larry page

If there’s a company I’d work for just because of its leadership, it would be Google.  Larry Page and Sergey Brin are just on another level when it come to thinking about technology, the world and our future.  If we think like ants, they think like giants.  I learn something new every time I hear them speak, and the latest Fireside Chat with Vinod Khosla is no exception.  If you haven’t, see the insightful 42-minute interview as soon as you can:

Khosla had remarked (at around the 13:50 mark) how scary it was that technology and machines are displacing a lot of the work that people used to do and what that meant for jobs.  Page pointed out that 90% of people used to be farmers, and Khosla then added that today the number is 2%.  Page goes on to elaborate how we should be living in abundance, and that in actuality it’s pretty easy to meet everyone’s basic needs, but we’d have a new challenge in giving people something to do.  I agree and disagree with his hypothesis.

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Yesterday, I wrote about how difficult it is to make decisions based on either business analysis or product vision. It’s a tension most large technology companies struggle to balance.

Of all the leaders I’ve read about, Larry Page of Google seems to have the best approach to addressing that tension with his moonshots strategy.

A quick recap: “moonshots” in Google are projects that aim to achieve 10x improvements vs. say, 10%.  10% means you’re doing what everyone else is doing.  You probably won’t fail, but you won’t break new ground either.  To disrupt an industry, you need more than a 10% increment, you need a 1000% quantum leap.  The only way to do that is to re-think everything, re-examine assumptions everyone else forgot to challenge.

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