Googlers and ex-Googlers say the company’s new CEO, cofounder Larry Page, is an unpretentious, rude person who will find interacting with other people the most challenging part of his new job.
They say his next biggest challenge will be keeping an eye on revenues, profits, and the other numbers that Wall Street and “traditional MBA types” obsess over.
But these people also describe Page as “brilliant” – an “intellectually honest person” with a “vision stronger than arguably anyone in the industry.”
In anecdote that highlights Page’s strengths and weaknesses, one source described what it’s like to be in one of Google’s top secret, super-important “operating committee” meetings with Page.
[Now departing CEO] Eric [Schmidt] was very much in control. Larry and Sergey would sit right in the middle of the table – 18 people in the room – and they’d sit there and look at their screens clicking away and paying attention intermittently until Eric would say, “Larry, Sergey, I need you to focus on this.”
And then they would focus. And then they’d go back to what they were doing.
They were like two little kids in the room who were brilliant and carried the vision and are quick enough studies that as soon as they focused, it’d take them 30 seconds to get back to where everyone else was. They’d state an opinion and if the three of them came to a consensus right then and there with whatever it was – 18 or 25 people in the room – great.
If not, Eric would say, “We’re gonna take this offline.” And that means he meets with Larry and Sergey
later that day and they figure it out.
One ex-Googler says Page is “kind of a jerk, but everyone respects [him] because he is, again, the most intellectually honest person you will ever meet.”
Page is an “ego-maniacal arsehole,” says another source.
Now, before you write Page off as a misanthrope that’s going to ruin Google, remember: People used to say the similarly awful things about Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Each are arrogant, unfriendly geniuses with little respect for Wall Street and traditional “business.” But each have also changed the world with beloved products – and created billions of dollars of wealth for themselves and their shareholders in the process.
On the other hand, one famous tech founder everyone loves to work with is former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang. Shareholders aren’t as happy with how he ran his company when finally he got his turn.