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Ten Ways CEO Larry Page Has Changed Google in the Last Year
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2012-04-02 11:51
April 4th is Larry Page's one year anniversary as Google CEO; consider how profoundly his leadership has transformed Google in just one year.
- From Unconventional to Conventional: In Google's 2004 Founder's IPO letter, Mr. Page started by saying: "Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one." Eight years later, most all of Mr. Page's management changes in the last year have been to adopt more conventional business practices: focusing the company via Google+ integration and eliminating non-core or underperforming units; ending management by committee and instituting top-down management hierarchy and control; using advertising to strengthen the brand; and increasing lobbying and political contributions to influence Government policy.
- From Google to Google+: Google used to be all about search; see Google's "Our Philosophy: Ten Things We Know to Be True; 2. It's best to do one thing really, really well. We do search." Under Mr. Page's leadership, the last year has been all about the +/plus, doing everything else really well by integrating all of Google's many dozens of products and services seamlessly together and then leveraging their growth via Google's dominant search and search advertising business. In effect, Mr. Page has effectively and tacitly changed Google's mission from "organizing the world's information" to integrating all of Google into "a single unified beautiful product across everything."
- From Engineering-Driven to Advertising-Driven: Former Googler James Whitaker's blog entitled "Why I Left Google," may be the single best public chronicle of how Google has changed as a company culture under Mr. Page's leadership. In a January talk with Google employees, Mr. Page reportedly said about Google+: "This is the path we are headed down -- a single unified, beautiful, product across everything. If you don't get that, then you should probably work somewhere else," per a Google source who attended the talk.
- From No Management to More Traditional Management: Former CEO Eric Schmidt confessed to GigaOm: "At Google, we give the impression of not managing the company, because we don't really. It sort of has its own borg-like quality, if you will. It sort of just moves forward." in stark contrast, Mr. Page instituted big management changes upon taking the helm in order to make Google more focused, streamlined, and faster to make decisions, like many other corporations.
- From High-Margin to Lower-Margin: Mr. Page's acquisition of 80 year-old Motorola, with $13b revenues and 19,000 employees will cut Google's revenue growth and profit margin by about a third.
- From Open to Closed Leadership: Possibly the most observable change is from a Kardashian-esque celebrity-tech-CEO in Mr. Schmidt, who diligently fed and cared for the Googlerati, to a reclusive CEO in Mr. Page, who has become known as one of the least-publicly-accessible CEOs to the media, shareholders, customers and government.
- From Earned Media to Paid Advertising: Arguably no other company in history has better used earned-media (free publicity) than Google to quickly build a top world brand via near constant releases of new beta products and privileged insider access to friendly tech media and book authors. Before Mr. Page became CEO, Google advertised little. Now according to the WSJ, Google has quadrupled its advertising to relatively as much as big advertisers Apple and Microsoft.
- From PR Teflon to Velcro: Google has gone from the uber-darling of the old and new media -- that could do no wrong and always enjoyed the benefit of the doubt -- to just another big corporation, which is measured less by its words, and more by its deeds and its highly public track record.