The Return of Google’s Larry Page


Google co-founder Larry Page is a self-avowed technocrat. He loves interacting with programmers and he loves brainstorming with scientists to turn his radical ideas into reality. The recently tested experimental Google car that drives itself is a case in point. Like all technocrats, Page has an inherent dislike of the routine that comes with running any large corporation – the business meetings, the press conferences and the long hours, not to mention the politics.

As Larry Page prepares to take the helm at Google; replacing long time CEO Eric Schmidt this April, it remains to be seen how well he handles the transition from technology whiz kid and visionary to a business manager in control of a large corporation.

Google has gone from being a small-time college start-up to becoming the most successful internet company in history with an employee roster of 24400 employees and annual sales amounting to $29.3 billion.

In a statement made this Thursday, Page stated that he intends to take Google back to its roots by creating a work environment that encourages innovation and faster decision-making. Page’s ability to spur new innovation and nurture existing businesses at the same time will determine whether Google will come up with another “big idea” – something that most large tech companies are unable to do repeatedly.

Colleagues who have worked with Larry Page say that his penchant for quick decisions and encouragement of radical innovative ideas will get things rolling at Google and rectify the slack pace of product development even as Facebook and other newcomers challenge Google’s near absolute dominance of the internet.

According to MIT professor Michael Hawley, “When the founder is the C.E.O., it’s a person who usually has product sense and an appetite for making new things, as opposed to talent for selling things, Larry is more the archetype of founder, innovator, hacker, inventor, interested in all of the magical things that digital technologies do.”

While most people admire Larry Page as an innovator and a technologist, others question his ability to handle public relations and internal politics at Google – something Eric Schmidt has done very well in his tenure as CEO. Page is known to be media-shy and generally stays away from analyst meets and press conferences. Even Sergey Brin, Google’s second co-founder is known to be more media friendly.

Many Google insiders choose to differ; they say that Page is already playing a larger role at Google and has recently attended a number of analyst meetings. Moreover, when Eric Schmidt was hired as CEO in 2001 Both Larry Page and Sergey Brin continued as president for product development and president for technology respectively. As a result, both founders continued to play a significant role in the company’s activities.

In a recent interview, Page said that, “Google is a product company, so there’s a number of elements obviously involved in running the day-to-day operations of Google, but at its heart, we are a product and technology company.” Both Page and Brin further hinted that they would concentrate on real-time information and incorporate social media into Google’s search services. Page also said that he wanted faster innovation and product development inside Google, something that has been stalled thanks to the inertia and red tape that comes with a large workforce.

Google insiders expect Larry Page to reinvigorate the company and inspire its employees.  He seems to have started on the right note with an emotional speech at his Alma Mater, the University of Michigan in 2009 where he stated that, “I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams, I know that sounds completely nuts. But, since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition.”

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