What Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes learned from Google's 'ballsy' restructure

Google surprised many by restructuring its operations, and launching a new parent company, Alphabet, earlier this month.

Plenty of opinions have been expressed about Google’s massive overhaul, which split its core search business out from long-term bets like smart device division Nest, human longevity research Calico and city reinvention section Footpath.

Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes told Business Insider it was a “super-ballsy move” which he loved.

“I give them huge credit to be ballsy enough to make those changes because that’s got to be hard because the bigger the company is the harder it is to do that sort of stuff. It’s one of the advantages of having founders still in control and be able to make those decisions and focus on the long term, not the short term. There’s definitely lessons in there,” he said.

“We’ll keep making ballsy decisions and focus on the long term, not the short term. We’ve always been very long term focused and we’ll make sure that we’ll keep doing that.”

Cannon-Brookes said he was watching the reorganisation to see how it played out.

“Whenever you see those big companies take risks and innovate, push and continue to change at speed that’s really, really, really hard to do,” he said.

“Facebook and Google, they’re both doing a very good job at that and that’s incredibly difficult. I think it’s wonderful that they’re tackling some of these big problems, I think I’m confused as the rest of the world as to how it all fits together or why it all fits together.”

He explained splitting out the business into crazy stuff which could change the world and the money printing machine that is search makes it clearer to investors what they’re backing.

“The bull case is now people really understand all the things that they’ve got in those boxes. Why they split things out is really interesting and what they put inside Google, like Android, and what they put outside Google, like Nest,” Cannon-Brookes said.

“The bull case is people understand that now and have prescribed it more value which is why it went up. The bear case is that they believe that all that other stuff is going to get spun off into separate companies. You’ll have to ask a financial analyst which of those two cases is more likely to happen.”

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