

But I do have a hard time believing they’d risk cannibalizing their cash cow by promoting alternative approaches that compete with it. And, perhaps to avoid cognitive dissonance, they persuade themselves that those approaches are either undesirable or infeasible.

Hard to know. And remember, I gave the talk in New York. I don’t know how it would have played in Mountain View.


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