Alphabet is a name Larry Page wanted employees — not consumers — to be proud of, said the Alphabet CEO in a rare public appearance Monday at the Fortune Global Forum event.
In his first remarks since the creation of Google’s parent company earlier this year, Page spoke to the company’s ambitions, both for employees and its impact on the world.
“The idea wasn’t to have a consumer brand in the way that Google is but to have a brand for companies to be part of. It’s really for employees and for investors,” Page said.
A bad experience during a consulting internship made Page realise that most people don’t wake up and start their day saying “I want to go work for a company.” That “seems silly” to Page.
“I think we have to be more ambitious, we have to do things that matter for people. We have to do less things that are zero sum games and more things that cause a lot of benefit,” Page said.
The structure of Alphabet as a parent company that includes Google, Nest, and other projects is intended to promote that.
Page’s new job means he will split his time spending capital on projects while looking to create and buy new ones. Under Page’s purview, Alphabet subsidiaries control the world’s largest search engine (Google), a smart home manufacturer (Nest), a self-driving car project, an internet balloon project, and a venture capital arm. And that’s just the beginning.
“I think my job is to create a scale that we haven’t quite seen from other companies,” Page said. “How we invest all that capital, and so on.”
It’s not a total departure from what Google had been doing in recent years. Page acknowledged that there had been some confusion about how Google was structured already. People would wonder why Nest wasn’t running Google ads, but the company had been operating pretty independently.
“We didn’t have a way to explain it to people. Part of it was just us representing reality,” Page said. “It’s amazing a lot of people’s reactions in the company were like ‘oh my god that’s so obvious.'”
Alphabet is now that explanation, but also the company that Page hopes entrepreneurs will wake up and be excited to work for. He’s built this company with the sole challenge of attracting the best people to change the world with projects that matter.
“Can we push the envelope of what’s possible for a company that’s innovative, a company with large resources, to really do things that matter, to innovate and for that to be a significant thing?” Page said. “That’s what I’m excited about now.”
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