I'm at the "35th Anniversary of the Internet" event in Los Angeles, and Google
CEO Eric Schmidt is speaking with UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock. Here is a partial, rough transcript of Mr. Schmidt's remarks.
We allocate about 70% of our resources to our core business and 30% to "other" because we never know what that other will become. We also ask our employees to spend 20% of their time on exploration, and those tend to be complementary to our core.
Our agenda tends to be driven by a bottoms-up process not so much traditional strategic planning. Google is trying to solve the next problem not the last problem.
[ Question: Was it serendipity that made google what it became? ] I think the word is luck. The principles from which Google was built do exist in other indstries. Ours is a reproducable model, and others may end up reproducing it and solving other problems. We're just seeing the beginning of this.
Good management is not that complicated, it's about leadership. Some managers need to micromanage everything, but that doesn't produce creativity. If you can figure out a way to tell a story, that's how people learn. they have a beginning middle and an end. if you have the right kind of people and the right kind of values, that can work. The great thing about high tech is that labor is very mobile, and if you want to deal with other people, you are forced to deal with them as peers and equals.
There are many uses of the net that are not touched by Google. Peer to peer, and the majority of email traffic. It's very important that people work on internet monitoring, internet scaling, all of the next generation projects -- I don't think any single one is of dominant importance.
We're in a real time world where people who need to collaborate can do so instantly. That has a downside because evil people can collaborate quickly, as well as the good guys, but the overwhelming effect is very positive.
Software businesses, intellectual property businesses have good cashflow if they're run right. A friend who went to business school once told me the only rule you need to know is DNROOC. Do not run out of cash. For us the decision to go public was viewed as a neccesary thing but not something we needed for our operations. People were surprised about the fact that the decision to go public was such a last minute thing, which it was -- we made the decision hours before we filed. We then went through the whole process which was of course widely covered and entertaining in lots of ways. At the end of it, we flew back to our offices and went back to work. Following Monday we had a one hour biefing about what we felt we did right or wrong. We had one of the executives announce the "end of the IPO," and we haven't talked about it since.
The company is about end users changing the world, the good and bad things they're doing out there. It's not about the IPO.
Information on the internet has a very long tail (Ed. Note: referring to Chris Anderson's recent article in Wired.)There are very few things that the entire world is interested in at the same time. The vast majority of people out there are very much engaged in their own daily lives, in a local context very different than yours or mine.
The other thing to remember is that the average person does not want to debug their computer. We prefer instead the idea of a person typing something in and Google -- or someone else -- figuring things out for you. But very few things are organized around that principle of simplicity; we love and appreciate the complexity in technology but people using the internet really don't want that. When you see an ease of use breakthrough, it's such a wonderful thing.
to "35th Anniversary of the Internet" event site.