Make no mistake: Larry Page is in charge. Today, he showed it.We were beginning to worry — since he took over, there have been a bunch of press reports and books describing him as a recluse, a little bit shy, a little bit arrogant. Insiders say he’s not communicating as much now as he did in his first weeks.
On his first earnings call as CEO, he spoke for a couple minutes and didn’t stick around for the Q&A session — almost like he was embarrassed to be there. Or worse, bored.
Today couldn’t have been more different. He kicked off with a solid speech about why Google is in such a great position — and then posted the whole thing, verbatim, to his Google+ account. (Talk about dogfooding!)
Then he stuck around to answer questions, and even occasionally interjected where he wasn’t expected or invited.
In his speech, and again during the Q&A, he said he thinks of Google in three parts:
- Search and advertising, which drive revenue today and are therefore still a huge area of focus.
- Popular consumer products like Android, YouTube, and the Chrome browser. That’s an area of investment now, but he’s confident that they will figure out how to monetise them — just like they figured out how to monetise search back when everybody said it was a dead-end business.
- Long-term investments like Google+, Offers, and other local products, which are just rolling out now.
He also compared Google to a toothbrush: he wants people to use the company’s products twice a day, every day.
Throughout it all, he was relaxed and even a little bit funny. He seemed to be enjoying himself, like when he answered a question about whether Google manages for the company’s stock price:
We have a lot of things to do at Google, and we don’t control our stock price. You guys control that.
(Of course, it’s easy to relax when you just posted a monster quarter.)
Former Google employees who worked with Page regard him as a genius. But his reluctance to engage the outside world made it hard to understand what they were talking about. Hopefully, today marks the beginning of a change.
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