Photo: Keith Powers
On a personal level, I found them to be pretty easy going and approachable. Sergey has a wicked sense of humour and Larry always struck me as very sincere. When they were operating in “executive mode,” however, they often drove me crazy – largely because I was a 41-year-old traditional company middle manager before I went to Google. I had a lot of pre-conceived ideas they were happy to disabuse me of. That was painful, though ultimately useful.
I think the more intelligent, open minded, curious, and energetic you are, the easier you’ll find it to synch with them. They don’t like people saying “no” rather than “here’s a better way to do that” and they don’t get hung up on your title or tenure if the idea you propose is a good one.
Don’t expect to garner all of their attention in a conversation and don’t get too attached to your own ideas, even though you might be convinced they’re the perfect answers to the problem at hand. Back up all your assertions with data. And if you see indications you’re wasting their time (like Larry counting the seconds passing out loud), get to the point immediately. The point made in the other answers about thinking big is also right on the money.
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