Google Go-Founder Sergey Brin Concedes Lack of “Emotional Intelligence” says the New Yorker’s Ken Auletta

By on 01/22/2010 3:01 PM @beet_tv

Google co-founder Sergey Brin conceded in an interview that Google’s management lacks "emotional intelligence," said the New Yorker's
Ken Auletta, author of the best-selling book "Googled: The End of the World as We Know it."

This could be one of a number of threats and stumbling blocks ahead for Google. While Google continues to show extraordinary growth and profitability, a big fault could lie in a company run by engineers who lack the "emotional
intelligence" needed to navigate an increasingly complex world of government
intervention and public perception.

In this interview, Auletta tells me two other potential threats for Google are
Facebook and other sites which offer "vertical search" and the
government, regarding issues of privacy and concentration of power.

A partial transcript of the interview is below.

Andy Plesser, Executive Producer

Editor's Note:  Our apologies about the buzz on the audio.  

Video Transcript from 2 min. 50 sec.

Andy Plesser: So let's talk about potentially the weaknesses. You talk about in the book, towards the end, about the potential weakness of privacy, over reliance perhaps on computer based search on the PC.  What do you see as potentially their Achilles' heels? How could they fail?

Ken Auletta: Well I think they can fail in a number of ways. One, I mean I interviewed Bill Gates in 1998. I began the second chapter with this story, and I said, "Mr. Gates, what do you worry about in the future?" And I thought he would say "Apple" or "Sun Microsystems" or "Oracle" or some competitor, and instead what he said to me was, "I'll tell you what I worry about. I worry about someone in a garage inventing something I've never thought about, a new technology."

Well in 1998, in a garage, was the new technology being invented. It was the Google guys inventing search and that has become Microsoft's worst nightmare. The question then becomes, in 2010, is there a comparable technology in a garage somewhere that's being invented that could upset and upend Google.

One possibility is what's called vertical search and the idea that, for instance, Facebook, which now has 350 million worldwide users. I mean think about how efficient it is to do a search if I'm looking for a camera and I post something for my Facebook friends, "Hey, I'm thinking about this Sony or Samsung or some other camera. Have any of you used it?" and I get back twelve responses from people I know who have real experience, that's much more trustworthy and much more efficient than doing a Google search for that camera and getting 10,000 responses from strangers. So that's something they have to worry about.

They have to worry about governments. I mean all over the world. They're in brawl with China today, they're in brawl with the U.S. government over privacy issues and concentration of power issues and copyright issues. And they're in brawl with the government in France and all over the world on a variety of issues. So they've got to worry about government, which is the 800 lb. gorilla that can smack you down.

And that gets to a third concern. Engineers are not…often lack emotional intelligence. I certainly saw this at Google, in fact, at one point Sergey Brin, when I pressed him on it, he acknowledged "we lack emotional intelligence." They don't know how to gauge things they can't measure. An engineer can measure things. How do you measure fear? That people are afraid of Google's power? Or how do you measure politics in Washington? So they've been slow to respond to those concerns, and they may be slow as well to respond to public concerns about their size, as Microsoft was a decade ago. So that becomes a real potential threat to them.

Recent Videos
image
Addressable Tools Will Drive Programmatic TV, Videology’s Scott Ferber

Programmatic TV will be driven first by addressable tools, says Scott Ferber, Chairman and CEO of video advertising technology platform Videology, in an interview with Beet.TV. “The first step where programmatic and addressable will converge in the TV space is on the data side…understanding who ...

image
AOL Sees Growth in Programmatic TV with 58 Ad Campaigns Up

While programmatic TV buying operates in a just a small slice of the overall TV ad market, it is growing and advertisers are allocating budget.  AOL has some 58 advertising campaigns running in test mode, on its platform, says Bob Lord, Global CEO of AOL Platforms in this interview with Beet.TV We sat down ...

image
Out-Stream Gives Slate 10x Video Ad Boost

CHICAGO — Webzine Slate may be producing some video of its own nowadays but, as a text specialist, the outlet may never make enough to satisfy booming advertiser demand for video ad inventory. That’s why the publisher is using InRead, an ad format from vendor Teads which allows sites to inject ...

image
Cars.com’s Kraut Sees Ad Value In Data After Gannett Sale

CHICAGO — A couple of months after US news publisher Gannett finalized its purchase of the remainder of Cars.com, the autos classified site is revving up to combine data points and its new owner’s heft to sell ads. “There’s a lot of data … our advertisers would love to have the ability ...

image
AdTech Banker Kawaja: Video Ad Platforms Need To Differentiate

If you are tired of trying to distinguish one “end-to-end, full-service video targeting and decisioning” vendor from another, imagine how people from outside the digital video industry must feel. LUMA partners CEO Terence Kawaja says 2015 will see ongoing video tech momentum after the ...

image
Nielsen-Adobe Deal on Track for 2015 Digital Ratings

As consumer interest in watching authenticated TV rises, the ad business will look for better ways to measure video across screens, says Jeremy Helfand, VP Adobe Primetime at Adobe, in this interview with Beet.TV. About 10% of all authenticated TV content is viewed through an OTT device, underscoring the ...

image
WPP’s Modi to Deliver “Addressable” TV Ads Programmatically with Videology

Modi, the recently launched advanced TV unit of WPP’s GroupM, is working with video adtech company Videology to deliver television advertising to specific cable and satellite users in real-time, using programmatic ad decisioning technology, explains Jamie Power, Senior Partner at Modi, in this ...

image
Satisfying Readers Is Key To Content Marketing: Digitas’ Mark Book

CHICAGO — DigitasLbi’s “Perceptions Of Care” video campaign for Whirlpool has won rave reviews from ad watchers, after the agency worked with popular web publisher Upworthy to craft the campaign as a pair of videos. The campaign has generated some hefty social media views. So what was ...

image
More Data Needed For Personalized Ads: SMG’s Lichtenberg

CHICAGO — Digital ads can begin to reach individual consumers with specific messages based on unique characteristics – but only if computers know enough to target them, says one ad agency exec. “When I think about the future of video, I think about more personalized experiences,” SMG ...

image
The Problem With Video Pre-Rolls: Teads’ Jim Daily

CHICAGO — It’s only natural that online video advertising takes after television advertising – after all, both media are about moving pictures. But, whilst the forms may be similar, advertiser results can vary across each, according to a tech exec. “It’s a similar experience to what ...

image
Ad Buyers Can Target Cox Viewers In 2015 With AudienceXpress

The sale of TV advertising is about to go a lot more “programmatic” early in 2015, when advertisers via Magna Global start buying slots in Cox Media programming via a new platform. Powered by planning, buying and reporting optimization platform AudienceXpess, the new system will help Magna Global ...

image
Connect The Dots To Pay-By-Outcome Ads: Simulmedia’s Morgan

So far in the history of advertising, marketers have had to satisfy themselves with measuring the effectiveness of their spending against relatively soft outcome metrics, like clicks, views or consumers’ propensity to buy. But now some marketers are beginning to demand publishers and networks charge ...

loader