9 - Atmosphere: Fireside Chat with Eric Schmidt

Uploaded by eventsatgoogle on 13.04.2010

>> The lads gave me this wonderful biography of Dr. Eric Schmidt, and I could read it to
you, but instead I could just ask him to come up onstage and we'll talk a little bit. And
then you can ask him some questions yourself. [pause]
>> Eric Schmidt: Thanks, everybody. [pause] Thank you. Thank you all.
>> Okay. Now, I wanted to just spend a minute or two on how we got here because, you know,
I wrote about apps, and as part of that, I looked deeply in your biography. Online, you
can find memos you wrote at Cal, yeah. Digitize everything and pay the rest of your life.
I can find memos you wrote when you were studying networking in college, and you're talking
about the need for people to contribute equally. >> Eric Schmidt: Power of the web.
>> Yeah, embarrassing as it may be. But then, you know, Sun Microsystems, obviously Google
is maybe the first major company that grew up assuming the web. It was a given. Others
were pioneers in it, but it was given for them. Spend a minute on how apps came to be
an important part of the company. >> Eric Schmidt: Well, I think, you know,
one of the things-- first place, I'm really glad that you all have spent your day here,
and I hope this has been well worth your time. We really appreciate it. Everybody here's
really, really busy. [pause] If you go back and you look in history, the problems that
we all face today are the same problems we had 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago.
But the technology solutions are quite different and the industrial structure's quite different.
But if you go back, you can see that the themes which had to do with mainframe computing,
time-sharing, portable computing, the notion of mobility, the notion of moving data around,
have been present for a long, long time. And I think as you get older, you sort of appreciate
the value of history 'cause you experience a little bit of it. Maybe that's now my view.
But for example, much of the network computing discussion that was done now was really announced
by Larry Ellison and others with the network computer in 1997. And they didn't work at
all. >> Yeah, that didn't work.
>> Eric Schmidt: It didn't work all, but that doesn't mean the argument wasn't right. It's
just, the part didn't work, right? It was sort of embarrassing for those of us that participated in it. And so
one of the questions that you want to ask is, what has changed? And the thing that has
changed is this enormous march of technology, the Moore's Law, all the things that you all
know, have made it possible now to do things that we only dreamed of a few years ago.
>> Mm-hmm. >> Eric Schmidt: If I go back to "write once,
run anywhere," the solution was something people needed. In fact, most people used non-Java
solutions, but they achieve "write once, run anywhere" because of things like the way the
web applications, which are JavaScript, are implemented or based. So that's ultimately
I think where it comes from. For example, Sun, when I joined in 1983, had a diskless
computer. >> Mm-hmm.
>> Eric Schmidt: Well, Google has announced a diskless computer for shipment later this
year. And I explained to people that this--we announced this when you all were born.
>> Right. >> Eric Schmidt: I mean, you get credit for
this. >> It's gonna work this time, right?
>> Eric Schmidt: It worked then. Dell built a great company. And of course it was a one
MIPS computer as opposed to a one gigahertz computer. But it was a fine computer at the
time. >> Mm-hmm. Now, you've built these internally
and used them internally and liked them. But why take them out in the world in the sense
of, why take your eye off the ball from search? That's a really nice business to be in. You're
making a ton of money. Why allocate all these resources towards that?
>> Eric Schmidt: Well, partly be Google is--people think of Google as a search company. Google
is an information company. >> that's the $20 billion you make from it.
>> Eric Schmidt: But we don't run the company for that reason. We run the company around
information. And all of those wonderful people that are trapped behind corporate firewalls
are not some subclass, right? They have important and specialized needs that we need to serve,
and we need to serve them very, very well. But what's interesting about these web apps
is that you can do these sharing solutions now that are really substantially different
applications when used. And if there's anything we all can speak about a company, it's that
companies are about sharing. So one of the sort of new things in the last five years
about the web has been that it enables sharing-sensitive apps. Classic example is calendars. Now, I
think of calendars as incredibly boring, right? But I'm wrong. Calendar's are incredibly interesting
because they're highly shared. So from a computer science perspective, all of a sudden we have
our top engineers who want to build calendars of all things. I'm going, like, what's wrong
with you guys? >> Mm-hmm.
>> Eric Schmidt: But in fact, it's a very interesting example. Spreadsheets are similar.
The most interesting spreadsheets are highly, highly interlinked, something I didn't know
and was not possible with the previous technology, Microsoft technology. It just made it very
difficult because they weren't built on their model.
>> And it's interesting to that end that even in search, you were leveraging collaboration.
>> Eric Schmidt: Yeah. >> You were leveraging the way people linked
to other sites and observing it in a new way. >> Eric Schmidt: The key insight I think in
all this architecture is that you're gonna have open data exchange interfaces. We have
something called GData. And you can--and applications are no longer these monolithic applications.
Corporations, non-corp--you know, individuals and so forth, are all basically building applications
out of the equivalent of scripts. And it's much, much more cost effective than trying
to build these large IT applications, which, as we all know, end up showing up a couple
years later and much more expensively. >> Yeah, but the nice thing about those large
IT applications was, it did create a kind of certainty for the vendor, consumer, and
the organization. >> Eric Schmidt: It's the idea of being late,
expensive, complex, and inflexible, or did I miss something?
>> Certainty that the other guy had the same problems you did.
>> Eric Schmidt: They were a great source of revenue when I was running that business.
I loved it. >> How things have changed.
>> Eric Schmidt: That's right. >> But nonetheless, now there's a kind of
uncertain world because we are transiting to a model Janine was talking about, we've
been talking about all day in various ways, involving scale of collaboration.
>> Eric Schmidt: But I'm assuming people are here probably because you want to sort of
figure out what that new model looks like. >> Yeah, and how to live with it.
>> Eric Schmidt: That's sort of a joint problem that we all face.
>> But do you think there is a kind of search for certainty among CS? How--CIOs and CEOs
about what this world's gonna look like and how to prepare for it.
>> Eric Schmidt: Well, first place I would prefer a simpler answer than a more complicated
answer. >> Yeah.
>> Eric Schmidt: And I think that simpler answer is that to the degree that you could
move your cloud--your applications to the cloud internally, you'll have more flexibility
because you'll have standardized interfaces. And most of the entrenched vendors say that,
but they don't in fact deliver it. And it's easy to take pot shots at Microsoft. If you
take a look for example at the DLL architecture for Windows server, you discover that it's
essentially impossible to have a client that's not a Windows client, right? Now, independent
of anything else they say, it prevents you from giving a choice. Now, if you don't want
that choice, it's fine. But if you do want that choice, then you need to understand that
it's a limit. It's interesting that at Google, we're getting ready to deploy these essentially
Chrome--Android and Chrome-based devices that are in development. And so we want of course
to eat our own dog food just by how we sort of build things. And so I said, okay, good.
Let's imagine that from this day forward, everything we did was a perfect web app. What
would the world look like? Well, even in our own--this is a company, right, which has the--clearly
has the religion. We found applications that were part of our business operations--sales,
accounting, and so forth and so on--that were relatively non-strategic. They were highly
tied to a specific vendor or specific platform. And they're in the process of being rewritten,
and it's no big deal and it's not that hard. You put a front end on them, make them more
web-capable, make them browser resonant. But even at Google we have this problem. I suspect
everybody faces this problem, and it's very real.
>> Okay, well, since you brought up Microsoft, let's handicap the world a little bit, you
know? Who's an interesting player here, either through incumbency, size, interesting ways
of thinking about this, people you'd want to collaborate with, people you see as a competitor
in an interesting way? >> Eric Schmidt: Well, the goal is to serve
the customer, the customer here in the room. And virtually everybody here has a multi-platform
solution. All of us, including, I should say, Microsoft, are trying to move to this new
web models. Everybody has their literature. And I think you have to try it. You have to
see if it actually works. There are limitations. For example, our applications are not fully--are
not full replacements for the incumbents. >> Mm-hmm.
>> Eric Schmidt: We're very clear about that. We're very honest about it. And in fact, our
strategy for most of them is not to get to 100%, but to get to 80%. 'Cause if we can
get to 80% because of our cost benefit and because of our flexibility, we think we can
provide some real value. And
the cost of replicating all of the 20 years worth of development that is represented by
the predecessors isn't worth the value, 'cause corporations are moving forward anyway and
you can get enough done with the 80% solution. >> Mm-hmm.
>> Eric Schmidt: An interesting statistic is that we have a couple million enterprise
customers now for Google Apps Suite. We're adding on the order of 3,000 businesses--and
these are typically very small-- per day to this. We have large institutions coming in
once a week or two, turning on 20,000 or 30,000 such customers. So we have the operational
experience to say with some certainty that these systems actually work at scale. And
lots and lots of examples. We're four nines reliability. These are global services. On
and on and on. And we obviously use it ourselves. >> One of your own skills is not just managing
at scale, but it's observing and making new kinds of patterns and products from a scale.
What are you seeing as people sign up to this? >> Eric Schmidt: Well, it's better to describe
it as, what do you all complain about once you're sort of getting started with us? And
the most interesting complaint is the things that you didn't realize that you wanted that
they now want because have the sharing and the interconnection model.
>> Mm-hmm. >> Eric Schmidt: And the ones that I think
are most interesting are the ones that involve very, very sophisticated workflow. Virtually
everybody here has very specialized document retention policies. There are all sorts of
really good reasons--change management policies, all very good reasons at corporations. We
at Google have these systems. And yet most of the systems that are in place are fairly
restrictive in what you want to do. So we sort of identified that once you have everything
in the web and you have on these secure web servers, there are a lot of applications that
can be built on top of this. They can be built by your own team using relatively straightforward
tools that we make and that others make. But there are also third parties that are developing
this. We brought out something called Google Apps Store, not particularly a distinguished
name, but we announced it last month. And it seems to be growing very, very quickly.
And it's third parties that do this sort of thing. They do finance apps, data tracking
apps, and so forth. So what we sort of concluded was that our best strategy was to provide
the interoperability platform, the sharing platform, the authentication platform, and
then have these more vertical apps be built by third parties who can then sort of figure
out what is really needed. And that also has the property that it enables your own developers
to have a proper and stable platform. In other words, it really is a platform play here.
And it's extensible because it's all web-based. >> Okay. Let's spend a minute on the future,
both for the product and inside the corporation, what kind of relationship you want to have
with businesses. For starts, we saw Chrome OS, Chrome browser. There's a report today
about Android pad. How many computers do you want to make?
>> Eric Schmidt: Well, hopefully somebody else besides us is making them and we're--
>> Sponsor. >> Eric Schmidt: Yeah, hopefully we're enabling
the software platforms. [pause] Let me back into the answer by a different statement.
What's really important right now is to get the mobile architecture right because mobility
will ultimately be the way in which you provision most of your services. Now, today, that seems
crazy because today the mobile devices are largely a problem in a corporation because
they don't fully support all the existing enterprise apps and so forth. But if you fast
forward five or ten years, with the investment and growth in mobile computing, the kinds
of things that you can do with mobile devices--and mobile devices here includes very small devices
all the way up to large tablets, even if you think of it as netbooks. So mobility is part
of it. And the way I like to articulate it is that the answer should always be mobile
first. In other words, you should literally put your best team and your best app on a
mobile app that enables some business process. And by the way, everybody has these, right?
'Cause every company ultimately has people who are moving forward. They're in motion.
They're with their customer and so forth. Imagine they're all obvious sales tracking,
material tracking kind of applications here. If that's where all the real action is going
to be, then making sure you know what's going on those mobile devices within the firm, 'cause
your employees will come in and they'll interoperability, they'll want security and safety, turns out
to be really important. [pause] From our perspective, the single most interesting development has
been the arrival of the HTML5 standard, which everybody but Microsoft has embraced as the
next step in browsers, so in particular Mozilla and Safari, as well as Chrome and and so forth.
This standard allows for stored value within the browser. It also allows for application
segregation, so you can write really--you can write applications that trounce each other.
It means that applications will be much, much less virus sensitive, which is a huge issue
for all of you. Google, having gone through a very sophisticated attack, is particularly
now paranoid about this kind of stuff. And so we're very, very focused on making sure
that stuff is much, much more secure. The promise if Chrome and Chrome OS is that the
devices that you give to your employees will have a two-second boot time, that they'll
be completely disposable, and of course the price point is incredibly low.
>> I was gonna ask you about that. You know, you're talking about having this OS out in
six months. [pause] Presuming it goes two years from now, a device that is anonymous
until it's immediately personalized in some massive way, connected to the cloud, is available
for IT, and if it breaks, basically it's like a chair--you just throw it in the closet--
>> Eric Schmidt: If you think about it, almost all of the historic problems--
>> What's it gonna cost? >> Eric Schmidt: Well, it'll be the manufacturers
that do it. But the price points that you all should think about are the current netbook
pricing, which is in the $300, $400 kind of price points. And those prices are completely
determined, by the way, by the cost of the glass, the cost of the processor, and things
like that. In our case, Chrome OS and Android are free, so there's no software tax associated
with all of this. >> Could you see yourself selling it it like
a phone company, where you just throw it in as a plus for a two or three year contract?
>> Eric Schmidt: Well, the phone--again, the phone company--if a phone company chose to
do that, that would be great. And many of the phone companies we've talked with do have
enterprise-- >> No, but in terms of selling apps. I mean,
could you just throw a device on top of it as part of an apps contract?
>> Eric Schmidt: Oh, sure, sure. We're not in that business, remember, right, right?
>> Yeah. >> Eric Schmidt: We're not in that business.
I mean, we're basically in the advertising and enterprise software business, not in that
business. And I don't think we'll go that far.
>> Okay. >> Eric Schmidt: But we'll see. You know,
you never know. I mean, we're trying to build a whole new industry.
>> Right, well, there you go. >> Eric Schmidt: If you think about it, there
has not been a new successful platform in this space in 20 years. And I've worked on--you
know, as you pointed out in my history, I've had, you know, a few failures along the way.
>> I didn't put it that way. >> Eric Schmidt: But you were very kind. I
think if there's anybody who understands how hard this stuff is, it's, you know, me personally,
and the team that we've assembled is particularly good. But if you go back to what we're trying
to do, we're trying to develop a new set of platforms. It's a platform at every level.
It's a device platform. It's a an input platform. It's a mobility platform. It's a communications
platform. It's an applications platform. it's a data sharing platform. The combination of
all of that is incredibly powerful. And so the effect of this is, if you look at most
of your costs, they seem to be related to the management of ambiguously-owned devices.
Does the employee own the device? Does the corporation own the device? Does the device
have, you know, games on it? Does it have personal stuff on it and so forth? We solve
all that problem at once, right, because of the combination of the cloud and the fact
that the Chrome OS devices are essentially diskless.
>> I get it. >> Eric Schmidt: They have a cache but not
a permanent disk. >> I may be the only person in the room thinking
this, but I don't think so. IM, email, video, voice--is there such a thing as overkill in
communication? >> Eric Schmidt: No.
>> I mean, how will--okay. I mean-- >> Eric Schmidt: You're obviously not young
enough anymore. >> Well--
>> Eric Schmidt: Try finding an 18-year-old, right? Watch what they do, right? The level
of input, right? In fact-- >> I know we don't have an off switch, but
have you found in using all this, you need some new discipline of time--
>> Eric Schmidt: Many people have searched for an off switch for their teenager, trust
me. It just doesn't work. [pause] One of the questions that you really want to ask about
this is, at the end of the day, what is new, right? What is new-- if you go back to what
we're building, what we've built together over the years, what is really new? In theory,
there's one thing that's really new. It's that everything is now, that what you're really
referring to is not that you have so many parallel streams but the fact that they're
all current, right? >> And also they never sit at their desks
and just work. >> Eric Schmidt: Well, then you need to give
them a desk, which lowers your office overheard. [pause] You understand this. You're a reporter.
>> Born to sell. >> Eric Schmidt: No, we've talked years for
condoing, right? Here's a perfect example of condoing. You know, I think all of us figured
out that, you know, now, with a modern data connection and
a powerful computer, you can pretty much work anywhere. My only issue in life is time zones.
>> Right. >> Eric Schmidt: Aside from time zones, I'm
pretty productive pretty much everywhere I go. I think that's the new executive lifestyle.
But getting back to this question of information overload. What is fundamentally different
now is that everybody knows what's going on exactly now.
>> Yeah. >> Eric Schmidt: And one way to express that
is, imagine for the moment--everybody here has a digital device, turn it off. Turn it
off right now. What have I just taken away from you? Something pretty profound. Your
connectivity to that whole world--your personal world, your professional world, and so forth.
That connection is so fundamental to people's lives today, whether it's personal or professional.
That's not gonna happen. We want to enable that to be more organized.
>> Right. >> Eric Schmidt: Right? So if you think about
the information problem, interesting statistics: between sort of the birth of the world and
2003, there were five exabytes of information created. That's the total over that period.
So that includes most of our adult lives, our children's lives, and so forth and so
on. And in the last bit, we created two exa--I'm sorry, five exabytes in two days. So plot
that curve as a power law curve, and now you understand why it's so painful sort of operate
in these information markets. The information explosion is so profoundly larger than anyone
ever thought, certainly larger than I thought. But that's what this opportunity creates.
>> I think we'd like to open it up for questions now. By the way, those five exabytes, I can,
like, subtract the tweets about Jersey Shore and stuff, right?
>> Eric Schmidt: Trust me, the-- >> Size does not equal quality.
>> Eric Schmidt: The tweets are the bandwidth problem, trust me. If there's anything that's
not contributing to the bandwidth explosion, it's 140character updates.
>> Please step up and have questions. >> Eric Schmidt: Questions or comments.
>> Any questions? [pause] He is the head of Google. [pause]
>> Eric Schmidt: Yes, sir. >> Hi. I'm Bryson Koehler from IHG. Thanks
for having us here today. My question is, as CEO, what are you doing to help create
the spirit of innovation and a culture of kind of the original dot-com environment now
that you've probably grown into a slightly more bureaucratic organization? What are you
doing to kind of keep that spirit alive? >> Eric Schmidt: It's an important question
for the evolution of these, you know, high tech companies that go through, you know,
hyper growth, IPO, and so forth. Ultimately, the culture of a company is determined not
by the CEO but by the people, right? And we work very hard to run the company based on
a set of values, exemplified by many controversial decisions, which are well publicized. From
our perspective it's all fundamentally about the people and the selection of the people
that we bring into the company. And we end up selecting a pretty virtue of our tough
recruiting and so forth, and they tend to stay. So I think that the culture was sort
of set as a smaller company, and it's a culture around--focusing on end-users, focusing on
creativity and doing things which are disruptive. And I think that people carry around that
every day. What we look for--the reason we were talking about some of the technology
things, we're looking for the next incredible thing that you can do with web services inside
of an enterprise. So far, we've come up with, you know, very clever editors, very clever
spreadsheets, very clever calendars, very clever ways of tracking changes and so forth.
But there's another one, and we want to invent that, or we want to have a partner that invents
it. And I think that's what defines the culture. We've tried to stay away from focusing on
our competitors. We've tried to focus on innovation and end-user solutions. And we're blessed
that we're in an advertising business which is lucrative. And we're also blessed in the
enterprise space with products which are inexpensive relative of competitors, and so the feedback
from our customers is all about adding more features, increasing reliability, better integration,
as opposed to the classic business problems. So Google is an unusual company because we
frame the problem as one around innovation, and the moment we lose that, the company is
toast, right? That's how fundamental it is. So I'm not sure if that answered your question,
but I think that's a rough report on it. I mean, one of the things that I'd like to tell
you is that we're still running three-person teams that change the world. But the fact
of the matter is that what we do is now complicated enough that the teams are bigger and they
look a lot more like, you know, traditional enterprise companies. And I think that's just
the process of the scale and things that the scale--that we do. But we have been able to
maintain the 20% time, so people are encouraged to work on things which they find interesting,
you know, 20% of the time. They're not sufficiently exciting people that they do anything that's
particularly different from what they currently do, right? But they're engineers after all.
But they tend to actually create some very interesting new ideas, and a lot of our new
stuff comes from the 20% time. >> Okay.
>> You alluded to the--I guess the breach or near breach associated with what some have
termed the advanced persistent threat, and I'm wondering, are there security lessons
that can share with us from what you've learned. Because it sounds like were probably the most
open of the companies that actually got hit. And given, you know, the--I guess the exposure
that all of us face, I guess I'm interested in any lessons learned from your perspective.
>> Eric Schmidt: Well, when we were attacked, we faced sort of moral question. 'Cause most
companies would be embarrassed to say it. But again, it's an example of how Google is
an unusual company. We in fact said that we had to tell people as a warning. And as is
known, there was also evidence of tracking of human rights activists and that sort of
stuff, which, again, we publicize. And there's been a lot of coverage and knowledge that's
occurred post that which I think has been helpful for people's awareness of what was
going on. We have not gone into the specifics of attack except that it was ultimately publicized
that it was a vulnerability in IE 6 that started it, and there's a patch and so forth and so
on. So the simplest advice I would offer to you is, first and foremost, make sure throughout
your company that you're using the latest versions of operating systems and browsers.
Most people are not because they don't think they're such a big threat. But now because
of the interconnectiveness, if you get hold of one down-rev system, which is roughly what
happened in our case, it's possible to then author credentials and basically begin to
spoof, and through a series of steps which I'd rather not go into for obvious reasons,
actually ultimately get into some very serious parts of a company. We have done all of the
obvious things since then. We've tightened up our perimeter defenses. We've upgraded
all of our software. We're moving away from some of those systems to systems which are
more web-dependent. We ultimately believe, and you should hold us to this, that the web
services and web platforms that we're building over the next year will be inherently more
secure. So for example, the Chrome and Chrome OS is focused around speed, simplicity, but
also fundamentally security. And the way it does security, and some of this is understood
and has been publicized, is, it actually distrusts the application by definition as opposed to
trusting the application by definition. And that is a new sort of design principle that's
not been present in the industry before. [pause] >> Chuck Half, City of Pittsburgh.
>> Eric Schmidt: Hi, Chuck. >> sort of looking at the web apps, "sharing
information differently" perspective, and thinking about the digital divide and sort
of economic, socio-economic differences, recognizing that, irrespective of one's economic needs
or means in an urban or rural environment--many people have cell phones or PDAs or things
like that--but how do you really deal with applications from the Google perspective that
really makes a difference to that sense of community of the fundamental day-to-day economic
differences? I mean, we know people will personally invest in great cable programming even though
they may have trouble surviving in school. So how do you see Google's role, sort of that
social side, at the ground level in that urban environment?
>> Eric Schmidt: I--we see ourselves as a platform provider and not as a content provider.
We're obviously sympathetic to the cause, but you know, we're computer scientists. We're
not--we don't really--we're not experts in this areas. One of the greatest--one of the
things I'm most proud of is that in the in the next few years, more than a billion people
will get mobile phones who have never had a mechanism for communicating outside of their
village. And they're gonna join the global communications emphasis. God knows what they're
gonna say. You know, they have new languages, new systems, and so forth. And we should all
be very proud of that. You know, we'll go from our lives--there almost being no global
communication for most people to almost everyone having a voice during our adult lives, and
that's pretty amazing. From our perspective, we operate in a declining cost industry, where
the products actually get cheaper. It's possible to imagine that, in the next few years, the
combination of the applications that I'm describing, you know, sort of sophisticated Android-based
devices, sophisticated Chrome-based browsers, enable the construction of communications,
sharing, sites, and so forth that are effectively free for the communities that you're talking
about. And they all--they have all the same needs as everybody else, to communicate, to
diagnose their problems, to share information, and so forth and so on. In the outside of
the United States, we've worked very hard for things like SMS search because the lowest--the
poorest of the poor have an SMS phone, not a web-capable phone. So we have an SMS focus,
which I think for most corporations is not that relevant, and then we have sort of a
feature phone focus around these browsers. Most people in the future will access the
internet mostly from their mobile device. That doesn't necessarily mean within a corporation,
but in the consumer space, it's true. So again, all of us face the goal, if we want to reach
all of our possible consumers, we have to have a mobile-centric solution. [pause]
>> Kevin Kapp with the town of Castle Rock. >> Eric Schmidt: Hi, Kevin.
>> I was thinking about Google Analytics and how great it was about telling us how people
use their websites. Are you planning on having a Google Analytics for Google apps, and what
do you think it'll tell us about our employees who are using it?
>> Eric Schmidt: Always a dangerous question, right, to find out what people really do with
your systems. We are developing such tools targeted at the real usage pattern. Right
now, almost all of our focus is on getting the core applications suite out, so that will
be mail, calendar, collaboration, all the various docs functionality, getting them to
that 80% functionality goal that I discussed earlier. And so you can imagine a lot of interesting
things. The most obvious one has to do with the level of sharing that actually goes on
in the company. And I'm fascinated by the question of--and for example, inside of Google,
we talk about sharing, we talk about community, but how stovepiped is our decision-making
really? And it will be possible for us to instrument and diagnose that. And we'll get
started and see what kind of insights we can come up with. And that will be very helpful,
I think, to everybody. >> Hi, Eric. Blaise Gupta from Charter Consulting
Services. I've been watching Google for the last four or five years since my college days.
It has evolved as an organization in multiple areas. Today you're competing with IBM, Microsoft,
Apple, and now more wide phone manufacturers and maybe many more areas I'm not aware of.
What's vision of Google three or five years from today? What kind of organization you
see in form of Google? >> Eric Schmidt: Hmm. Well, technologic--well,
as a company, Google is likely to be--we're growing, so we'll have more people, more operations
globally. And I think it's reasonable to assume that I think all of us were several affected
by the recession and the global financial collapse. And it looks like a global recovery's
underway. We can debate the rate of growth. So I think a reasonable assumption is, Google
will be a larger company, a larger footprint, doing things. I think I've touched on some
of the areas of emphasis. We're extremely--in the enterprise, we're extremely interested
in building out the platform that I'm describing. And the platform involves cloud services,
it involves kind of data services, and then the platforms that people will use on day-to-day
basis. We won't replace everything. This is not an us-versus-them kind of thing. We have
to interoperate. We have to offer. But we think we can offer a lower cost, better integrated,
more useful, more multi-platform solution. So that's clearly a function. In the area
of search, there's a lot of things that we can do now because of the power of our computing
that's really as close to AI as possible. Classic example is the Chrome browser on April
1st--always a great day to announce new products, by the way--we put in a button which automatically
translates all of the web pages into your language. So you go, "Oh, pretty big." It's
a huge deal, right? It's not a little deal. It's not--it's a little deal for us 'cause
we all speak English. It's a huge deal for a lot of people. So that's an example of something
we can do. We introduced a product called Google Goggles, which, you take a picture
of things, and then it does--what it actually does is, it goes out to I don't know how many
sets of server farms, but a whole bunch, and it says, "Is this a fruit, is this a plant,
is this a menu, is this voice translation, is this a landmark, is this a face," and so
forth. They vote of what the object is, and then they tell you what they think the object
is. And it's spooky, right? So take a picture of a landmark, it'll tell you what it is and
take you to the Wikipedia page and things like that. That kind of technology is as close
to magic as I can imagine. To me, I go, oh, my God, we can do that. So we're very, very
interested in moving the understanding of information, because of this information explosion,
to this next level. But we operate under the assumption that people will carry mobile devices
with them all the time, that those mobile devices will be always connected, that they
will--from one data network or another, for obvious reasons, and that there are applications
that we can build or that others can build on top of our platform that will materially
make them more productive, better at work, you know, have more fun, be better entertained.
And that's I think another unifying principle for you. [pause]
>> I think I'm getting the "just one last question" sign.
>> Eric Schmidt: Well, let's do the last two. We have two gentlemen here. Oh, it looks like
we have a third person. That's all right. We'll do three. We'll do them quick. Yes,
sir. >> Abe Farland from Sheepdog Inc. We're actually
an integrator of Google Apps, so you've been preaching to the converted all day.
>> Eric Schmidt: Oh, perfect. >> Big fans. Question of a general nature.
Warren Buffett says that when you acquire great wealth, you find yourself in more interesting
circles, more interesting situations. I'd be interested to know what, maybe in the last
year, what one or three things you've learned that have literally knocked your socks off.
>> I think that's addressed to you. [pause] >> Eric Schmidt: I think the--I'm quite surprised
at the severity of the financial crisis, and to the degree that I was part of the administration
and part of the reviews and so forth, I was really quite surprised that so many smart
people knew so little about what was going on. And one of the things that I decided to
work on was to try to fix that problem that fundamentally--it's fundamentally an information
problem. People were surprised, whether they chose to not look, ask the questions, but
a lot of people were severely hurt by that. And I think that was something that was really
interesting. I've been working on advanced manufacturing issues in the United States,
and that's been another surprise, has been the decline of American manufacturing and
how do we get American jobs and American growth back. And those are some examples of some
things which I found just fascinating and compelling because they affect real people
every day. And I think what happens if you're in the elite, and there's--you know, the elite
that sort of runs the world who all talk to each other--and members here, obviously you
are all members of this--and we talk to each other, but we don't appreciate the both positive
and negative effect that we can have on people every day. And I think the stories of hardship
are a good reminder of why what we do is so very important, why I get up in the morning.
Yes, sir. >> Yeah, Darryl Black, DeKalb County, Georgia.
I thank you for your time and your openness today. If you could, could you give me just
a thumbnail SWAT report of Google? [pause] >> Eric Schmidt: In what context?
>> Just your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. We pretty much covered the strengths.
>> Eric Schmidt: Oh, well, the first thing is that we make lots of mistakes, right? That
would be an example. And I would argue that's a strength and a weakness. But people are
always surprised when we make errors. Hopefully we admit them. We're trying our best. I think
our weaknesses have to do with the fact that, as we have become more middle-aged as a company,
if I could say that, it's harder and harder to do completely new things, right? It's just
the nature of human beings. And you know, when you start off as a company and you have--everything's
in front of you, but now because of constraints--and we have all sorts of other issues. You know,
every government sort of has some group that's busy trying to figure out what we're up to
because information is power. And people care a lot of information. So we're quite disruptive,
and in the course of that disruption, we tend to create enemies, which are some--hopefully
not intended on our part. Hopefully we have a nice face to it. But the fact of the matter
is, we are disrupting industries. And that is a significant, significant problem. We
are--most of the other large companies have collaborations with us as well as competitions
with us. And so depending on which day you talk to them, you'll hear good things or bad
things. My basic objective with most of the corporations is to try to figure out where
to grow these industries. Because if we're all growing this huge industry that I'm describing,
then there's lots of winning for all of us. And if we can't grow it and it doesn't work,
then it doesn't matter, right, whether we're not about it or not. People are gonna lose
their jobs and everybody's gonna be upset. >> Thank you.
>> Eric Schmidt: Sounds like we have the last question. Yes, sir.
>> Hey, thank you, sir. CJ Wallington from the Pentagon. I'm one of the lucky ones. I
know my account executive Jim Young, he's actually back here in the back. He's a great
guy. >> Eric Schmidt: Thank you.
>> I've listened to Alan and Jeff speak earlier and talk about the differences between the
private and the public cloud, and that's important to us because our requirements are a little
more unique. >> Eric Schmidt: Of course.
>> But a lot of the security things you've addressed today touch upon the things in support
of the guard and reserve component as well. What do we need to do to engage you more,
to become more successful in this government-industry partnership? [pause]
>> Eric Schmidt: It's a hard answer because, as you know 'cause you work there, the procurement
and industrial structures, the integrators and so forth, are a completely different breed
from much of the commercial market-- Different rules, different regulations, different ways
in which things are installed, different histories and so forth. I would observe that in the
non-classified parts of the government, the needs are almost procurement set of issues--that
basically the government is a service organization--again, in the non-classified parts, a service organization
which needs to be as transparent as possible, as collaborative as possible, and operated
as inexpensively as possible, with as many different kind of devices as possible, which
is a perfect opportunity for Google. One of the things that I'm proud of is that when
I was at Sun, at Sun we worked pretty hard in the '90s to get the government to adopt
email, right? Because--I don't know if a few people remember, but there were all these
rules about using these standardized emails that nobody was--one of my big accomplishments
was getting people to used at-sign-based email, right? So the fact that you could take the
government with enough work, and because of the scale, get people using emails, starting
using web services. Now, as you know, rule is that the government services, everything
has to have a website. And a number of us have worked hard for example in the openness
rules for the government, again, for the non-classified parts, to use things like video more, to get
more public participation in decisions and so forth. I'm part of the president's science
team right now, and we just issued a report, and the way we issued the first version of
our report is, we published it for comment, which as far as I know is the first time a
government group has actually done that in the White House. Literally said, before we
publish our real report, here are the things that we're thinking; can you comment back
for us? And this is sort of a novel idea. I think in all sorts of ways, the government
should be a good user of this. With respect to the specifics, I think, you know, let's
work together on this. There are--most of the requirements can be achieved--the government
requirements can be achieved with bridges between the old world and the new world, just
as you do with a normal company, right? So you have an old system that you have to bridge
to, but nowadays, we can make an interface using XML or the various data APIs and actually
get that sharing to work. >> Okay? All right. I'm gonna take one more
quick question 'cause we have a room full of talented people, and they're concerned
about their own careers, but perhaps even more important, about how to mentor correctly
the people they're bringing up. Knowing what you know about where things are going, what
do you think are the really great skills, relationships, talents, areas of study that
they should focus on and seek? >> Eric Schmidt: I think the most important
aspect of leadership in the modern age has to do with curiosity. And my experience is
that most sort of people in my page don't really ask the fundamental questions, either
'cause they're tired of the same thing or their just not curious or what have you. When
people say things to me, I actually check every single one of them. Obviously I use
Google, so I have a bias. But I would encourage you to start by challenging every single assumption.
And I should say by the way that I learned this from Larry and Sergei, because coming
out of my enterprise background, and you know they walked in and of course they did not
have an enterprise background when they started the company, they would challenge literally
every assumption that I made. And I think that with modern technology, you can do that
very, very seriously. You can really get to know the answer to the question. I think you'll
be a much more effective leader. Your employees will respect you if you're on top of the details
at that level. And by that I don't mean telling them what to do. I mean knowing what's going
on. >> Mm-hmm.
>> Eric Schmidt: So it's, are you present, are you really paying attention? The second
thing has to do with treating your employees as though they're actually intelligent. So
the simplest rule is, ask them a question rather than tell them what to do. And so if
you can find a way to state it as a question, like, "Why are we paying $100 million and
the other guys are paying 10?" That's a reasonable--that's, like, a criticism question as opposed to,
"Go figure out a way to make pay 10 million rather than 100 million, right? You see, the
difference is actually quite fundamental. We run Google in an unusual way. Of course
we run it in a collaborative style. And collaboration does not mean by consensus. Collaboration
means that we sit in rooms until the best idea comes around, and everyone agrees to
the best idea, and then we do that. >> Mm-hmm.
>> Eric Schmidt: So it's possible to actually run large organizations in a collaborative
way, based on the best idea, as long as you have a shared set of values. The final comment
I would make is that there are some very, very smart people in your organization that
you don't know. Usually, the smart people that are very low in the organization, the
really, really creative ones, are sort of suffering 'cause no one will really talk to
them. Try to find them. Try to listen to them and try to have them be your beacons as to
how the organization should evolve. They do exist, and they're often not in among your
direct reports. They're often deep, there's some incredibly clever idea three levels down
that you just haven't heard. Look for it. When you hear it, jump on it and call for
a special meeting for a special idea or at least encourage it, 'cause that will change
the culture as well. >> Change the room. Okay, well, thank you
very much, Eric. >> Eric Schmidt: Thank you so very much, and
thank you for spending all day with us. Thanks, Ben. [pause] Thanks, Ben. Thank you. [pause]
>> Dave, did you have closing words? >> Yes.