Google, which earned the top spot in this year's Fast 50 , is like no other company I’ve visited in ten years at Fast Company, and I’ve explored the inner workings of some of the most creative organizations  out there--from Dell  to Disney , eBay  to IBM , Motorola  to the Mayo Clinic .
You don't hear complaints about bureaucratic obstacles, although Google  now boasts more than 16,000 employees worldwide. You don’t hear about bottom-line pressure on new products. You hear about autonomy. You hear about speed. You hear about feedback from "Larry and Sergey and Eric" – co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt.
It's easy to see why Google attracts top engineers from Microsoft and Yahoo as well as independent-minded entrepreneurs. In many ways, Google still behaves like a start-up, although everybody knows that's impossible for a big company--isn't it? The Googleplex  oozes creativity, fearlessness, and fun. The lingo (Nooglers, Googlers , Googly and so on) and culture are easy for outsiders to mock, but they're indicative of the closely-knit community that Google nurtures and protects with the utmost care.
That community might be put to the test soon. According to a new comScore report , U.S. Web users clicked on slightly fewer search ads in January than they did a year ago. Those clicks are the big moneymaker for Google. Is this a crack in the armor, perhaps? Nothing more than a post-holiday aberration? We'll see. Googlers think they have the answer for any significant slowdown--enough cash in the bank and the right culture. "We're strong believers that as long as we keep innovating, we won't have a lull," says Andy Rubin , the brains behind Android, Google's phone platform. "It's all about planting seeds."