Dear Google

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I do not give a cuy’s behind what you think my web site should look like. The whole freaking internet is starting to look “the same” because every web designer and their sister are scared that Google won’t show their pages in search results if they don’t follow Google’s design guidelines.

Rant over.

Could I still do a 5-year old’s homework without Google?

How times change.  A while back I wrote about flying to Mexico without GPS.  Not that long ago, GPS didn’t exist.  Now, I found other pilots along the way who could barely comprehend that I would even attempt flying that far without a GPS.

GPS and Google have a lot in common: we now rely on them without fail for simple tasks that not too long ago we used to do perfectly well on our own.

Like a 5 year old’s homework.

Mamacita linda came into my office yesterday: “Type this in Google!” It was Brianna’s homework. I started to type the text in Google but no answers came up. That made me happy on 2 fronts: I like that her teacher uses homework that isn’t swiped from Google and I like to believe that there are still answers in this world that aren’t found on Google. I have to admit, at first I couldn’t figure out the homework but after sleeping on it I now think I have the answer.

Here it is, can you figure out the answer?


Adivina adivinador
al inicio de ula ula
al final de Malú
en medio de día
a los costados en asa
y dos veces en estrella
a que no adivinas quienes somos

(adorna creativamente)

A 5 year old’s homework from Cusco. Let me know if you figure it out. I have an idea but until Monday I won’t know for sure 🙂

Google speaks Quechua

A lot can be said about the success of Google, how the company largely took over the lucrative internet search business from one-time internet darling Yahoo!, and many of Google’s other success stories are the stuff college case studies are made of.

Here in Peru I noticed one more reason why Google became so successful: Google speaks Quechua.

Quechua is a native Indian language spoken here in the Andes region, it is believed to date back well before the Incas’ time. Today Quechua is an official language in Peru, it is spoken by the native Indian, typically rural, population in both Peru and Bolivia.

Of course lots of websites are available in different languages, that in itself is not the point. But think about this quote from Umair Haque’s Smart Growth Manifesto:

“Outcomes, not income. Dumb growth is about incomes – are we richer today than we were yesterday? Smart growth is about people, and how much better or worse off they are – not merely how much junk an economy can churn out.”

The significance of Google’s Quechua site is that I can’t imagine Google sees any substantial revenue from it.

I don’t say this to put down the Quechua language, but simply because most of the native population who speak Quechua also speak Spanish, and they revert from one language to the other seamlessly, with Spanish typically spoken in the cities and used in business.

Cost/benefit is an entirely different concept from revenue/cost. Even though Google may not see much revenue from its Quechua site, thanks to Google lots of schoolkids in little towns all over Peru can read and search information in their native language.

I believe it’s well past time to stop managing companies like we did during the era of supply-side economics in the 20th century. In the 21st century, businesses will find opportunity when they do things because it’s the right thing to do, when the outcome is something you would be proud of.

Kids in rural Peru whose native language is Quechua learn Spanish in school.

Kids in rural Peru whose native language is Quechua learn Spanish in school.