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
Video Is The Web’s Third Age: AOL’s Martinez

CHICAGO — AOL sees video as spurring the next web age, but eventual manifestations of that will depend very much on consumption context, says an exec from the company. “The third wave of quantum innovation in the web is going to be driven by sight, sound and motion,” AOL video sales head ...

image
‘Addressable TV Will Take Off In 2015′: SMG’s Scheppach

CHICAGO — In 2014, TV began learning the targeting tricks that digital media have deployed for years. In 2015, those techniques will kick in to high gear, says one ad agency exec. “(In) 2014, I see a marketplace that has essentially gone from zero to $300 million of spend,” according ...

image
McDonald’s Puts Video At ‘Core’ Of Digital Focus

CHICAGO — After being named by advertising peers the most creative marketer at this year’s Cannes Lions, McDonald’s is ready to bolster the part video plays in its digital efforts. “We’ve been the definition of  a mass marketer,” the group’s digital brand engagement ...

image
Programmatic ‘Is Not A CPM Crunch’: Digitas’s Zaben

CHICAGO — The collection of new-wave automated ad targeting and trading techniques known as “programmatic” may have initially been seen as helping advertisers drive down inventory costs – but that is no longer the sole way ad buyers see it. “This is not a CPM crunch where ...

image
AOL Tops comScore Rankings of Video Advertising Properties

In comScore’s monthly ranking of video advertising properties, AOL reached the top spot for the time. It  ranked #1 in video ad reach, serving ads to 53.8 percent of the total U.S. population in October. BrightRoll Platform came in second with 52.3 percent reach, followed by LiveRail with 52.1 ...

image
Direct-To-Consumer Video Offerings Slated to Grow, thePlatform’s Roberts

Expect a rash of direct-to-consumer over-the-top offerings from networks and broadcasters in the next year or so, says Marty Roberts, co-CEO of thePlatform in an interview with Beet.TV. “Networks and broadcasters need to establish a direct relationship with the audience,” he says, and ...

image
Tribune Picks Taboola For TV Sites’ Content Marketing: Report

Big media companies are increasingly keen on locking in long-term native advertising commitments, if the latest of two big announcements this week is anything to go by. Tribune Media’s broadcast subsidiary Tribune Broadcasting, whose TV stations include KTLA of Los Angeles and WGN-TV of Chicago, is ...

image
Mediaocean Extends Digital Video Ads With Videology

Mediaocean, which currently helps ad buyers plan, execute and analyze advertising on TV using software, is about to get greater traction in the online video world, through a partnership with Videology. The integration will make online video ad inventory amassed by Videology buyable by Mediaocean‘s ...

image
TV Everywhere Authentication Rates Improving, Marty Roberts of thePlatform

In-home, improved authentication protocols can dramatically improve the consumer experience for TV Everywhere, says Marty Roberts, co-CEO of thePlatform in an interview with Beet.TV. In some cases, log-in failure rates are north of 40% and that’s too high to be sustainable. However, when multichannel ...

image
Video Ad Customization Platform Eyeview Raises $15 Million in New Venture Round

Eyeview, the New York-based company that provides marketers with the technology to personalize digital video ads to specific consumers, has raised an additional $15 million, the company announced on Monday. More on the raise and other developments reported here on Re/code by Peter Kafka. Last month, we spoke ...

image
AOL Presents iJustine In Chicago: the Beet Video Summit w/ McDonald’s,Target, Digitas, Havas and...

iJustine, a pioneering  innovator  in the Web originals space will headlining a two hour video summit on the emerging medium of digital video. Also participating will be  brand marketers  from McDonald’s and Target and media agency execs from Digitas, Havas and Starcom MediaVest Justine will speak ...

image
Digital Means ‘World Of Opportunity’: DigitasLBi’s Shlachter

NAPA, CA — As much as it poses challenges, the ongoing explosion in digital media is also opening up a wealth of new opportunities for marketers to reach consumers, says DigitasLBi North America’s chief investment officer Adam Shlachter. “The numbers are there now – if you look at ...

loader