Photo: Flickr / Robert Scoble
Google currently has about 60,000 full time employees and tens of thousands more contractors.Google CEO Larry Page dreams of scaling the company “10X” to a million employees, he told Wired’s Steven Levy at the end of a magnificent interview.
“We’re a medium-size company in terms of employee count. We have tens of thousands of employees. There are organisations out there that have millions of employees. That’s a factor of a hundred, basically. So imagine what we could do if we had a hundred times as many employees.”
“Doesn’t Walmart have more than a million employees? OK, maybe it’s not important for us to have a million employees, but I like to think that we could build companies that are really scalable to that size. We could add people and still be really innovative. That would be great for us. We’re one of the bigger companies of the world, and I’d like to see us do more stuff—not just do what somebody else has done, but something new.”
It would be lovely if Google could find a way to enter into human capital intensive businesses and see them pay off.
Lately, tech companies have been great at creating wealth – but not jobs.
As was noted last Sunday in a 60 minutes piece on how robots are destroying the American workforce, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google combined have combined market cap close to $1 trillion. But they employ fewer than 150,000 people combined. That’s less than the number of people entering the US workforce every month.
Hiring a ton of people would cut severely into Google’s juicy profit margins. This would piss off shareholders. But in some parts of the world, the point of a corporation isn’t only to please shareholders. In Japan, corporations serve three constituencies equally: employees, customers, and owners. (This is one of Henry Blodget’s favourite topics.)
Here’s the 60 minutes segment: