Tag: Google

When Jonathan Rosenberg arrived at Google in 2002 to oversee the company’s product and marketing organization, he and then-CEO Eric Schmidt realized they needed to learn business rules that make companies successful in the Internet age.

Rosenberg, now adviser to Google’s new CEO Sundar Pichai, recently came to Washington University to share what he learned during his 13-year stint at the tech giant.

In his speech, titled “How Google Works: The Rules for Success in the Internet Century,” Rosenberg described how Google grew from a startup with a few hundred employees to one of the most recognized companies in the world whose products and services are used by hundreds of millions of people every day.

You can watch the entire speech here and learn more about How Google Works here.

Using many entertaining anecdotes, Rosenberg provided insights into how Google attracts smart creatives, how to create an environment where talent can thrive and what being “Googly” really means. Working closely with then-CEO Larry Page, for example, Rosenberg said he quickly learned to adopt moonshot thinking after Page told him, “You have failed by virtue of small thinking.”

Because of the nature of word of mouth online, the success of Angry Birds, Instagram and other startups proves that products and services can get traction without a lot of marketing due to the ubiquitous nature of word of mouth online, Rosenberg said.

“Marketing can accelerate people’s existing belief,” Rosenberg said. “What it can’t do is convince people that a crummy product is worth buying.”

This David R. Calhoun Memorial Lecture was a joint initiative of the School of Engineering & Applied Science and the Olin Business School.

Guest blogger: Ben Bathke

On Thursday, Feb. 4, Jonathan Rosenberg, former senior VP of products at Google, delivered a fast-paced synopsis of his book “How Google Works,” co-authored with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Google’s secrets to innovation (paraphrased in my frantically scrawled notes) are provided below. I recommend you read the book. Or stay tuned for a video interview with Rosenberg produced by our colleagues at the School of Engineering – coming to WashU websites soon.

  • Focus on small teams, minimize “hippos” (highest paid person’s opinion). You’re looking for smart creatives who have the business savvy and persistence to produce in a fast-paced environment.
  • Exile knaves and fight for divas. When someone reveals themselves as a bad egg, believe them.
  • Focus on technical insights that make products better. Strategies can be just a bunch of words.
  • When you hire, be personally engaged and look for passion.
  • Companies have lots of data. Start discussions by sharing information, not opinions.
  • Set aggressive goals. If you make goals that you’re pretty sure you’ll reach, then you fail by virtue of small thinking.

Rosenberg is the parent of a WashU engineering student. He spoke to a standing-room-only audience of students and alumni in Emerson Auditorium, Knight Hall.

View full lecture below:

One commonality that I’ve noticed at almost all of our company visits is the philosophy of giving back to their community. On the simplest level, all of the companies strive to support Israel economically, but at Google we were able to see how much action they divert to doing great things for the people of Tel Aviv.

Guest blogger: Jameson is a sophomore at Wash U

They created an entire floor dubbed “Campus: Tel Aviv” that is a free space anyone can use to host events to increase the number of connections and networks that can be made and expanded in the Israeli entrepreneurial world. In addition, Google itself started hosting certain events in this space that they invited people too. The range and target audience of the events showed how much thought they put into their drive to support the community. They established events for women in business that the moms could bring their kids to and showcases for how to integrate technology in the agriculture industry. In addition, they partner with several schools and universities to ensure that the future generations are just as talented and passionate.

I think this fact stems from Israelis’ massive national pride and deep cultural morals. The Israeli business leaders are often times the ones that drove the decisions for big multinational companies to create an R&D center in Israel. Intel is a notable example that we’ve frequently discussed, but I’m sure there are many more similar stories that most people don’t even know about. It is their love for their country that drove their decision making and supporting everything Israeli even if they were working and living in America. Additionally, the principle of tzedakah is wide spread in Judaism religion and beliefs, so this amount of overwhelming support for the rest of the people of Israel is no surprise to me.

“Tech it Easy.” This is the slogan written on the wall of the room at Tel Aviv Google Campus where a Google representative talked to us about this R&D center for the world famous company. Not only is this a catchy pun, but also it truly encapsulates the atmosphere at Google Campus.

Guest Blogger: Anna is a sophomore at WashU

Google has beautiful work spaces so employees are happy at work. This includes delicious and healthy breakfasts and lunches that allow employees to mingle with co-workers, furthering friendships and sharing of ideas. There are even countless amenities: gym, washing machine, postal service, and even a barber that comes once a week! It was also an honor to hear from the manager of the Google Tel Aviv R&D center and amusing to see him wearing jeans and black T-shirt when he oversees over 600 Google employees.

I learned about components/abilities of Google that I didn’t even know existed such as Google Sites (where one can create his/her own website hosted by Google). I was also intrigued by the 20% Project which allows employees to work on their own side projects 20% of their time. This feeds into the entrepreneurial culture that is so present in Israel, allowing people to think on their own independently apart from their main Google assignments. Remarkable projects have come out of this, including digitizing Yad Vashem records and the Dead Sea Scrolls, preserving them forever and making them widely available electronically. This seems so different than many work environments that are more possessive of employees and are structured hierarchically such that those at the top have more latitude for innovation than those expected to complete assigned tasks.

When the Google representative was asked his favorite thing about working at Google, he answered simply: the people (the same reason I picked WashU). It’s no wonder it’s so difficult to get a job at Google because, as the representative described, everyone who works there is strong professionally/technically and highly motivated, but also has fun hobbies and is interesting and personable. Being well rounded is so important in any industry – it’s not good enough to just be really good at computer technology or only being able to communicate with people: to work for Google you need both. Google understands that the value of technical and intellectual talents is compromised without equally compelling personal and interpersonal qualities.

While I think more fields (and colleges) today appreciate that success depends on the entire person, not just their intelligence, I imagine few professions look for these qualities as thoroughly as Google does. I am reminded of a physician who cannot communicate with or comfort a patient or a professor who excels in research but cannot teach – both likely compromise the work they perform and the consumers they serve.

I was also made aware of the many social movements Google has led. We have learned from so many places (the news, VCs, Start Up Nation, etc) how the many Orthodox Jews and Arabs in Israel are under-employed. Google provides programs for both of these groups through Kama-Tech (for Orthodox Jews) and Palestinian High-Tech Trade Mission.

Google additionally helps bridge the gap between the number of men and women in high tech by both creating Yazamiot, a women’s entrepreneurial movement, and Mind the Gap, a program that encourages high school girls to major in computer science. I appreciate the way Google is reaching out to different underprivileged groups of people without gaining any immediate reward in return. Just as Google regards employees as “whole” people, the company seems to consider the whole environment in which it operates and engages that environment. How fitting for a company that offers such an interactive product to value interaction in all aspects of its operation.

Image: Google headquarters in Tel Aviv.

On our second day of classes at the Israel Summer Business Academy (ISBA), we were off to Google Israel, located right in the heart of Tel Aviv. Class was held in “Campus TLV”, a portion of the Google office dedicated to entrepreneurs who come to work on their ideas within the confines of a very creative space. We, too, got our creativity flowing as we worked in teams to talk about what we believe has made Israel the innovative nation it is today, and what our definitions of an entrepreneur and innovation are.

After class, we were taken on a tour of the Google offices. From the oranges to the arcade, and even the workout area, I was so impressed with all of the different floor themes. I also loved the signs posted on all of the doors with various health and nutrition facts. It was fascinating listening to Yossi Matias, the head of Research and Development for Google Israel. To learn that the Israelis are responsible for the suggestions that pop up every time I make a Google search and that the World Cup scores are being updated in their office was very cool. I am so happy we had the opportunity to visit there!

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing work and relaxing under the sun. A group of us  had a nice dinner just down the road and topped it off with some delicious Italian style gelato. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s discussion of Israel’s venture capitalist firms and can’t wait to try the highly praised chocolate at Max Brenner.

Carly Bloom is a sophomore at Olin Business School and a member of the first class in Olin’s Israel Summer Business Academy.