Stop Learning And We’ll Fade Away


I just attended the Digital Guru 2020 Workshop by Google with several other colleagues last end-week and apart from the obvious technical knowledge takeaways, I picked up a few other realisations.

First, there’s a lot left to learn when it comes to Google’s marketing platforms, not to mention the entirety of Digital Marketing in a broader sense.

Second, out of the few presenters (from Google) that covered the topics for our certification at the end of the course, many of them were reading off slides and not providing much value.

And lastly, Google’s direction, or at least from what I gathered from the 1.5-day course, is favouring the big corporations and less of the solopreneurs or small businesses.

Before I continue, what other attendees feel about this course might be very different from my experience, so what I’m about to share is not representative of everyone’s opinion of the event.

That said, there’s a common thread that strings my three realisations together, and that’s about learning in general.

Stop learning and we’ll slowly fade away, whether or not it’s against our will.

A lot more to learn

If it’s not already a clich√© to say that the world is changing so fast that what we learn today might be obsolete next year, I’ll continue to beat the dead horse.

Because for anything related to Google, what we learn today might be obsolete next month when they decide to roll out a software or algorithm update.

What’s worse is that there are so many aspects to the Google ecosystem when it comes to just the marketing solutions it provides, to a point where one person wouldn’t be a domain expert in multiple areas.

Working in a medium-sized company (30-odd strong across a few countries) requires every single person to have some understanding about each department’s role in the business operations.

But at the scale of one of the world’s largest tech company, a department has several experts in a very specific domain.

The sheer complexity of the product they’re building and the number of people using that one product among thousands of other intertwined products in the entire ecosystem requires that amount of manpower.

It’s truly an eyeopener as to how Google as a company manages just their marketing platforms, which is likely the case for other parts of their business as well.

Of course, how Google runs its business will be very different from how a two-person company runs.

It just means there’s so much more for me and many others to learn, especially since I’m still quite early in my career.

Even Google has “cruisers”

That said, the imbalance in terms of capabilities and attitude in a company like Google is still apparent.

Various representatives of Google’s marketing solutions present throughout the virtual workshop, and the inconsistency in quality of delivery and value can be quite jarring.

A representative can blatantly read off slides or even a script while another makes a one-way presentation so engaging and even enriching.

I’m not one to judge those who are not good presenters, but reading off slides is insulting the audience’s intelligence.

But some of these presenters hold communication roles in Google and their inept presentation skills just leave a bad taste in my mouth.

The exceptional presenters, on the other hand, make the complex topic (programmatic ads) very digestable and simple to tackle, especially for people who are new to it.

I guess there’ll always be unfairness in the workplace – some people slog their guts out while others “cruise along” and that’s what progression is for.

Most tech eventually favour monopolies

Technology is always improving for the benefit of humans, making our lives easier and better.

The intention has and will always be for the masses but as can be seen with big tech, it eventually favours monopolies.

Hell, big tech in itself is a monopoly.

And Google is no different. With each event and workshop I attend from Google, it’s becoming clearer that smaller players will have to work very hard to play on a pseudo-level field with the big boys.

I can’t say for sure outside of the digital marketing realm, but it’s the case here now, and will be too in the future.

Money flows where there money is, I guess, that’s just the nature of capitalism, which no one company (even Google) can in any way “swim upstream against”.

A lot more learning to do

In this ever-changing landscape we’re in today and who knows how much it will change in the coming years, learning is a skill we all have to hone to perfection.

Regardless of which stage of life we’re in, if we stop learning, we’re just waiting to be spit out of the system.

Even in a company like Google, people who just “cruise along” in the career will eventually get nowhere.

I have to admit, realising how much more I have to learn in the Google ecosystem scared me a little, but also gave me motivation to work even harder.

About the author

Vance Wong

Brain-picker. Cinephile. Koreaboo.

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by Vance Wong


Vance Wong

Brain-picker. Cinephile. Koreaboo.