Web 2.0 Summit: Eric Schmidt

I’ve decided to do selected postings for top speakers rather than a daily round-up. Here are my takeaways from Eric Schmidt’s speech yesterday. Quotes are paraphrased (and parens are me).

  • “We start with serving users better. We don’t want to build switching costs. We want to provide number portability … for example, let you export your search history to another search engine.” (I remain amazed by how unconcerned Google is with their current zero-switching costs for end users.)
  • “Don’t bet against the Internet.”
  • “Is it better to buy software from a software company or from someone running a 24×7 data center? Clearly, the latter because it’s in constant use and it works.” (Key theme emerging at this conference is: to run on someone’s platform used to mean running on top of their software APIs; in the future, it will mean running in their hosted data center. Both Google and Amazon are pushing this direction.)
  • “We are not targeting the Office Suite with Writely, Google Calendar et cetera … we are targeting casual sharing vs. professional users …. to the extent that for small businesses that’s all they need … ” (He refused to admit the total contradiction he made, much to the amusement of the audience.)
  • Battelle: “who wins in an argument at Google, an engineer or an ad salesguy?” Schmidt: “the engineer.”
  • “We have a 70/20/10 focus on core/adjacent/new markets.”
  • “20% of engineers’ time is spent on new, creative projects.”
  • “A big change in the last year is that we’ve focused on becoming being partners, working with other players, and not just being a technology upstart.”
  • “We focus on innovation in advertising models … working in radio and newspapers (aggregation and auctions) as well on online … you could imagine us building tools for agencies to use to do better cross-media planning.”
  • On how they retain/hire bright people: “people work for impact, not money.” (Easy to say when they’re swimming in money at the same time.)
  • “We execute our strategy process by posing 29 questions … and then setting up teams to answer them.”

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