Main image of article Google's Ex-CEO on Building a Strong Company
As part of the effort to promote their new business-management book, How Google Works, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former SVP of Product Jonathan Rosenberg put together a huge slide-deck—complete with cute cartoon illustrations—that shows how to build a company in this tech-empowered age. They shared that deck with Business Insider, which printed it in its 54-slide entirety. While those slides provide only a quick overview into the thinking processes that underlie the creation of a company, they do contain some good advice. When it came to building a firm capable of success in the “Internet Century,” Schmidt and Rosenberg began with a somewhat existential question: “What’s different now?” The answer was simple: Technology had changed everything, from the ability to access even the most esoteric knowledge in seconds to the computing power packed into a small device. Technology, in turn, had not only crumbled many of the traditional barriers to business growth, but made companies more accountable to consumers: A free flow of information means that millions of consumers can share information about bad products, and enhance the reach and reputation of good ones.

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Technology also boosts the power of skilled individuals to build and market products, leveling the corporate playing field: A handful of people with the right idea and skills, in the opinion of Schmidt and Rosenberg, can outdo a major enterprise. “We learned the only way for businesses to consistently succeed today is to attract smart creative employees and create an environment where they can thrive at scale,” they wrote. (This is a core argument that Google always makes to regulators about how it’s not a monopoly, because someone in their garage can theoretically make and market a superior search engine; never mind that catching up to Google at this point would also require billions of dollars.) The rest of the slides offer pretty standard-issue business advice: cultivate the right people, have them work in small teams, give resources to those employees whose work has the biggest impact, emphasize open communication, trust more in a strategic foundation than a rigid business plan, and so on. The whole deck is worth a flip-through for anyone who works in tech, or wants to start their own business; while following its tenets won’t necessarily result in a company becoming the next Google, they do serve as a helpful reminder that having good ideas and people is the core of any endeavor.

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Image: Google/Business Insider