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
Nielsen Onboarding TAM As Measurement Wars Heat Up

PALM SPRINGS – After comScore’s merger with Rentrak to combine multi-platform media measurement, it’s over to you, Nielsen. Ad agency Group M chairman Irwin Gotlieb last year told Beet.TV media measurement is broken because measurers are using the wrong yardstick in the multi-screen era. ...

image
Deloitte Gets In To TV Tech Tools Game: Ledger

LAS VEGAS — These days, it seems it is no longer enough for a consulting firm to just offering consulting advice – you have to back it up with implementation, too. That’s what Deloitte is doing by partnering with three software providers to wrap up their offerings as one of its own, the ...

image
Programmatic Ad Rates Will Be Higher Than Direct: Meredith’s Schenck

When programmatic ad trading entered the marketplace in the form of real-time buying from open online ad networks, many publishers feared it would devalue their inventory. But, slowly, publishers have begun to exert controls to keep pricing higher than that. Now rates could rise higher again, one exec ...

image
One Screen Good, All Screens Better: Bloomberg’s Caine

PALM SPRINGS — Bloomberg appears to have been undergoing a renaissance lately, with a line-up of strong products and a solid identity running across its many media outposts. In the latest new advertising tie-up, Bloomberg Media has sold a sponsorship for the green room, during its new Bloomberg Go ...

image
Hearst Reaches Maturity With Programmatic: Parker

Time was, newspaper folk sneered with apprehension at the rise of programmatic methods of digital ad trading, fearing automation in real-time open markets would devalue their ad inventory. But times have changed, and those publishers which have dipped their toe in the water are finding growing returns on ...

image
As Merger Closes, Rentrak & comScore Push ‘New Model’ For Media Measurement

PALM SPRINGS — The merger of media measurement houses comScore and Rentrak just completed, heralding what the pair say is a new era in consumer tracking for brands and publishers. According to comScore, the new entity can now see 260 million desktop screens 160 million mobile phone screens 95 million ...

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 12.05.34 AM
Turn’s New CEO On Video And The ‘Three-Legged Stool’

PALM SPRINGS — The world of advertising demand-side platforms is so new, most people may only have dealt with one or two. Bruce Falck says he has worked for five. Falck spent just four months as Brightroll’s COO until Yahoo acquired the company, last year joining Turn, the ad tech platform which ...

image
Sourcepoint Barokas’ Melds Ad Transactions To Beat Blockers

If you believe some of the market research about the prevalence of consumer ad blocking, the sky is falling on a publishing industry that has long depended on advertising. Those surveys may or may not be wholly accurate, but Ben Barokas is intent on solving the problem. Whilst working as general manager of ...

image
Genesis Media Figures Out Out-Stream: CEO Yackanich

LAS VEGAS — When should you put an in-article video ad on a page – and when should you hold back? Two-year-old Genesis Media of New York is an ad tech platform aiming to sensitively place auto-playing out-stream video ads, a format that is gaining in popularity. “Video ad formats are easy ...

image
Adobe’s TVMM Is First OTT TV SSP: Videology’s Gaskamp

LAS VEGAS — Back in December, Adobe updated its Primetime ad platform with TV-buying capability, dubbed TV Media Management (TVMM), powered partly by Videology. The feature aims to let broadcasters plan and package up ad slots in their over-the-top (OTT) offerings. So, what is the big idea? ...

image
Netflix Could Make $8bn From Ads: Analyst Broughton

LONDON — What if Netflix started running ads? It is a topic that has previously been debated here on Beet.TV, with one exec betting: “They’re going to have to start to deploy some type of advertising model to recoup some of the revenue that they’re spending on this programming.” A new ...

Linda Boff & Carolyn Everson both titles
GE’s Linda Boff: Wenda Millard is the “Beating Heart of our Industry”….and MediaLink...

As hundreds of executives from the media and marketing worlds gathered yesterday under the AWNY banner, at glitzy dinner to honor media luminary Wenda Harris Millard, we sat down with two of the evening speakers: GE’s CMO Linda Boff and Carolyn Everson, advertising chief at Facebook. Both longtime ...

loader