Saturday, November 11, 2006

Eric Schmidt

I attended the first CIO conference hosted by Sierra Ventures and had the pleasure of participating in a Q&A session with Eric, CEO of Google.

Eric kicked off the discussion by sharing his disappointment in the lack of sufficient media coverage on the fundamental shift that is currently underway in technology. The current move of putting data and applications in the cloud can best be compared with the shift from a centralized mainframe environment to a desktop PC environment. He encouraged everyone in the room to go out and by a $500 PC and see for ourselves how little additional software you need to be productive. Accepting that the key issue is that the paradigm does not support disconnected computing, Eric feels that this trend will only strengthen in the near future.

Answering to a question on how Writely fits in their strategy and how they expect to monetize the investment, Eric indicated that their main expectation from Writely is to better know their customer. His comment reminded me that everything I write in my blog is being stored by Google to get them to know me better. I will love to see my electronic picture in Google's eyes,

Here is a summary of the Q&A session:

Q: What is the future of search?
A: The key lies in knowing more about the customer to be able to pick the search result he or she expected from a search. For example, a user searching for "hot dog" could be looking for food stands in the neighbourhood or help for an uncomfortable dog on a beach in Florida.

Q: What do you think of the microsoft / novell partnership?
Historically, all partnerships with Microsoft fail. However, there is always a potential for a first.

Q: How will linux evolution be affected by the focus from oracle and microsoft?
The linux community is very resilient and will find a way to continue to thrive.

Q: How do you keep the Google front page clean and simple and handle requests for using the real estate?
A: Say No!

Q: On YouTube acquisition
A: Will know after the deal closes next week. YouTube was bought for two reasons - video is the next frontier and they attract a lot of eyeballs.

Q (I asked): how do you balance the fierce independence and aversion to control amongst the young employees and the compliance requirements for better controls?
A: Believes that the core principles of freedom that the county is built on will eventually roll back the efforts to assert controls.

These are all the questions I remember. I enjoyed the discussion in a small town hall format very much. Thanks to Sierra Ventures.

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