One Sunday morning, January 6th, 2008 I was attending religious services when my cell phone vibrated. As discreetly as possible, I checked the phone and noticed that my phone said "Caller ID unknown". I choose to ignore.
After services, as I was walking to my car with my family, I checked my cell phone messages. The message left was from Steve Jobs. "Vic, can you call me at home? I have something urgent to discuss" it said.
Before I even reached my car, I called Steve Jobs back. I was responsible for all mobile applications at Google, and in that role, had regular dealings with Steve. It was one of the perks of the job.
"Hey Steve - this is Vic", I said. "I'm sorry I didn't answer your call earlier. I was in religious services, and the caller ID said unknown, so I didn't pick up".
Steve laughed. He said, "Vic, unless the Caller ID said 'GOD', you should never pick up during services".
I laughed nervously. After all, while it was customary for Steve to call during the week upset about something, it was unusual for him to call me on Sunday and ask me to call his home. I wondered what was so important?
"So Vic, we have an urgent issue, one that I need addressed right away. I've already assigned someone from my team to help you, and I hope you can fix this tomorrow" said Steve.
"I've been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I'm not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn't have the right yellow gradient. It's just wrong and I'm going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?"
Of course this was okay with me. A few minutes later on that Sunday I received an email from Steve with the subject "Icon Ambulance". The email directed me to work with Greg Christie to fix the icon.
Since I was 11 years old and fell in love with an Apple II, I have dozens of stories to tell about Apple products. They have been a part of my life for decades. Even when I worked for 15 years for Bill Gates at Microsoft, I had a huge admiration for Steve and what Apple had produced.
But in the end, when I think about leadership, passion and attention to detail, I think back to the call I received from Steve Jobs on a Sunday morning in January. It was a lesson I'll never forget. CEOs should care about details. Even shades of yellow. On a Sunday.
To one of the greatest leaders I've ever met, my prayers and hopes are with you Steve.
Good afternoon everyone--thanks for joining us today
It’s exciting to be on the call today and to share directly with you the progress we have made in my first quarter as CEO
As you will have seen from our press release we had a great quarter--with revenue up by 32 per cent year on year and a new record for quarterly revenue at over $9 billion!
We have substantially increased our velocity and execution this quarter--a key goal of mine since taking over as CEO
It’s why I created a new, product focused management structure--with a clear leader responsible for each product area
This new management team is working together fabulously … and has already achieved a lot in just three months
First we launched Google+ to field trial invitation only
Our goal with Google+ is to make sharing on the web like sharing in real life, as well as to improve the overall Google experience
Circles let you choose with precision who you are sharing with. Not surprisingly this has been very well received, because in real life, we share different things with different people.
Hangouts allow for serendipitous interactions. Like in real life when you run into a few friends. It gives you seamless and fun multi user video and it’s really amazing!
Last quarter, we launched the +1 button in search results and ads--enabling users to recommend stuff they liked, and have those recommendations show up in the search results of people they know
This quarter, we released +1 buttons to the entire web, and many sites like Huffington Post, the Washington Post and Best Buy have added +1 buttons
Google+ is still only in field trial with limited access as we scale the system
Users have to be invited, sign up with a profile in order to use it
However, the growth on Google+ has been great--and I’m excited to release some new metrics for you today
Over 10M people have joined Google+
Great achievement for the team
There’s also a ton of activity
We are seeing over 1 billion items shared and received in a single day
Our +1 button is already all over the web
It’s being served 2.3 billion times a day
So while we have a lot of work still to do, we are really excited about our progress with Google+
Google+ is also a great example of another focus of mine--beautiful products that are simple and intuitive to use and was actually was one of the first products to contain our new visual redesign.
We also launched that beautiful, consistent and simpler design on our home page, Gmail and calendar with many more products soon to come.
Greater focus has also been another big feature for me this quarter--more wood behind fewer arrows
Last month, for example, we announced that we will be closing Google Health and Google PowerMeter
We’ve also done substantial internal work simplifying and streamlining our product lines
While much of that work has not yet become visible externally, I am very happy with our progress here
Focus and prioritization are crucial given our amazing opportunities
Indeed I see more opportunities for Google today than ever before
Because believe it or not we are still in the very early stages of what we want to do
Even in search … which we’ve been working on for 12 years there have never been more important changes to make
For example this quarter we launched a pilot that shows an author’s name and picture in the search results, making it easier for users to find things from authors they trust.
Of course when we started doing search, people thought we were crazy--they said there was no money to be made in search over and above a bit of banner advertising
Most new internet businesses have had the same criticism
Fast forward to today--it feels like we are watching the same movie again in slow motion
We have tremendous new businesses being viewed as “crazy”
We actually have a new metric to report of 550,000 Android Devices activated a day!
That’s a HUGE number even by Google’s standards
It’s the fastest growing browser
With over 160 million users
People rightly ask how we will monetize these businesses?
And of course I understand the need to balance the short term with the longer term needs because our revenues and growth serve as the engine that funds our innovation
But our emerging high usage products can generate huge new businesses for Google in the long run, just like search
And we have tons of experience monetizing successful products over time
Well run technology businesses with tremendous consumer usage make a lot of money over the long term
I think about our products in three separate categories
First, there is search and our ads products, the core driver of revenue for the company. Nikesh and Susan are going to talk more about ads later in the call
Next, we have products that are enjoying high consumer success--YouTube, Android and Chrome. We are investing in these in order to optimize their long-term success
Then we have our new products--Google+ and Commerce and Local. We are are investing in them to drive innovation and adoption
Overall, we are focused on long term absolute profit and growth, as we have always been--and I will continue the tight financial management we have had in the last two years, even as we are making significant investments in our future
I would like to finish on our people
Great companies are no greater than the efforts and ingenuity of their people
So continuing to hire the best, keeping them happy and well rewarded is crucial to our future
Many of you will be interested in hiring--whether we hired a few hundred more or less than you expected this quarter. But we will optimize headcount for the long term and the opportunities we see
So I’m happy with the investments we’ve made in people, though we’re probably even a little ahead of where we need to be with headcount growth at the edge of what is manageable now
It is easy to focus on things we do that are speculative (e.g., driverless cars) but we spend the vast majority of our resources on the core products. We may have a few small speculative projects happening at any given time, but we’re very careful stewards of shareholder money -- we’re not betting the farm on this stuff.
All of us at Google want to create services that people across the world use twice a day … just like a toothbrush!
And we strive to make those services beautiful, simple and easy to use
That way we can provide huge benefit to the world
We have made a good start but we are at only 1 per cent of what’s possible … Google is just getting started … and that is why I am here--working hard to lead this company to the next level
Thank You. And again, we had a great quarter.
- 3CISNetwork Engineer, present
- SEE UniversityMSc in Computer Sciences, present
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