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
AOL Readies Slate of Web Original Video for the U.K.

LONDON  – AOL has been expanding its video offering via its web originals and its distribution play across screens.   This initiative is expanding internationally as  AOL readies a slate  of Web original premium video for the U.K. market, says James Harris, Agency Lead, International, in this ...

image
Xaxis’ Ad-Synch Product Rolls Out in Nine Markets: “It Captures the Imagination of our Clients”...

LONDON – It’s a bit like finding the “lost GRP,” says  Caspar Schlickum, CEO of Xaxis EMEA, explaining the value of the agency’s new ad-synch product, in this interview with Beet.TV He says that the platform serves synched ads to  multiscreen viewers, many who reach for their ...

image
Rubicon Taps Global Publishers’ “Demand for Greater Efficiency”

LONDON –  The Rubicon Project, the Los Angeles-based adtech firm, has been rapidly expanding globally as publishers demand greater efficiency in managing their ad sales, says Jay Stevens,  GM for International, in this interview with Beet.TV    Rubicon helps a number of big global publishers ...

image
Data Can Be Used as a ‘Consumer Fingerprint’, SMG’s Simpson

LONDON — Data is rooted in numbers, but the use of it is most effective when brands view data as a “consumer fingerprint,” says Steve Simpson, Exec VP and Global Managing Director of Digital Strategy, Data and Analytics at SMG, in an interview with Beet.TV. “Think about it as a ...

image
Vice Sees Huge Upside for News Operation, Brian Dietz Tells Beet.TV

In just the past six month, Vice has become “one of the biggest newscasts in the country and possibly the world,” says Vice SVP for sales Brian Dietz in this segment on Beet.TV.  Dietz tells our Ashley Swartz that Vice news has some 650K subscribers on YouTube and has had 70 million videos ...

Ashley Swartz, Furious Minds 2
VOD Could Shepherd More Programmatic Buying in TV, Ashley Swartz

Video-on-demand inventory is the next logical entry point for programmatic style advertising into linear TV, says Ashley J. Swartz, CEO and Founder of Furious Minds, in an interview with Beet.TV. “VOD is the first inventory that will come online for dynamic ad insertion,” she says. “The ...

image
Razorfish Media Chief Kathuria on Scale, TV Dollars, and Big Data

Moving TV dollars to online remains a challenge says Vik Kathuria, Global Chief Media Officer at Razorfish in an interview with Beet.TV. “It’s very hard to find an apples to apples comparison in terms of TV money and where to move it. If you are a TV buyer, you want to scale. To effectively move ...

Steve Parker, SMG UK
Programmatic Poised to Impact TV Buying, SMG’s Steve Parker says

LONDON — Programmatic advertising not only has the potential to influence digital advertising, but also TV, says Steve Parker, co-CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group in London, in an interview with Beet.TV. “What we’re learning around programmatic video allows us to transform our relationship ...

image
More Agencies to Launch Private Exchanges, Zenith’s Zilberbrand

As programmatic buying expands, look for agencies to build more private marketplaces in the next 12 to 18 months, says Julian Zilberbrand, EVP Activation Standards, Insights, & Technology at ZenithOptimedia Group in an interview with Beet.TV. That’s because private exchanges provide an ecosystem ...

image
Programmatic TV Buying on the Horizon

Programmatic advertising has flourished digitally, but in time it will spread further to TV, says Brendan Condon, CEO of Media Property Holdings, which operates like an ad network but for TV buying by aggregating TV spend across multichannel video providers, syndicators and local broadcasters. But there are ...

image
Ad Tech Lets Advertisers Run Their Own Show: MediaMath’s Cox

Larger advertisers are beginning to realize that, with a range of new online technology, they can disintermediate their agencies to take more control of their own campaign spending, says an ad tech exec. “We’re seeing an increase in operators wanting to run their own marketing programs directly using ...

image
2014 Is ‘The Year Of Private Marketplaces’: BrightRoll’s Avila

The next stage in the adoption of  automated ad-trading tools, private marketplaces are helping so-called “programmatic” practices flourish, says an exec in the space. “If 2013 was the year of real-time bidding and programmatic coming in to reality, 2014 is the year of private ...

loader