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Web 2.0 Summit: Eric Schmidt

November 7, 2006

Some notes from the Eric Schmidt piece:

  • Google Video was doing well, YouTube was doing better. Something fundamentally changed last year where video became a prominent web format, so buying YouTube locked up that growth.
  • Has a pretty good idea on how to monetize “other kinds of traffic” (other than text ads). He’s referring here to copyrighted data in particular.
  • Worries about competition, particularly being a big target. Feels the best way to defend against this is to make it user-friendly and user-centric, as opposed to the typical large corporation defense of keeping everything proprietary.
  • As long as people feel like they can easily switch from Google, that keeps Google honest and keeps them focused on their customer. Does that sound like anyone else we know?
  • Stood up to the government request for index data for those very reasons. What user would want their data in the hands of someone else?
  • Is happy to stand up for what they feel is right, but as soon as a federal judge rules that they have to do something, they will. They realized they’re beholden to US law.
  • “It’s a mistake to bet against the Internet. Don’t bet against the Internet.”
  • “Fundamentally better to keep your money in a bank than in your pocket.” … compares that to software belonging in a datacenter.
  • Google’s not trying to position their stuff, like Writely, Calendar, GMail as an Office Suite. Instead, their focus is to enable casual sharing and casual communication.
  • “You could pay people to use their product.” (in answer to a comment that free is pretty compelling)
  • The engineer wins if there’s a difference between a sales guy and an engineer.
  • All of the really good stuff comes out of the 10% of time employees spend on things other than their core projects (70%) and adjacent projects (30%)
  • Google may appear chaotic, but it’s very strategic. Chaos is part of the creative process.
  • “People don’t work for money. They work for impact.”
  • Everything at Google is group-driven, no single decision makers. Been difficult dealing with partners because of this, but worked really well internally. Best decisions come from groups.
  • “They always win.” (referring to Larry & Sergey and disagreements)
  • “I’m the one with the experience who’s late. They’re the ones with the inexperience who’s early. That’s what makes it work so well.” They end up in the middle.

To be honest, I was surprised by how intelligent he came off (sorry Eric!). I’ve never met or interacted with him, but the blogosphere tends to poo-poo his impact on the company as just being a babysitter for Larry and Sergey. He knew what LAMP was (inluding the various meanings of the “P”), and made plenty of other comments that suggested he’s not just a figurehead at Google but is really involved with the vision and strategy. Refreshing and good to hear.

Categories: business, web 2.0
  1. bill
    November 7, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    Stood up to the Communists, I don’t think so.

  2. Joe Trekker
    November 28, 2006 at 9:37 am

    Eric’s geek factor is a lot higher than people suspect. Heck, he’s the original author of lex!

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