Eric Schmidt: 'How Google Works' Is All About the Customer Experience

Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

There is a new book on the market called ‘How Google Works’ – the brain child of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and his close company advisor Jonathan Rosenberg – shown in the above picture (Eric on the left).  The information for this article comes from an interview they did with Steven Levy, a senior writer for ‘Wired Magazine,’ while promoting their book.  They discussed many topics, but one of the most important pieces of information that Eric Schmidt wanted to get out to the public is that Google is a company that tries to make its decisions based on what will help benefit the end user…not their advertisers or even their competition.

Here we will throw out a few excepts out from the conversation so our readers can get a sense of ‘How Google Works.’  Levy came right out and asked Schmidt how Google competes in the business world where Larry Page (Google’s Co-founder) said instead of trying to make something better, you should do something new that’s ‘ten times better,’ and Schmidt answered:

“You shouldn’t do something which is a copy of somebody else.  There are two reasons for that.  One is, it’s sort of rude. But the other is that if you’re a challenger against a large scalable incumbent, you have to do something orthogonal.  In a network effect business, you have to do something different and it has to be sustainably different.”

One area they discussed that is of interest to the smartphone world are the acquisitions that Google has made, such as Motorola and then selling it off…was that a good or bad move?  Schmidt said that Google doesn’t “expect all the acquisitions to be successful. We do expect the acquisitions to give us options and some of those options really paid off very, very well, like Double Click and YouTube.”  When pressed about Motorola, both of the authors agreed that its resale to Lenovo will help Android become more a global platform and it helped bring prices down.  Schmidt ended that after all is said and done, “It wasn’t a huge success and it wasn’t a huge loss.”

The final question asked was about Amazon – the ‘How Google Works’ is published by Hachette, which is feuding with Amazon, and Amazon would not even take pre-orders for the book on the day before it was published and acted as though the book did not exist.  Schmidt answered, “We know this well.”  Levy asked him if Google would ever do that and Schmidt said, “Well, let’s ask the question: Has Google ever done that?  Has Google ever done that–in a market, exclude one competitor from an end user service?  I think the answer is no.”  It must also be noted that after the book came out, Amazon did treat it with the ‘respect’ that it deserved.

He went on to say, “…Google believes we’re organized around our end users.  You asked all these other questions, and I think my general statement is that we’ve got lots of problems and regulations and rules and politics and issues and shareholders.  But as long as you’re on the side of the user, you’ve got a pretty good answer.  That’s always been true and it’s allowed Google to get through a lot of stuff.  We’re not actually focused on the advertiser or the other competitors or so forth.  We’re focused on the user. Judge us based on that.”

Hopefully, Google does indeed internally think this way, and like Eric said, it has “allowed [them] to get through a lot of stuff” – customers are always more forgiving if they believe in the company…here is hoping that we can always believe in Google.  Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know what you think of Google as a company…as always we would love to hear from you.