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 […]

My sister’s a quilter and Google mugged her!

On my home page you’ll always see a link to Portrait Quilts, my sister’s web site where for several years she has sold quilts, pillows, and tote bags printed with customer photographs. This is how she makes her living, selling on the web and through photo stores. Buy one, please. Or if you are a quilter she’ll print your photos on cloth so you can quilt them yourself.

Then approximately three months ago Google decided that Portrait Quilts does not exist.

You can find a Google listing for, if you search for that specific string, but if you look for photo quilts or any similar search term, Portrait Quilts — which for years was always the top result — no longer […]

Prediction 7: A new Microsoft CEO

Steve Ballmer has always been nice to me. I can’t say we have much of a relationship, but the half dozen times I have interviewed him have always gone well and he tries to please, which I appreciate. But (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) Ballmer has failed at Microsoft and I believe 2012 will see him replaced as Redmond’s CEO.

During Ballmer’s term Microsoft’s stock has gone nowhere and it lost to Apple its position as America’s most valuable technology company.  While the company is wildly profitable and will remain so for years to come, those profits still come, for the most part, from two stalwart products from the 1990s — Windows and Office — […]

Getting my GroupOn

My last column was about Eric Schmidt losing his CEO job at Google and how that company’s failed bid for GroupOn may have been a factor in Schmidt’s demise.  Weep not for Eric, who lasted in the CEO position for 10 years and earned $5.6 billion, which puts every other U.S. CEO to shame, even Steve Jobs. It’s interesting to consider Schmidt’s career arc and how he got where he is (isn’t?) today.

Eric Schmidt started his post-academic work life at Sun Microsystems where he loved all the smart people but was ultimately frustrated by management that he felt was simply not as smart as he.  Remember Scott McNealy was in charge of Sun […]

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?


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 […]