The Secret of Google X

Sergey“All politics is local,” said House Speaker Tipp O’Neill, meaning that every politician has to consider the effect that his or her positions will have on voters. What makes perfect sense on a national stage might be a disaster back in the district, where the actual voters live. And so it is, too, with big companies, where local impact is sometimes more important than national or international. Sometimes, in fact, companies can be completely re-routed solely to please or affect a single executive. I believe we are seeing precisely that right now at Google concerning Google X.

Google X is that division of the search giant responsible for self-driving cars, Google Glass, and […]

Larry Page's Manhattan Project

This week I’m at NASA’s Green Flight Challenge in our new home town of Santa Rosa, California. It’s a contest for efficient flight using alternative energy that I’ll be writing more about later in the week. Much of the $1.65 million in prize money comes from Google, the subject of this column. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Google’s strategic path under once-and-future CEO Larry Page and think I’ve got a couple things figured out. Google is right now in the process of changing, well, its process. Page is rebuilding the company but not doing a very good job of explaining himself, so I’ll just have to handle that here.

The image we all […]

By |September 27th, 2011|2011|72 Comments

Larry Page's running start: but is he running in the right direction?

A few months ago I wrote a column giving advice to Larry Page when it was announced that he would be taking-over once again as CEO of Google. Not that Google is especially in trouble, but it is a big job getting 50,000 feet marching in the same direction. In order to make that happen I urged Larry to create startups within Google. And sure enough, as he took over the top job last week and started announcing changes, one of the most radical was something very similar to the “five guys in a rented apartment” scheme I had proposed. Who knows, maybe Larry reads this rag, but probably not.

While I say Google […]

By |April 10th, 2011|2011|61 Comments

Bring me the head of Eric Schmidt!

No, Eric Schmidt didn’t step down from being CEO of Google to take Steve Jobs’s position at Apple. I’m fairly certain Schmidt was demoted. Or if he wasn’t, then he should have been.

From a strict business perspective I suppose it’s ridiculous to criticize Schmidt’s performance at Google, but that won’t stop me. The guy has done a fabulous job of optimizing search and web advertising but nearly everything else he and Google have done has been a failure. What else does Google make money from other than search and ads?

Nothing.

Yeah, but YouTube is almost profitable, right?

Hardly. While YouTube may be operating at near break-even that completely ignores the minimum $5 billion sunk and lost in […]

By |January 20th, 2011|2011|131 Comments