Larry Page & Q&A with Eric Schmidt at Zeitgeist Americas 2011


Uploaded by zeitgeistminds on 27.09.2011

Transcript:
>>Larry Page: It's really great to be here together with all of you. And I hope you've
all been inspired by the last two days, like I have been. I think it's always -- you know,
it's kind of like being plugged into the Internet directly when you come to this kind of event.
And while I look forward to the day of actually it being for real, this is about the closest
that we can get to it today. I know how precious all of your time is, too,
so I really appreciate your spending that time with us. And I also want to thank all
of you, many of you, for your business and your partnerships with us. We really appreciate
that and look forward to many fine years of that.
Now, I also want to thank Chip from LuLuLemon who presented earlier for the sweatshirt which
I'm wearing, which I really like. So I just wanted to give that quick ad also.
Now, when I was 12 or so, my parents actually gave me an autobiography of Tesla. And, you
know, when I say Tesla, maybe some of you think of the rock band. Maybe you think of
the electric car company now. But, actually, it refers to NIKOLA Tesla,
which when I was 1 12, that was probably the main choice. I thought I wanted to be an inventor
when I grew up. I was really lucky to get my first computer when I was six, because
my dad was a computer science professor. That was in 1978, so pretty unusual thing to do.
I thought I wanted to be an inventor. And this was, like, the greatest inventor you
could imagine. He was kind of an evil, mad scientist. You know, he made lightning bolts
and he made the things that we use for electric power now. We still use Tesla designs, basically,
to generate and distribute our electric power. And, you know, once I finished reading this
story of his life, I basically cried at the end, because I realized, you can be the world's
greatest inventor and you can basically be a failure; right? You know, you can have trouble
funding your inventions. Tesla was actually working hard on transmitting power across
continents wirelessly. And it's still not known exactly what he had in mind. And it
might be if he was better able to fund his research, we would actually have that today.
That's not that unlikely, probably. So what do you actually do about this? You
actually need to invent things and you need to get them to people. You really need to
commercialize those inventions. And, obviously, the best way we've come up with doing that
is through companies. And so I figured, you know, eventually, I
want to invent things and get them to people and get them to use them. And to benefit the
world that way. That's kind of been my goal since.
And I think our goals for Google, if you understand it in that context, make more sense. That's
actually our goal for Google. It's super simple. We want to build technology that everybody
loves using and that really affects everyone. We really want to create beautiful, intuitive,
you know, services, technologies that are so incredibly useful for people, so incredibly
useful that people use them, you know, twice a day, like you might use a toothbrush; right?
And there aren't that many things you use twice a day. It's actually pretty hard to
come up with something like that. Now, we actually just roughly hit our 13th
birthday at Google. And I think we're running a doodle now or something. It's always a little
bit of a debate exactly when our birthday is. We didn't really start paying ourselves
or start working. It's a little bit amorphous. But roughly. It's been a while.
And I think that, you know, looking back on what's been successful, well, what have we
done that's really worked well? Having a user focus and also iterating really fast have
really been -- determined what was successful. Now, I like -- in thinking back about search,
why did we start doing search? We were doing some research at Stanford. We
thought it might be interesting. And we actually were talking to all the people in the industry,
you know, who were doing different kinds of search. And we said, you know, if you type
-- we had done some interesting research about ranking things better. And, you know, we had
typed in, you know, "university" into the search engines at the time. And it was amazing,
you know, when you typed that, you basically got random Web pages. You got pages that said
"university" twice in the title. And we said -- you know, we went to the people
who made these search engines and said, "Why are you doing that? Why would I want a page"
-- And they said, "Well, this is user error."
Right? "You shouldn't have typed 'university.'"
We were, like, "What?" I can't possibly be wrong. You know, I'm just a user; right?
[ Laughter ] >>Larry Page: And they didn't quite understand
that. And that's how we went on to build a search engine, because we realized nobody
was focused on that. Now, I think, you know, that's true for still
very many areas in the world. There's still -- sorry. I'm going to get a drink.
I still see a lot of areas where people don't have that user focus. And I think it's true
for most of computing right now. I was remarking to somebody here earlier, you know, if you
look back, you know, you took a programmer from 30 years ago -- maybe Eric can tell us
-- [ Laughter ]
>>Larry Page: -- and, you know, you transplanted them today, I think they would roughly know
what's going on. Like, it's not so different than it was then. In fact, we still use some
of Eric's code. It's still good. So, look, let me talk about the user experience
in terms of Google+. Obviously, we're super excited about Google+. You know, it's -- I
think, you know, really understanding people better, understanding what you want, personalizing
that is very, very important. And we want to build a closer relationship with all of
our users, with all of you guys. And we want to integrate all of our products
so they're easier to use, more intuitive. And we want to make sharing on the Web happen
like real life; right? You know, if you're at this conference, you say different things
than if you're, you know, in your family or you're with your coworkers or whatever.
And that's what Circles are. And we're really excited about that.
Now, we also wanted to have an amazing experience for mobile. You know, you use, actually, your
phone probably more than you use your computer now. And that trend is only increasing. And,
you know, one of the things we did and which is amazing is, when you take a picture with
Google+, it automatically gets uploaded and in seconds, you can share it, decide who you
want to share it with. It's just a totally magical experience, like you don't have to
worry about anything. It just happens. Now, also, will.I.am, who is here, recently
did a Hangout with us, which we're really excited about. This is serendipitous interaction
where you basically enter a video conference, but with people from all around the world,
and you can have a conversation with them. He did this recently. He's going to do it
again Friday, 6:00 p.m. eastern time. He's running a concert, which will be really exciting.
But we're looking forward to that. Now, this -- you know, search is also very
important to us, obviously. So when you do search, we really want you to be able to have
a great experience. And for that, you know, knowing what other people like, what they're
+1'ing, what things people are sharing is super important. And you can already see that
happening in search. We're really excited about that. If you do a search on Google,
someone's +1'd it, you'll see it right in your search results. And that's a big, big
deal. I'm really pleased with Google+ so far. It's
been a -- the team has been doing an amazing job. It's really on fire. I'd love for all
of you to sign up. I think you've got an opportunity to do that. But I'd love for you to do that
and see Will's concert on Friday and participate and really help us build the future as a community.
I'm really excited about that. Let me just switch gears for a second and
talk a little bit about really talking about how you choose what to do. One thing I've
noticed is that if you're super ambitious, it's often easier. That sounds kind of counterintuitive.
But if you have a healthy disregard for the impossible, you actually get better people
to work on your project. You know, they get really excited, they work really hard. You
know, they work late at night. And it also turns out that most companies aren't crazy
enough to do anything like that. And so you don't -- they -- nobody else is doing it.
So you're the only ones. And, again, you get the best people.
Now, you know, we try to do a lot of things like that. And I'll just give you some examples
from the past. You know, when we bought Android, it was a
small company. It was 2005 when we bought it. And they had a dream that they were going
to use an open source operating system for phones to really standardize an industry and
make things really productive. I mean, that was a crazy goal; right? It was something
like 20 people at the time. And we had a whole industry; we had a whole closet full of phones
that all didn't work, something like 100 phones we had in a closet. And we had to write software
for each individual one. But having that ambitious dream and a long-term
focus, they were really able to succeed. And, obviously, Android's the largest shipping
smartphone operating system now. That did take six years; right?
Now, I feel like, you know, in thinking about this, I see the same movie playing out again
and again. You know, people thought that Android was crazy at the time. They also think that
many of the businesses we're doing now is crazy, crazy now. And, in fact, you know,
I look at things like Chrome, say, oh, why do you need another browser? There's plenty
of browsers. Got 160 million people using Chrome. And it's growing like crazy. And it's
how you access the Internet. That's an important thing; right?
And display advertising, you know, people said, oh, there's all these big providers
of display advertising. You know, what are you guys going to do?
Now we're a huge provider of display advertising. And I'm really excited about that, because
it's growing like crazy also. But it's also really funding all the content that's on the
Internet. That's an important thing, is to fund that content that gets created, and to
do it better, to do it with a better user experience, to make the ads more relevant
to people and more useful to people. And we're really applying the science of what we did
with search advertising to display advertising. It's working great. It's not that surprising.
But, you know, if you watched Ray Kurzweil's talk earlier, you know, people get confused,
you know, when you have something that's growing quickly, you know, you think it's small. And
then the next day, basically, it's huge. And that's what I've seen with all these businesses.
YouTube, which Mark for some reason thinks we shouldn't have bought -- I disagree. I
think it was a great acquisition -- you know, we have over 3 billion playbacks a day there.
And that's growing like crazy also. And we've multiplied our ad revenue by 3X for two years
in a row, which has been amazing, too. And that's going to -- it's a huge business. It's
going to be a much bigger business. So what's the takeaway from this? I think
if you have a well-run technology business and it has a lot of usage, you generally make
a lot of money over the long term, if you take a long-term view. And that's how we've
operated our company. And I think related to that, you know, if
you look at short-term and long-term change, it's very -- and this is a well-known kind
of research fact -- people tend to overestimate the next year what's going to happen. You
know, you sort of see the trajectory, you see what's going to happen, and you assume
that it's going to happen much faster than it actually does.
But when you look at the next five years, you really underestimate that effect, especially
of the exponential type growth systems that Ray was talking about.
And I think that in technology, we're still very, very, very early stage. So we're way
overestimating the next year, and we're way underestimating the next five years. And what
we try to do is to make sure we're driving the next five years. And I think that's our
job. Now, what are these things? Well, I think
the tools that we use for interacting online are going to be completely different five
years from now. You know, if you think back five years ago or six, seven years ago, we
had no social network tools, really. You know, just things were completely different. And
I think if you look five years from now, they're going to be completely different again. There's
a lot of user interface issues with what we're doing. There's a lot of potential to make
people's lives better, to make things more efficient, to make things more enjoyable for
people, and we're trying hard to build those tools as Google+. And we're super excited
about that. I also thought I'd mention mobile briefly.
It's not that long since we've had a phone in our pocket; right? And the phone is really
a computer. It's connected to the Internet. It's actually as good as your desktop computer
was three or four years ago already. And it knows where you are. It's always with you.
And those capabilities are just going to completely change the world. And we're very, very early
on in that, too. We just launched last week mobile payments,
our Wallet product. And you can use Android phone without a wallet, use our Wallet, and
you can buy something. And it's an amazing experience. You just tap and you can pay for
it. Your phone keeps track of it. It's secure. It's an amazing experience. And that's just
the tip of the iceberg of these kind of applications for phones.
Now I'll just finish here and say that, you know, technology's really changing the world.
We all know that. It can really improve billions of people's lives. And that's what we're excited
about. I think we at Google, we have a tremendous responsibility to really carry that mission
forward to make the world better. That's why I'm here, why I love technology, and why I
love my job here at Google. So thank you.
[ Applause ] >>Eric Schmidt: Larry.
>>Larry Page: Now, I've asked Eric to join me, because he knows how to answer the really
hard questions. And -- >>Eric Schmidt: Why don't we have a seat.
>>Larry Page: We're going to take some questions. >>Eric Schmidt: I thought -- first, I think
for everybody here, I really appreciate you all spending two days with us. I was trying
to think of a quote or one of the sessions -- there were so many that I enjoyed. And
I think feedback from you is consistent. I know, Larry, you feel the same way. I thought
I would read while you're getting your thoughts together and your voice back, a quote from
Cory Booker yesterday morning. "But yet, we as Americans, who drink deeply
from the wells of freedom and liberty that we did not dig, we lavishly eat from the banquet
tables that were prepared for us by our ancestors, we are too often just sitting around and getting
drunk on the sacrifice and struggle of other people's labors and forgetting that we're
part of a noble misinhumanity, the first nation formed not as a monarchy, not as a theocracy,
but as an experiment, an idea that a diverse group of people, that when we come together,
e pluribus unum, that we can make a greater whole out of the sum of the parts."
And I think if that gives a sense of what we, as Google, have been trying to achieve,
both with you in all the things we've talked about, and if I may say, in the vision that
you've outlined for our company, that the sum is more than the -- than the parts. I
think that gets a sense of what we're trying to do here.
I think it might be better, rather than me asking Larry questions, for you guys to ask
Larry questions and me, if you like -- >>Larry Page: The hard ones will go to Eric.
>>Eric Schmidt: That's right. But we've done this together a long time. And it's been a
privilege for the two of us in these conferences to meet at the end with everybody.
So we have some microphones there, or people can raise their hands. Whatever you'd like
to do. We have a few minutes for this. Don't be shy.
Yes, sir. Let's get us started. >>> Hi. I was wondering if you're having more
fun in the last two years or in the first two years in Google.
>>Eric Schmidt: Larry? >>Larry Page: Well, yeah, we should ask Eric
for his first two years, too. I think the first two years were really stressful.
>>Eric Schmidt: As opposed to now? [ Laughter ]
>>Larry Page: Yeah, yeah. I think so. >>Eric Schmidt: We had this debate. So -- so
the company didn't have any money. So Larry comes up to me and says, well, we have all
this money. We're not doing anything with it. I said, we're supposed to save the money,
Larry. >>Larry Page: Yeah.
[ Laughter ] >>Eric Schmidt: Don't you remember the near
bankruptcy and things like that? >>Larry Page: Near bankruptcy?
>>Eric Schmidt: Yeah, yeah. Yes. We had this conversation.
[ Laughter ] >>Larry Page: We actually never used all that
much cash, I don't think. But --
[ Laughter ] >>Eric Schmidt: Don't you remember the cash
restriction program, the CRP program, where we wouldn't pay our bills?
[ Laughter. ] >>Eric Schmidt: Don't you remember the cash
restriction program, the CRAP program, where we wouldn't pay our bills?
[ Laughter ] >>Larry Page: No, not at all.
>>Eric Schmidt: Boy. >>Larry Page: I think the first two years
were really stressful. [ Laughter ]
>>Larry Page: I think any of you who have started companies probably know this, But
it is really hard to start a company. It is a lot of work. You don't really have anything.
You know, we couldn't figure out how to pay ourselves. You know, there is just a lot of
things you have to do. And I think we are lucky now to have a good
infrastructure as a company and lots of really great people working. Definitely, I think
it's gotten easier as we've gone along. >>Eric Schmidt: Next question? Yes, sir.
John. Didn't you just do a panel? >>John Battelle: I'm sorry. I just couldn't
help myself with this question. >>Eric Schmidt: You did actually write one
of the authoritative books on Google. >>John Battelle: I think almost every author
on a Google book is here. >>Eric Schmidt: Excellent.
>>John Battelle: I'm curious, over the past 13 years, for at least 11 1/2 of them, when
people thought "Google," they would think "search." That was the Google brand. It was
very, very simple, Google equals search. What does the Google brand equal in the next
phase of Google's life? >>Larry Page: Yeah, that's an interesting
question. I think that for me what I would like the brand to be -- represent is some
of the things I talked about. I think that it would -- I think it is important that people
trust the brand. I think that's very important to us, that people know that we're acting
in their interest and that we're trustworthy, both stewards of information, information
access and their own personal data, which we've worked really hard to do, you know,
with things like Gmail and security and other things that we do.
And I think also it should stand for kind of a beauty of technological purity of really
innovation and things that are important to people but really driving technology forward.
>>Eric Schmidt: Go ahead. >>> I don't think it is on. Oh, there it is.
So you just recently announced a substantial acquisition of Motorola. And what I wanted
to know is: Does this represent a new era for Google of greater risk taking?
And, also, can you talk a little bit about how you will subsume this very large organization
and essentially double the size of Google once this transaction is completed?
>>Larry Page: Yeah, doubling head counts. I think, you know, obviously Motorola's significant
-- Motorola Mobility's significant size, acquisition, it is not doubling our market cap as much
as we would like it to. It is relatively small in that sense.
So I think as a company we've always strived to make investments -- make significant investments
in the future. Remember, when we did the YouTube acquisition, which was being debated, that
was a very large acquisition at the time and I think end up being an amazing acquisition
for us. But, relatively speaking, it was very large.
So I think we've always strived to take those kinds of risks and identify those opportunities.
That's why we get paid, is to do that. So I don't see it as particularly different.
But I think we're really excited about the opportunities in mobile. And you can see that
with the tremendous growth of Android and so on. And Motorola had that big -- being
an Android partner basically before anybody else had done that. So they went all Android.
So there is a very natural partner for us in doing that acquisition.
>>Eric Schmidt: Go ahead. >>> So my question plays a bit off the last
one. There has been a lot of discussion this afternoon about patent law and patent development.
And your company probably epitomizes what -- the best of the best of what can happen
from technology transfer, from innovation and patents, especially from within higher
education. Can you just talk a bit about that process
of fostering and managing the transition and the technology transfer from patent and creation,
especially within higher education to actually business development and what more maybe we
can do to unlock what seems to be a tremendous amount of hidden potential within university
walls especially. >>Eric Schmidt: Well, Stanford actually benefited
a great deal from the invention of these two young graduate students financially as well
as in many other ways. >>Larry Page: We did give Stanford a little
bit of equity, which they appreciated, I think. And return for the technology development
we did at Stanford, we are very grateful for that.
And I think Stanford has been one of the greatest environments to do that in, most successful
place. And I think it is a culture of, you know,
they actually -- the computer science department at Stanford would let its professors could
start companies and they would do a company for a couple of years, make some money, and
then they would come back to school and be a professor again.
And I don't know very many other places where that has happened repeatedly and with a large
percentage of the faculty. So actually when we went to start Google,
we asked our professors, Hey, what should we do? Just talk to this guy. He funded me,
and this guy. And all of a sudden, we had a check and we were able to get going.
And so I think that culture of innovation and academia being linked is a really important
thing and doesn't happen very many places. So I'd say that first -- I would say we did
have patents and so on. We have never sued anyone over those things,
although we have been sued many, many times ourselves; and, yet, somehow we have been
successful. So I do think that there is an element in technology and software moving
really quickly and innovating and actually doing new stuff rather than just trying to
use the legal system to prevent other people from doing things.
>>Eric Schmidt: Okay. Go ahead. >>> This is a question for both of you. How
have your management styles changed at each size of the company as it scaled from small,
20, 30, 40 employees, up to today? >>Eric Schmidt: I'd say we're a lot smarter
in how we manage -- One of the things about Google that's always sort of bothered me is
Google has always had this reputation of sort of the craziness. But, in fact, the internals
of the company are just remarkably tightly managed. And it is always a surprise to people.
If you look at the quality, the way our sales force is run, the analytical nature of the
decisions, we are very much at the state-of-the-art, probably the best in the world, in my humble
opinion. So I think we as a management team developed
systematic ways of managing innovation at scale using data analytics that are the envy
of the world. Once everybody kind of buys into that, the
environment becomes much less political. People can't throw random facts around without proof.
And we encourage all of this. I think Larry -- while you are thinking about how you want
to answer this, I would say Larry's contribution which has not been told is Larry has a particularly
good judgment around sort of the ability of somebody to enter such a highly intense environment.
It is a particularly good skill for recruiting. And I think when you try to think about assembling
corporations and obviously this is an ad for ourselves of the kind of people who can do
this, you need the kind of person who is quick and smart but also able to change their views
based on new facts. >>Larry Page: Yeah, I was just going to say
recently I reorganized a bit to focus on product areas. I think any company as it grows, if
the company is not static -- which it shouldn't be -- as it grows and it changes, you need
to reorganize it. The question is: Are you keeping ahead of
it? And looking at the -- our business, it is pretty complicated. We have all these different
products. And we have advertising, we have search. We have Chrome. We have Android. We
have YouTube and so on. And those things are actually relatively different
and have different -- different things going on.
So I think I kind of moved that up a level in the company and made sure we are super
focused in each of those areas on what our user experience was. And I think that's helped.
Just generally, as you switch to a company -- as we got more offices, as we got time
zone differences, we had to change how we did our meetings, change how we do our employee
communications and so on. So I just think in a technology business growing rapidly,
you just need to make sure you are changing everything. You are being responsive to that
change and changing everything every year or else you are just not keeping up with it.
>>Eric Schmidt: The other final comment is when you are growing as fast as we did, most
of your executives in our case were probably in their 30s. So I tend to think of them as
when we hired them at that age. But five years later, they are battled scared veterans of
our industry. So building that knowledge base and keeping those employees and particularly
those executives who can move so quickly is a real art and fundamental, I think, to the
success of fast growing high tech companies. Why don't we go over here.
>>> I was just thinking when you are saying the company is 13 years old, that means you're
in your corporate adolescence, which is shocking considering the size. And then if you think
of Ray Kurzweil, that technology evolves exponentially, where are you going to be in another 13 years
or 20 years? I mean, can you even envision that?
>>Eric Schmidt: Well, one way to do the math is to simply assume that Moore's Law will
continue. Moore's Law is roughly doubling every two years, which turns out to be roughly
a thousand times in 20 years. So pretty, pretty amazing numbers.
>>Larry Page: You will have a google in your pocket.
>>Eric Schmidt: Yeah, and so the ability to ask questions when you have that amount of
computing power with all the telemetry and knowing everything going on in the world realtime
is tantalizing, absolutely tantalizing what will be possible.
>>Larry Page: And some speakers have talked about it but the automated car stuff is a
good example of the possibility. And this is a scenario where I just had some interest
since I was a grad student. It seemed pretty practical actually.
I mean, you think that driving a car is hard, but it is not actually that hard for a computer
and if the computer actually has good data, like about what's around it.
>>Eric Schmidt: Our computers drive your car better than you do when you are drunk.
>>Larry Page: I hope so. >>Eric Schmidt: Right?
>>Larry Page: I hope so. [ Laughter ]
>>Eric Schmidt: That's our starting point. [ Laughter ]
>>Larry Page: Or when you are 16 or when you are really old.
[ Laughter ] But they actually work better -- I think they
will work substantially better than an average person and get better from there and continue
improving, as was mentioned. You get a software update and your car will be safer, right,
which is great. So I think just looking at the potential there,
there's -- the issues we have in a lot of these areas are that people aren't working
on them. And, you know, in fact, before the DARPA Grand Challenge that happened, there
was very few people working in the area. The grand challenge gave it a big contest,
got more people working in it. Then when we asked the people who were working in the area,
why don't we have an automated car? Why can't I buy one? It should be a great thing to be
able to do. There is something like 3 million people killed worldwide a year in auto accidents.
I mean, there is a lot of people that die and a lot more that are injured.
And there is a lot of other benefits you get from the automation, too, that people spend
two hours a day in the U.S. commuting, which is a huge amount of time that they don't need
to be spending. They could be doing useful things during that time or watching TV or
looking at ads or whatever. [ Laughter ]
>>Larry Page: So -- but, anyway, we asked people why aren't you doing it? They said
we can't actually figure out how to do it. There are regulatory issues and all these
other kind of things. So I think part of our roles as a catalyst
is to make sure that some of these things actually start up and happen, and make sure
we push through the difficult issues to make it real.
>>Eric Schmidt: I think it is a privilege to be at Google in the sense that one of the
privileges is that the gross margins are high enough that we can afford some of these things
to a reasonable scale. And other companies are not so fortunate.
Yes, sir? >>> With that said, I mean, obviously there
is a lot of ideas and opportunities here. How does Google set boundaries and focus for
their businesses so they don't get lost like so many companies have before you?
>>Larry Page: Yeah, I mean, I have done a lot of thinking about other companies and
how they have succeeded or failed and tried to really be a student of that.
I think most companies, as they add people, they don't do more things. So just as a first
approximation, if a company doubles in headcount over time, typically it has much the same
business as it had before. And so I think that's somewhat frustrating both for the company
to grow and for the people inside and all that.
So, you know, we've tried to actually maintain kind of a linear number there, as we are adding
people, we're adding businesses. And I think that's challenging at our scale.
But I think it is a really good goal to have. But these things that we're adding need to
be significant, right? They can't just be, "We're going to do horoscopes or something."
[ Laughter ] >>Eric Schmidt: Go ahead.
>>> Back in the '90s, the big giants, the gorillas, the sort of secretive companies
were IBM and Motorola way back when. And when they did things, everybody in the industry
would jump. Somehow that mental shifted over in the oughts to Microsoft and AT&T which
are still kind of wearing that mental. We have had a little bit of light joking here
about "Google is becoming a little Microsoft-like and so forth."
>>Eric Schmidt: I have an opinion on that question.
>>> Exactly. [ Laughter ]
>>> There has been a little bit of kerfuffle about the real names policy on Google+, which
turned into the nim wars, if you look that up.
In this new world, if you do really want to be trustworthy, a piece of that is openness
and transparency. And there is some openness and transparency here. But another piece of
it seems to be about intent and authenticity and maybe even vulnerability in different
ways. What are you doing to communicate better than
you do now? Because when I see the nim wars transaction happening out there, I see you
not being heard or not communicating well. I see communities not really engaged there
properly so this can simply be resolved in a really great way for both parties, or for
all parties. I don't think there is one answer that makes everybody happy. But I think there
is a way to conduct the conversation that might be a lot better.
>>Larry Page: I actually see this as our responsibility to some extent. We had a panel on media and
so on this morning. I think that we as important people are trying to improve the Internet
and how it works. I think it is important for the Internet and
that whole ecosystem, information, how it's shared, how it's analyzed and so on to work
better. And I think there is a lot of -- if you ask anyone about how that information
is getting propagated, how people are deciding what to focus on and all those kind of things,
I think it could work a lot better than it does now.
And so I see the issues we have with communication as being a special case, kind of the world
as a whole. If you ask any company that question, they will have similar issues. Or if you ask
any politician or anybody who's dealing -- who is in that public eye. So I think we as an
Internet community, we have a responsibility to make those things work a lot better and
to get people focused on what are the real issues, what should you be thinking about.
And I think we as a whole are not doing a good job of that at all.
>>Eric Schmidt: Go ahead. >>> Since this conference is so much about
innovation -- and we all appreciate how important competition is to all of that -- let's say
you had just made a new acquisition of a greeting card company and you were sitting down with
the management team and they gave you an assignment of writing a get-well card to Yahoo! What
would that say? [ Laughter ]
>>Eric Schmidt: I think that -- I appreciate your question.
[ Laughter ] >>Eric Schmidt: I think as a good policy Google,
Google should talk about Google. And aside from my snide comments about one of our former
competitors, we should keep our mouths shut. With respect to Yahoo!, Yahoo! has both been
a partner and a competitor for Google for a very long time. And I think that they need
to sort out their leadership issues, which I know they are working very hard on. And
I think that's probably all we should really say.
Go ahead. >>> So my question is with regards to on the
scale Google is going to be growing at. We are all aware of how it's grown, thinking
about the Moore's Law and it is just going to go exponentially higher.
In this process, you would require very, very high-quality talent and students coming out
of great universities. Now, I know this is an incredibly challenging
thing that's confronting you guys because it is not like Stanford is also admitting
an exponentially higher number of students or the best universities.
What's your plan? What are you guys thinking? Is this something that's bothering you at
this stage? >>Eric Schmidt: Always.
>>Larry Page: Yeah. I have been hassling universities that they should be growing more. And they
are working on that in various ways. I do think it is a fundamental issue with the higher
education, although we did see numberses this morning that the numbers are increasing a
lot over time. We do have a very serious issue about people
being excited about going into technology and computer science specifically.
Will.i.am and I were talking about that at lunch. We were saying, how do make being a
computer scientist sexy? How do we get people to actually want to do that?
I actually made the point that I think some of the base technologies are very kludgey.
It is kind of a hazing thing. You have to learn these special command line things with
weird names and so on. I guess it is Eric's fault actually.
But I think we could do a lot to make the actual core technology more accessible, combined
more with art and the beautiful aspects of it and get that all going and more accessible
to people. That would have a huge impact. >>Eric Schmidt: There is a lot of diversion
away from what we need, and we need to stop that. I think the other thing is the mindless
and stupid policy that we have with respect to immigration of smart people into America
needs to get fixed. And it is a national crisis. Why don't we finish up with the questions
-- folks who are standing right here. You can -- You can be the last one, too. And that
will be -- We are going to run over time. I want to make sure we accommodate everybody's
questions. Steve, go ahead.
>>> So when I talk about Google, which was generous enough to cooperate with me when
I wrote a book, I got asked two questions. John Battelle sort of took over the first
one. The second one is that people asked me is, What is the biggest threat to Google's
continued success? So to help me get it from the horse's mouth, how should I answer that?
>>Larry Page: Google. >>Eric Schmidt: The problems -- the problems
in a company of Google's scale are always internal at some level.
>>Larry Page: That's why I said Google. [ Laughter ]
>>> Actually, I have been saying something like that. So thank you.
>>Eric Schmidt: Larry, actually, you didn't sort of talk about your management memo.
But one of the things that he did after he became CEO and correcting all the messes that
I handed to him, were -- he wrote a very, very defined memo about innovation, how decisions
are made and so forth. And it's a -- it's large companies are their
own worst enemy, because, internally, they know what they should do, but they don't do
it. And, if I may say, my business partner and close friend, Larry, what does he do all
day? He's doing that. He's in there forcing the discussion, forcing the choice, and forcing
the resolution, sort of with his unique talents. And I think that's -- that will, ultimately,
determine how hugely successful Google is or not.
>>Larry Page: One of the interesting things we noticed is companies correlate on decision
making and speed of decision making. There are, basically, no companies that have good
slow decisions. There are only companies that have good fast decisions. And so I think that's
also a natural thing. As companies get bigger, they tend to slow down decision making. And
that's pretty tragic. >>> Thanks a lot.
>>> The acquisition of Motorola has given you access to an important trove. But Motorola
is also the largest manufacturer of set top boxes in America, which also gives you an
interesting springboard into digital television. Was that part of the strategy?
>>Larry Page: It's certainly something we considered, yes.
[ Laughter ] >>Eric Schmidt: We have to be careful. Because,
under the rules, we can't really talk about Motorola. But I will tell you, when we both
looked at Motorola, the quality of their feature products, but also what's coming in the future
is amazing stuff. So hold that question until we see that coming out. Go ahead.
>>> Looking back at these 13 years, which ones do you consider the biggest mistakes?
>>Eric Schmidt: Year 7? No, just kidding. Prime numbers. no.
>>Larry Page: I remember we, initially, did not get a Yahoo! deal actually for ads way
back when. And we, actually, were kind of debating what to do. And we didn't have that
much money, and we were going to have to spend more money than we had. So I, actually, think
we made a big mistake in not having enough capital available in order to do that. And
that caused a whole series of other things. >>Eric Schmidt: I think, when companies grow
as fast as Google does, you -- it's hard to sort of look back and say what was the best
year or the worst year. They're all good, right? And whatever mistakes you made, you
made because you were winning somewhere else. So you can't really sort of look at it in
isolation. I can think about, in my contribution to the company, obviously, I worked hard.
And I should have done 10 things. But what was I doing? Oh, I was busy working on these
other things, which worked out really well. So I think you have to judge in total. And
the total story is a good one, as we're all right here.
>>Larry Page: That's the frustrating thing about businesses is you don't get to run them
the other way. There's no control experiments you can run.
>>Eric Schmidt: By the way, Larry, you're the only person in the world who would ever
say that. [ Laughter ]
>>Eric Schmidt: Sir, you're going to have the honor of the last question.
>>> This one will be a good one. It won't be a question. Just a great bravo. I was talking
to Arianna. Is she here by any chance? >>> She was just here.
>>> We were having lunch. And I was fortunate to have lunch with her. And everyone heard
the conversation between Ted and Arianna. So I'll throw something out to you we talked
about. If that conversation happened back in time
with Rosa Parks, kind of stealing from the mayor, and the argument was the news the way
it's being produced today -- we'll go back in time. If you had a camera crew and you
followed Rosa Parks and you entered the bus, you captured the story, put it on the network,
phenomenal story, 1-hour documentary. The advantage you have is that story -- I
live in New York. We have 168 different languages, five different boroughs. Can you imagine how
that story would be translated being sent to mobile and social and the ramifications
of how that would impact society? So, when news people talk about journalism,
they really mean societal change. So I think that before connected TV, before the 80% world
gets connected, where you'll play with media -- I represent local TV -- is a story will
start. And through the Android and through -- not just saying this to be nice. But through
Google+, because Facebook won't let us embed content and make money -- I'll say that again
-- Facebook won't let us embed content and make money, you will. You have the chance
to have the droids talk to the community, the community give us information back, and
Google+ to be facilitator. >>Eric Schmidt: Thank you. I like to think
about in my lifetime how much information is now current.
I grew up during the Vietnam War. The negotiation that ended up ending the Vietnam War consisted
of letters going through the Pakistani embassy that took a week and a half to go back and
forth. Just think about it. Think about the '60s and the red phone and Russia and so forth.
So over a 50-year period, the impact of communications and knowledge is so much more profound than
any of us can possibly imagine. I think, if you take the vision that Larry laid out, which
we all fully support and are running with him to make happen, the changes in society
in the next 50 years will be equally as dramatic. Larry?
>>Larry Page: Yeah. Maybe we should get people to their planes and all.
>>Eric Schmidt: Thank you, all.