Eric Schmidt (@ericschmidt) is Technical Advisor and Board Member to Alphabet Inc., former Google CEO, and co-author of Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell.
What We Discuss with Eric Schmidt:
- Privacy in the age of tech megacorporations and how much access the government should have to our data.
- What the rise of China, the isolation of North Korea, and the western notion of privacy mean for a free and open Internet across cultures.
- A realistic view of current day artificial intelligence and what we should expect from it in the future.
- How idea generation is fostered inside a company like Google.
- Why all top-performing executives in Silicon Valley have elite-level coaches, and why you should consider one as well.
- And much more…
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In various roles over the years — from CEO to executive chairman — Eric Schmidt worked directly with the founders of Google to turn the company into the powerhouse it is today, and in the process became one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world.
In this episode, we talk to Eric about the importance of coaching for high performers as outlined in his latest book (co-authored with Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle), Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell, the future of a free and open Internet, the realities of AI, the ongoing — and necessary — fight for privacy, and much more. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
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In Trillion Dollar Coach, the case is made that if you want an innovative company, your job is to manage the chaos, not tell people how to do their jobs. So how is chaos managed in a way that doesn’t hamper innovation — especially in a company as large as Google?
“It starts with hiring,” says Eric Schmidt. “Larry and Sergey had established a very tough regime on hiring. They hired super capable people and they always wanted people who did something interesting. So if you’re a salesperson, it was really good if you were also an Olympian. And they argued that they didn’t really understand sales, but they knew what it took to be an Olympian…and the second thing is building a culture which is bottoms up in its ideas and encouraging systematic innovation. You cannot plan innovation, but you can systematize it.”
In companies large and small, it’s possible for a team to focus so intently on solving a given problem that meaningful headway comes to a standstill. Team members with potentially good ideas may look to management for guidance that never comes, while management may be locked down by routines that only ensure continued stagnation. So what does Eric suggest for greasing the wheels of idea generation?
“I always tell executives: ‘Why don’t you have a meeting where you ask people to tell you something that you don’t know? And if it’s pretty good, be ruthless in evaluating it.”
Bill Campbell, the subject of Trillion Dollar Coach, was originally a college football coach who brought his talents to Silicon Valley to fire up everyone from the top brass at Google to larger-than-life tech luminaries like Steve Jobs. But the real benefits of this coaching weren’t immediately apparent to some — Eric included.
“When Bill Campbell showed up, we didn’t really understand that his goal was to coach us as a team…I thought he was my executive coach…but when people would make a mistake, he would bring them back toward the goals of a team. That concept is a very powerful innovation out of Silicon Valley, and it’s something every business could use…to keep everyone in alignment. This is what the board wants, this is what the CEO wants, this is what your employees want, and helps make it work.”
Listen to this episode in its entirety if you want to learn more about what privacy will look like in the years to come as it’s leveraged against those of us unable — or unwilling — to protect it, what the rise of China and increased efforts to open North Korea means to the future of a free and open Internet, the realistic expectations of artificial intelligence, why coaching has become a crucial ingredient for the success of high performers and what it can do for you, and much more.
THANKS, ERIC SCHMIDT!
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Click here to thank Eric Schmidt at Twitter!
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Resources from This Episode:
- Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle
- Eric Schmidt’s Website
- Eric Schmidt at Twitter
- Eric Schmidt at Facebook
- Eric Schmidt at LinkedIn
- Other Books by Eric Schmidt
- Eric Schmidt in North Korea: Google Chairman’s Step into the Unknown by Ed Pilkington, The Guardian
- The FBI Could Have Gotten Into the San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone, But Leadership Didn’t Say That by Nate Cardozo and Andrew Crocker, The Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Huawei’s Use of Android Restricted by Google by Leo Kelion, BBC News
- The Great Firewall of China by Bloomberg News, The Washington Post
- Tencent Holdings, Crunchbase
- 10 Promising AI Applications in Health Care by Brian Kalis, Matt Collier, and Richard Fu, Harvard Business Review
- Calico Labs
- What Happened When Google Made Its CEO Share an Office with One of His Engineers by Catherine Clifford, CNBC
- Eric Schmidt Says: Everybody Needs A Coach by Ravi Raman
- Eric Schmidt: ‘Big Data Is so Powerful, Nation States Will Fight’ Over It by Tess Townsend, Vox
Transcript for Eric Schmidt | How a Coach Can Bring out the Best in You (Episode 201)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan harbinger. As always, I'm here with my producer Jason DeFillippo. Eric Schmidt, today's guest served as Google CEO and chairman from 2001 until 2011 and then executive chairman from 2011 to 2015 and then Alphabet executive chairman from 2015 to 2018. So basically he's been in charge of Google since 2001. Imagine, think of all the things that that company has done in the last 17-plus years. Eric has worked directly with the founders of Google Larry Page and Sergey Brin to turn the company into the powerhouse that it is today. And in the process, he became one of the wealthiest, most powerful men on the planet. Today, we'll discuss privacy in the age of tech mega corporations and how much access the government should have to our data and to technology like AI. We'll also touch on the rise of China and the idea of a free and open Internet. Last but not least, we'll discuss and discover how idea generation is fostered inside a company like Google and why all top-performing executives here in Silicon Valley, heavy elite-level coaches and why you should as well.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:04] All these elite folks that I have here on the show, they come through relationships, they come through networking. It is a constant hustle if you will. And I'm teaching you how to generate and maintain those relationships in our networking course, which is free. It's called Six-Minute Networking and it's at jordanharbinger.com/course. All right, here's Eric Schmidt.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:24] We were actually in North Korea at the same time, which was kind of funny and nobody's asked you about that recently and I thought it's a pretty interesting time to talk about that country while especially when you and I were there. When I went there, I wanted to bring Google Glass in. You had this thing where it was like Google Glass supply and you can have a unit and demo it and it went all the way through the whole process. And then somebody here at Google went, "I don't think that's a good idea because they don't like spies. And this is essentially a video camera glasses." When you went to North Korea, the economic imperative of a place like that is always weighed against the potential for social disruption. Same as China. Do you think that North Korea will ever embrace something like an open Internet or open systems or is that just never going to happen?
Eric Schmidt: [00:02:12] That's a hope.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:12] Yeah. Do you believe there'll be a safer opponent for the US if they do that?
Eric Schmidt: [00:02:18] You and I were in North Korea at the same time and North Korea is the last really close society on earth. We don't really know what goes on. Very few people have met the president of North Korea. Now, President Trump and the Secretary of State have. But at the time, you and I were there, no one had met them. In fact, Dennis Rodman came right after we had. So it's strange to go to a country where they're cut off. How do they operate, how do they, how do they do things? And our goal was to try to get North Korea more into the Internet. And we made a little bit of progress. And then we've fell back a little bit.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:57] It's a gutsy travel move but you grew up living abroad. Do you think that living abroad is something that is almost mandatory for somebody who's going to embrace international openness or privacy or anything like that?
Eric Schmidt: [00:03:10] When I was a boy, my father was an international economics professor and took us, took the family to Italy for two years. And this seems very pedestrian today, but at the time it was incredibly exotic for Americans to travel to Italy. And this is at a time when the US dollar was incredibly strong. So a poor professor could live like a King in Europe. Now, of course, it's very different now. But we traveled all around and it started, my love of international matters. I don't know how you would be a global citizen without actually doing the global part. If you look at an awful lot of people who have opinions about places they've never been to, why don't you go and you could get to most countries. There are a few that are iffy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:52] Yeah. Would you ever go back to North Korea?
Eric Schmidt: [00:03:55] With the right security arrangements? Yes, I would.
Eric Schmidt: [00:03:57] How did you ensure your security while you were there? Well, the funny thing is Governor Richardson had organized the trip and he had pretty good relations with both sides and I knew when the White House condemned our trip that it would be safe because the North Koreans would never give the White House a whim.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:14] Oh yeah. Right. Good point. Say it when you see that come out, everyone's mom freaks out and you go, I think we're in the clear on this one. That's funny. That's really counterintuitive.
Eric Schmidt: [00:04:22] Well, indeed I took my daughter.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:24] Yeah, I imagine that you had to be pretty sure to -- I mean, imagine explaining that to your wife. I don't want to think of that about how that went over or would've gone over. Inside tech companies, just in general, most engineers are men, so there's not a lot of minority or people of color engineers or at least there weren't especially back when you made a statement like this and I know that you have kind of a general personal libertarian policy. My friend working here said in a meeting once, someone asked you about the dress code at Google and I think your response was, well, you have to wear something, which is kind of, it makes sense especially for a place like Google here in California.
Eric Schmidt: [00:05:03] By the way, that rule is still in place. I was still, you have to actually wear something here at work.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:08] It's a good policy so far. Yeah. Where do you see privacy lending as a cultural construct in the states especially in North America, people are more and more okay with their data being monetized or at least it's happening and people are fighting it may be a little bit less, but people are finally thinking about this. How much access do you think the government should have to data like that? This might be a little strange, but I trust companies in a way to act a little bit more responsibly with my data because I know that they want to make money with it. Fine that their cards are on the table. With the government or other bodies like that. It gets a little cloudy and you're not sure what their intent might be.
Eric Schmidt: [00:05:49] One of the things I've learned over the years at Google is that every country and every culture has a different view of privacy. So I'll give you an example. What's true about Britain that's the inverse in Germany? Britain really believes in the power of the state and the power of the state to search into people's private lives. They trust their government as they should. The Germans, based on the horrific experience they had with East Germany think the opposite. Their sensibilities different, both vibrant democracies, both smart and mature cultures. So the culture you're in I think largely determines your view on privacy.
[00:06:31] Americans are split and if you take a position that the government should have some level of surveillance capabilities, a whole bunch of people don't trust the government at all. But a whole bunch of people also think that that surveillance could be used, for example, to fight terrorism, which people are worried about. And you see this exemplified in the fight over the iPhone in the San Bernardino killers, you know, and it's a hard call. I worry that as more and more information becomes available, the government will misuse that information and violate people's rights. That's my personal view.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:06] What do you think about in terms of artificial intelligence? Are you even on the same page with that? I know you're on the National Security Commission on AI. How much can or should AI be used also by governments and police? Because that seems to have the ability to run amok even more so than just the use of personal data.
Eric Schmidt: [00:07:23] With respect to AI, people conflate AI with many new technologies. AI is a form of analysis and reasoning over data that you could do in traditional ways. So the privacy issues are not so serious with AI. There are serious privacy issues with everything. And so I would frame that is as, where will the new technologies go? And I'll give you an example. China is exporting Huawei's technology for its network to the BRI countries, Belt and Road Initiative countries. And as part of that, there are all sorts of monitoring and tracking ability within the network.
Eric Schmidt: [00:07:58] Now, people in America, and certainly you and I think that's not a good idea, but the Chinese think that's fine. So where does that end up? Does the US model, which says there's a boundary in terms of surveillance versus the Chinese model where there isn't such a boundary, which one comes to dominate?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:18] That's an interesting question because it seems like they have a separate -- the Chinese almost have a separate Internet where they have, of course, the great firewall of China, but they've got these companies that like 10 cents that are just so enormously encompassing. They make you add the US companies together and they're all, you hear about people not even using or leaving the WeChat app. It's payments and social and all the getting around apps we are going to see -- it almost sounds ridiculous now that I said out loud -- but are we going to have two Internets, one led by China and one that's more open, free and international.
Eric Schmidt: [00:08:51] I hope. I hope that scenario that you named is not going to happen. Today, what happens is that the Chinese Internet infrastructure -- the apps people experience -- grew up without any historic infrastructure, so they just sort of were built and they have the best financial tech, FinTech as we call them apps. When you walk around, you can buy everything on your phone. It's no big deal. It's all very automatic. And as you mentioned, people stay within WeChat to run everything. To me, the question is why has that model not been successful outside of China? It might be a little bit successful in Southeast Asia and they're trying in India, is there something about China which makes it a different kind of ecosystem than the rest? I hope that we'll see lots of experimentation, lots of competition, but I know that as successful as the Chinese companies are, they've not been successful in the West.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:46] Why do you think that is? Do you just think we have entrenched ways of doing things and we're stubborn as Americans or is there another sort of more technological reason?
Eric Schmidt: [00:09:55] Well, there are many theories. My Chinese friends explained that they just are so busy in China. They haven't had time to come visit and that seems incredible, but it's so competitive in China that every waking breath is staying ahead of their local competitors. It's the most dynamic part of the Internet right now in terms of startups, valuation and so forth in Beijing. Maybe that's true. Another possibility is that Chinese culturally don't get the way we use apps in the same sense that most American companies had trouble doing the same thing in China. Maybe there's a cultural and language framework the way people use them. Another possibility is in the same sense that China has blocked many American companies entering China. Perhaps US people don't want to have Chinese products, which we don't know but may have some of this surveillance compose, I don't know, perhaps a combination of those.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:51] Do you think that China will maybe outgrow its need to control the Internet at some point or are we going to kind of have to accept that authoritarian regimes have one way of doing things and the rest of the world or big tech companies might have to focus on free and open countries?
Eric Schmidt: [00:11:05] A few years ago I was in a meeting with President Xi and his deputies and one of the deputies who was in charge of the Internet got up and said that it is a great feature of the Chinese model that they have control and that without control you don't get freedom and this was an approved text. So the government has a completely different notion of how freedom works and we'll see.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:31] Just the idea that you met with somebody who is in charge of the Internet, does that make you cringe a little inside when you think about something like that?
Eric Schmidt: [00:11:39] Well, every country operates things differently. China's rise is fantastic. China's rise since 1979 and the Deng Xiaoping reforms had brought a country where the average salary was $300 a year to something like $10,000. It's an enormous success on an economic basis without a concomitant increase in personal freedom.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:03] It is amazing in almost every sense of the word. I'm fascinated with China, but I think speaking of that as well, do you see here and in big tech, a lot of white, Indian, Chinese, et cetera, men typically are writing code, especially for things like artificial intelligence, which obviously you know more about than many. Are you thinking that maybe we can train AI to be less race biased or focused or less biased than humans in some way?
Eric Schmidt: [00:12:32] I hope so. One of the interesting things about AI is that today the systems are trained from data. So you have to train the system. It doesn't intrinsically know anything, and so it takes a large amount of data and it figures stuff out and so it can answer questions. What is this, what is that classification, those sorts of things? Relatively straightforward things. Well, what happens when the training data have biases? Well, of course, the AI has a bias too. Now, people have been working on this very hard, and it turns out almost every human system has various kinds of biases. The biases can be because of omission. So for example, for a long time, most of the research on healthcare was done on men, not on the 50 percent of humans that are women. It's insane. Also, differences in race and economic background were reflected in that data.
[00:13:25] So if you were to take all of that day and manage it for a while and say, this is a representative human, you would be missing out because of that omission bias. There are other much more pernicious biases where you see discrimination that's not overt, right? That information is suppressed or not available or so forth, then people don't even know it. So this problem of bias is a really hard problem in AI research. There are many people working on this problem of bias. Can you take a train system that has an intrinsic bias in it and can you fix it? Then there's another group of people who are wondering if you take a system that has a bias in it and you replace it with one which does not have such a bias, will humans accept it? And that's an area of great research right now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:11] So I take it you're not scared of AI destroying the world like Elon, where do you stand on that?
Eric Schmidt: [00:14:18] You have been watching too many movies.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:20] Yeah.
Eric Schmidt: [00:14:21] And so let me describe the way these movies always work. Inevitably there's a killer robot. Inevitably the killer robot is made by a crazy, crazy male engineer and eventually, a woman kills the robot, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:36] Right. And the Terminator.
Eric Schmidt: [00:14:38] That's the plot. That's the plot. And it's a great movie. So we're not in AI to the point where we can even come up with a system that behaves like a one-year-old, let alone a two-year-old or a 20-year-old. We are so far from the ability to have systems that have intent, that can discover. These are great movies, these are great fiction. But right now what we're learning about AI is the ability to play games which are closed systems, which we're quite good at and also look at historical data and come up with new insights that are hard to see.
[00:15:12] My favorite example is last week we announced that there's a theory in medicine about CAT scans that low levels of CAT scan for people who are subject to cancer risk will do early detection of cancer better than anything else. And so they built a system here at Google and our research group and the system has shown that this is true. The way the system works is they have three different networks. One which would take your CAT scan data and figure out where their body cavity of your chest is, your lungs, literally. A second one, they would classify the things within the lung and the third, which would then look at each one and will give it essentially a cancer risk score. Now, this system is as good as the best humans, but as it sees more and more training data, it will get better and better and better than humans. That's a great use of AI. That's where we are today.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:07] Well, that's good news. I think for a lot of people, and of course, Reddit will ignore all this and think we're covering up the truth, but those people are watching way too many movies.
Eric Schmidt: [00:16:17] Well, it is a wonderful thing to set to talk about science fiction. But we don't know how intelligence can be defined. We know that these systems have human-like capabilities, but they are savant. So here's, let's use the CAT scan system. Here's a system that's going to become impossibly better than human beings, doing exactly one thing. And that's a huge improvement. And I think most of the benefits for that we're going to see in AI you will see as a human from its application in medicine. One way to think about it is that for you there are 999 people who are genetically and biologically highly similar to you whom you've not met. And so if we can collect all the data about them with their permission and all that kind of stuff, we can begin to say, "Well, he has this problem and she had that problem and therefore he's likely to have this problem too." This ability through these correlations will really give you a head start on what's going to happen to you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:20] For better, for worse, I suppose. Right? Yeah. Little sneak preview there.
Eric Schmidt: [00:17:23] But seriously, if you walk into a hospital and you say, you know, my leg hurts and my heart hurts and I have this terrible history, wouldn't you like the doctor to be able to have a computer say you need to get him in the emergency room right now because he's at high risk for something?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:38] Of course.
Eric Schmidt: [00:17:39] And today what the doctors do is they kind of look at you and they have a lot of experience, but why are we not computerizing that knowledge? Think of the millions of combinations of these people walking into these emergency rooms. But we can make that so much more accurate.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:55] Yeah, that's, that's what I'm looking forward to I suppose. When people say this generation might live to 120 or a hundred or my child might live to 150, I assume that's what they're talking about with these kinds of advances.
Eric Schmidt: [00:18:07] But your child today has a good chance of living to a hundred. Life extension has been going on at a rate of one or two years, per decade. And I think the good news is that children today are highly likely to live to the natural end of their lives. And that's largely because of a lack of war and because of the benefits of globalization and all these. So we should be really excited about the children that are being brought into the world today. I don't know if they'll get to 158. There are theories about natural life stance and there are theories that there is a real limit to cellular biology. There is a group that Google’s Alphabet has called Calico, which is working very hard on the core prophecies of aging. Literally, the processes that occur within the cells of your body to see if they can counteract them using various techniques.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:18:58] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Eric Schmidt. We'll be right back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:02] This episode is sponsored in part by ZipRecruiter. Hiring is always challenging. Take it from me. I mean, Jason, I hired you. So yeah, that's the only win that we've had in a long time as far as hiring. You hired Bob, so don't take it personally Bob. Everybody else just kind of has been lucky of the draw one might say, but there is one place where you can go where hiring is simple, fast and smart. And it's not the Thai restaurant where I met Jason. No, it's ziprecruiter.com/jordan. It’s where you can go. It's a little bit more reliable than that. Thai restaurants probably don't have a good curry, but you know, that's okay. Can't have it all. ZipRecruiter sends your job to over a hundred of the web's leading job boards and then they don't stop there, of course. They use powerful matching technology. This is the real magic of ZipRecruiter. It's not just a job board. It doesn't just post a bunch of stuff and a bunch of places that you could recreate manually. They've got the algorithms inside, Jason. They scan thousands of resumes and find people with the right experience and then invite them to apply to your job. So it's not just here's a job and every deadbeat in the world comes to apply for it. It reaches out to the people that they think that the computer, that the AI will eventually kill us all. Things are qualified for your position. As applications come in, they analyze each one and then they send you the top candidates. Spotlight those, highlight those so that you don't miss a great match and sort of the influx of resumes that you find on yourself. So ZipRecruiter is so effective. Four out of five employers who post on ZipRecruiter, get a quality candidate through the site on the first day or within the first day. Jason.
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Jason DeFillippo: [00:21:40] Don't forget we have a worksheet for today's episode so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Eric Schmidt. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. Thanks for listening and supporting the show. To learn more about our sponsors and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. If you'd like some tips on how to subscribe to the show, just go to jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. Subscribing to the show is absolutely free. It just means that you get all of the latest episodes in your podcast player as they're released so you don't miss a single thing from the show. Now back to our show with Eric Schmidt.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:16] Speaking of destruction and dying in authoritarian regimes, a lot of executives at your level especially have strong personalities, very strong ideas. How do you navigate that? I know that the book Trillion Dollar Coach does touch on that. It seems like if everyone is really smart, really capable, and really determined, you might end up with some heads budding on a regular basis.
Eric Schmidt: [00:22:38] One way to view the question of the big egos is sometimes that conflict is good. And with Larry and Sergey and myself working as a team, there was never a moment where I thought we were fighting for anything other than the success of the company. But boy did we have good arguments, but I knew that they were fighting for the same principle I was, but we would disagree over some tactic that's very unifying. So as long as the system is organized around what winning looks like, building a great corporation, shareholder value, more end-users, greater quality, whatever it is, you'll be fine. It's when the system's goals become diffuse and people start to operate and try to optimize their own goals that you get in trouble. Indeed, the lesson of Trillion Dollar Coach is you need a coach to coach all of the people, not just you. I'll simply say it, is that at any given time, one of the team members is playing for their own team as opposed to the total team. And what Bill would do is he would go over to that sometimes at my suggestion, sometimes on his own, sometimes it was me, and he'd say, "Look, let's get you back on the team." That function is critical. Alan Eagle, one of our co-authors said, "You know, I used to think that as you went up in the company, you've got people who were more self-actualized, more secure, more intelligent, more capable, more calm," and the inverse is true. They're wackier and they're crazier and they're more driven and they're more conflicted. That's why you need to coach.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:14] I've heard that you actually got to Google and didn't think the company was up too much when you were the CEO of Novell and just kind of weren't even interested in the job. And it was the argument that you got into with Larry and Sergey that really won you over.
Eric Schmidt: [00:24:28] Now, what's interesting is that my friend John Doerr, we were at a political event at John Chambers' house and John Doerr said, "You should take a look at Google." And I was busy selling and merging Novell into another company at the time. And I said, "Oh, you know, I heard about a search engine. Search engines don't matter too much, but fine." You know, it's always tried to say yes. I didn't think much of it. So I walked into a building down the street and here's Larry and Sergey in an office -- and we still have this building by the way -- where they have a sofa and they have food on the table and they have my bio projected on the wall and they proceed to grill me on what I'm doing at Novell. It's something called proxy caches which they thought were a terrible idea. And I remember as I left that I hadn't had that good an argument in years. And that's the thing that started the process.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:20] It felt like college or grad school again?
Eric Schmidt: [00:25:22] It felt like a great graduate school. And indeed when I started at Google, it felt like graduate school. All the offices had three or four graduate students or employees in them. The conversations at the table were very interesting, but they really weren't a lot of structure and everybody is working on something and people had five projects, which today are five different businesses as for a single individual. And I knew I was in the right place because the potential was enormous. And my friend Wayne, who had helped recruit me said, "It's like, it moves naturally." And I said, "Aren't there any schedules?" I was used to schedules. "No, It just sort of happens.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:03] Were you surprised when you came in on your first day and you had an office mate as the CEO of the company?
Eric Schmidt: [00:26:08] Well, what's interesting is my actual first day, of course, they didn't have any room, so they put me in a five-person room on a desk that was shared with somebody else and it was in a corner and I thought, "I guess this is what they think of the CEO." So I managed to get the staff meeting. I managed to say, "I think I really should have my own office." And everybody said, "Okay. We didn't really think of that." So there had been somebody who had moved out into a different place. I took over a small eight by 12 office. So a few months later I came in and there's an office mate, his name is Amit, and I said, "Who are you?" He said, "My name is Amit." And I said, "What are you doing here?" And he said, "Your office was empty all the time. You're never here. And my office was very crowded. So I moved in," and I thought, "What to do in this situation?" Now, normally what you would do is you would start screaming like, "Get out of my office or something like that." But that would have been culturally inappropriate. So I said, "Well, did you ask for permission?" And he said, "Sure." "Who did you ask?" "I asked Wayne," and then I realized they were playing a practical joke on me. So this person can't stay very long. So I thought, “Okay, I'll get along with the jokes.” I sat down next to him, but then I realized it really is a joke on me because he's not moving out. And so he would have his headphones on and I would be working as CEO. And we continued this until the company went public.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:32] You were on the phone a lot. I assumed the CEO and this guy is just in the room with headphones on.
Eric Schmidt: [00:27:36] So what happens is I get this phone call one day and it's from Omid, who's running sales and we're having a conversation at revenue and he's projecting the revenues about $118 million for the year, which is a pretty good number at the time. Today, it's $100 billion. And I'm saying, "Omid, there's got to be more, there's got to be more over here. There's got to be over there. And Omid says, "No, no, no. And so forth and so on." And so I hang up the phone, kind of annoyed and Amit takes his headphones off and says, "I heard that. I think that the revenue, I know the revenue." And I said, "What? I knew you were listening to my phone calls." And so it turns out that one, he had been listening to my phone calls for months. And of course, we became very good friends as a result, but more importantly, he was busy building the software modeling for revenue for the company. So he said, "The revenue number will be 142." So I called back up and I said, "Omid, you're the sandbagger of the country." Sandbag is a term in sales. And so Omid said, "That's not true."
Eric Schmidt: [00:28:47] So we had a sandbag brought in and we made Omid present his sales report on top of a sandbag to the company as a result of this. So I learned if you're CEO and you're going to have an office mate, have the person who's doing revenue data analytics in your office at all times.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:03] Yeah, have them at least be useful to you and not just overhearing conversations.
Eric Schmidt: [00:29:07] So, once the company went public, we couldn't do that because that would be a violation of law. And so he moved next door.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:15] Oh, really you didn't allow to have -- what's the violation?
Eric Schmidt: [00:29:20] Because under securities law there's insider information and I couldn't take a risk of exposing him to insider information.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:27] Ah, okay. Gotcha. Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. If you want an innovative company, your job is to manage the chaos, not tell people how to do it. That's from the book I believe as well. How do you generate all of these ideas and manage the generation process and manage the chaos in a company as large as Google?
Eric Schmidt: [00:29:45] Well, it starts with hiring. And Larry and Sergey had established a fairy tough regime on hiring. They hired super capable people and they always wanted the people who did something interesting. So if you were a salesperson, it was really good if you were also an Olympian and they argued that they didn't really understand sales but they knew what it took to be an Olympian. We hired a couple of rocket scientists because we thought that was interesting. Now, we weren't doing rocketry. You get the idea, we had a series of medical doctors who were just, we were just impressed with even though they weren't doing medicine. So this, so part of it starts with the hiring process.
Eric Schmidt: [00:30:26] And the second thing is building a culture which is bottoms up in its ideas and encouraging systematic innovation. You cannot plan innovation but you can systematize it. You can basically get the best shot ever. And one day, I remember when the company was small thinking, I have no idea what to do about this competitive issue. I honestly have no idea whatsoever. But I know I have the team that's working the hardest on the problem. And one of Bill's rules was in companies, you tend to think of the CEO and the vice president of A or B and Bill's role was to find the people who are the smartest in the world, in your company on this and have them work on it and have them tell you the answer. It's a good rule.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:12] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Eric Schmidt. We'll be right back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:17] This episode is sponsored in part by the Hartford.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:57] This episode is also sponsored by MedMen. So I took a trip to MedMen, which at first I was skeptical because it's not totally my thing, but I went to a dispensary MedMen is like the Apple Store for cannabis in our area. I mean it's laid out really well. Display cases, all the products are open and out. Not the ones you buy but like you can see what you're buying, you can take a look at it, you can smell each one. They've got a ton of knowledgeable people working there. It's definitely 17 steps up from your local kind of sketchy cinder block dispensary out here in California. They've got a bunch of locations all over the US and I really think this is a fun place to go. I took my parents, which is you guys don't know my parents but let's just say they're not really the type at all.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:32:50] I've met your parents. I can't see them at MedMen.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:53] No and they were stoked. They were really interested in what was in there. Because it's kind of a look into this crazy world and at first they were like, “Oh.” My mom was like clutching her purse and then she walks in and she's like, “Oh, it's like an Apple Store without computers.” Except it does actually have iPads with all the different products on it so you can navigate and look through there, touch the screen and look at all the products. I mean it's really, really impressive from a business standpoint, even if you're not at all interested in cannabis at all if you just want to see a well-run business that is probably going to be everywhere pretty soon. Go check out MedMen. And so seriously, whether you're boarding a yacht or just your hammock, you can have some guaranteed relaxation available in all shapes and sizes at MedMen and you can find your nearest location at medmen.com
Jason DeFillippo: [00:33:42] Keep out of reach of children for use only by adults 21 years of age and older.
[00:33:46] Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us on the air. To learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. And don't forget that worksheet for today's episode. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. If you're listening to us on the Overcast player, please click that little star next to the episode. It really helps us out. And now for the conclusion of our episode with Eric Schmidt.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:12] Where do you think most companies go wrong with this? Is it a hiring failure because I'm imagining a smaller startup or smaller even non-tech company thinking, "Oh yeah, we need to do this idea generation and we need to foster all this innovation,” and just not knowing where to start at all."
Eric Schmidt: [00:34:28] I'm not that sympathetic to that argument. My experience is most companies are not well managed with respect to listening to their people in being creative. In little companies, because you work together all day, you know what everybody thinks. But in a couple of hundred persons organization, there are lots of people who have ideas on how to improve things every day. And by definition, you're not listening to them every day because you're busy doing something else. So I think it's a solvable problem for a few hundred person company and the answer is sit down and say to your employees, “I want to see every conceivable idea. I want them to be sorted. I want you all to come back with a prioritized list. I want to do this simple stuff immediately and I wanted to debate the hard stuff and I'm open to anything.” And you have to be sincere.
[00:35:13] In most companies, the inverse is true. In most companies, the smart person is the CEO. Everyone else is doing what he or she says. There's very little flexibility or creativity and no one feels permission to be different, to be aberrant if you will. In larger companies, it's much harder because that middle management sort of is a lock on what can be done. And there are stovepipes and so forth and so, so as an executive, you've got to come up with some way to break that. What I always tell executives is, “Why don't you have a meeting where you ask people to tell you something that you don't know. And by the way, you know a lot and introduced me to some ideas and products that I don't know about. Show me something new in every business unit you are. And then by the way, if it's pretty good, be ruthless and evaluating it.” In the military, one day I do some military work, the military decided to show us, and this was not classified, they had been working in a particular building on some interesting drone, drone work, and some autonomy drone. And I looked at it and I thought haven’t I seen this?'' And indeed they were two or three years behind the best work that was being done at MIT. So I said, "Good job. You showed me something that I didn't know, but you showed it to me three years late. Why don't you go and look at this MIT work and then invite me back?" So the ability to do innovation also includes a requirement to be good at it. And of course, they address this but don't accept being three years behind and say, "Look, if you're going to do something new, it has to be new. It has to be state of the art." Let's pick in the car industry. In the Teslas, they have this beautiful screen. Why do other cars not have that? I mean, I can go on and an example of that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:05] Do you drive a Tesla as well?
Eric Schmidt: [00:37:07] As an example.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:07] I can kind of tell you if we get, we get to.
Eric Schmidt: [00:37:09] As most people in Silicon Valleys.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:11] Exactly, yeah. There's, it's the geek factor. And then also it's just a better car. But that's a whole different podcast.
Eric Schmidt: [00:37:16] But my point is that Tesla proves that in a big stable and important industry, you can innovate at scale. And again, just think about that screen. Why does everybody not have that big screen with Google maps in it? The idea has been around now for eight or nine years.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:36] At least because it came out before the iPad, I believe.
Eric Schmidt: [00:37:39] Yeah, 2011.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:39] Yeah, incredible and incredible foresight. Now, it's just a giant iPad in a car, but back then it was a brand new thing nobody had ever even seen before. You mentioned before Bill Campbell, he was a football coach. A lot of people might wonder, why hire a football coach when there are so many executive coaches and people that seem to specialize in what you might've been hiring for in the first place?
Eric Schmidt: [00:38:02] We are super focused on expanding the notion of coaching. When Bill Campbell showed up, we didn't really understand that his goal was to coach us as a team. All of us, especially myself, I thought he was my executive coach. After all, he was my best friend. He had great guidance and advice, but when people would make a mistake, he would go bring them back toward the goals of the team. That concept is a very powerful innovation out of Silicon Valley. And it's something that every business could use. Every traditional business could use a business coach. And by that, I mean a coach of the top team to keep everybody kind of in alignment. This is what the board wants, is what the CEO wants, this is what your employees want and helps make it work. Having good judgment and experience in that area. I think that these techniques can be taught. The purpose of the book is to help honor our coach, but also to talk about these techniques. And I promise you that if you're a manager if you just adopt Bill's techniques, you'll just become so much of a better coach. They're not that hard.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:08] So the key is, of course, not just the key executive, it's the whole team working together, which actually makes sense in terms of football. You can't just have a really great quarterback. Everybody has to do their job.
Eric Schmidt: [00:39:19] So let's go through this. I mean, can you think of any football team or basketball team that's ever been successful but it didn't have a coach? It would be ludicrous. And by the way, every one of those teams has a superstar in football. There's the quarterback. Well, how important are the other team members? Super important. And you have to have someone to throw the ball to someone to give the ball to someone to protect. It seems obvious when I say it and yet why is this not concept not prevalent inside of the business world?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:46] Of course. Also if the CEO leads, you still have value in the coaching for the rest of the team and it probably gets easier if everyone else already had a culture of being coached. If someone new comes in --
Eric Schmidt: [00:39:57] Absolutely.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:58] -- through osmosis, if you will, are easier there.
Eric Schmidt: [00:40:01] And the most interesting thing about the problem here with coaching is that the people who would benefit the most, who are typically the CEO are the people who are most opposed to it. And I offer myself as an example.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:15] Okay. Okay.
Eric Schmidt: [00:40:16] When John Doerr called up and said, "You're doing great, but you need a coach." I said, "No, I don't." And he goes, "Why?" I listed all the things, "You know, I'd done this and that and I was very senior, very experienced, and I'm working with these young people. They need some help. I'm very good at this. I don't need a coach. I'll do fine. I have lots of relevance, I mean I'm like a big cheese." And he said, "Well, do tennis players have coaches?" He got me there. And I said, "Look, here's the problem the tennis players by definition are better than the coaches, so they can't, the coaches can't be very good." And he said, "You dummy coaching is different from playing. There's a different skill set." And he had me there. And so I met Bill. We began and, of course, it was a no brainer from that point on. Everyone I can think of all of this in my world is people who have enormous egos. They're enormously intelligent, enormous wealth, enormous accomplishment. Every one of them would benefit from coaching because a coach is different. By the way, Steve Jobs, arguably the most successful entrepreneur in history in terms of his creativity, and we miss him terribly. His best friend and most important person in his world besides his family was Bill Campbell.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:27] It's incredible. It's funny that it seems like no matter what your level of accomplishment or intelligence, there's still resistance to getting coached until of course you get it and wonder how you ever lived without it in the first place.
Eric Schmidt: [00:41:38] And when we all went to Bill's funeral, we realized that there were a thousand people at the funeral, all of whom thought they were being coached by Bill. It's an extraordinary achievement. He was really the greatest coach, certainly the greatest executive coach that has ever lived. He also created more value than anyone else. That's why we call him the trillion-dollar coach, Apple and Google together are almost $2 trillion of value.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:59] Wow, that's incredible. High-level executives have access to the best of the best resources and Bill Campbell sounds like one of those resources.
Eric Schmidt: [00:42:07] Well, it was interesting. We were really privileged to have him. When he showed up, I said, "Well, Bill, how do I pay you? He goes, "I don't want any money, and I said, "What? What's wrong with you? Don't you want to be paid?" He said, "No, no. I'm giving back," and I said, "Well, don't you want any style?" He said, "No, I'm giving back," and I said, "Okay, I know I'll put you on our board because we need you on our board to help out." And he said, "No," and I said, "You're not going to be on our board." He said, "No because that would prevent me from doing what I want to be able to do." He had a model that he was an inside outsider. He was observing the board, observing me and observing the management team, and coaching all of us. And his compensation, by the way, was our success. He derived enormous value from our success and what I love about Bill was that he never wanted any press. He would have hated the book because he wouldn't want the attention. His entire goal was to make you successful. Imagine if you had a person who you genuinely believe wanting to make you and your business incredibly successful, advise you, suggest things, was always there. You can call him 24 hours a day. He was always there and you knew he had your back, and imagine if there were a thousand people doing that with him today. Imagine how much more successful each of you would be.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:24] Yeah. It's just incredible. I guess that's where his quote comes from, “I don't take cash. I don't take stock and I don't take BS.”
Eric Schmidt: [00:43:31] That's right. Well, of course, he used much more colorful language. He was a salty character and of the generation that was pretty rough with language.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:39] Yeah. Yeah. I figure we don't need to get every single word of that correct sentence.
Eric Schmidt: [00:43:44] You get the idea.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:45] Yeah. When you have big problems in the business, like a conflict or battle for resources between executives, Bill likes and Google likes to let those two executives work it out for themselves. That seems unusual and counterintuitive in a way. What does that do for the company?
Eric Schmidt: [00:44:02] What was interesting is that it never occurred to us to do this until Bill suggested it, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. You've got a team, you've got a problem. It does cross the boundaries, have two people work on it, get them to know each other if they disagree even better, and force them to argue it out. Now, if they cannot agree, then you have to, if you will split the time, make the decision and you need to do so in a timely fashion. But the interesting thing about this, in all my previous jobs, executives have spent all day battling over resources. They would never give a team to another. Whereas at Google people would say, "Oh, here you can have all of these." "I don't want it." It's like a thousand people, enormous budget because one, they were used to working collectively and they understood that the goal was to maximize the benefit of the team and I didn't have to do anything.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:55] It almost seems like it sounds like magic to people who are managing huge teams that that would be a result. You and I are butting heads over something and I decided, "You know what? You're better suited for this than me. How am I not thinking this is career limiting? I'm going to be on the outs, they're going to fire me. I'm not needed now I've lost my identity.”
Eric Schmidt: [00:45:13] So let's say if you, and I had a coach who was individually coaching us on the goals of the corporation and was repeating the company's goals, the company's goal as the company's goals. And furthermore, this coach had a pretty big say in your compensation. At the end of the day, you would think very differently than if you thought you were sort of fighting on your own. So I suspect what happened was people’s self-interest was kept in alignment by Bill. Because they knew that he was watching and if somebody came back and said, "I'm not going to do that because I really want to,” in some indirect way, “I want to own this team and I want to manage it myself and so forth." They knew that they would be judged by Bill because he had said you can't do that and that there would be a negative penalty for that behavior. So it's not as Kumbaya, it sounds, it sounds like one of the things the coach does is that he makes sure that there's a negative for bad behavior as well as a positive for good behavior. If you think about it, what does a coach do if the player doesn't show up for practice? They get disciplined, right? If the player doesn't sleep at night and is out partying all night, the coach says, “What's wrong with you? That's your first shot.” You don't get a second one and he means it. Coaching is not the same thing as mentoring. The coach is actively involved in this and the coach has power in a way that your mentor does not, and the coaching metaphor -- now, Bill was a football coach and a pretty bad one as best we can tell. He didn't win that many games, but he was at Columbia, but he had enormous pride and enormous leadership skills at the time, which he then honed in his work at Apple and others. John Doerr recalls -- and we had a big dinner last night about this -- that Bill in that period before he became a coach, had enormous energy. He had had some bicycling accident and he had this pattern where he would go to Japan for a day for an hour or two meeting and come right back. He broke a whole bunch of ribs. He goes to the hospital, they diagnosed the ribs broken. He gets on an airplane, does a double red-eye to Japan for a meeting and comes back. That's guts.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:20] Yeah. That's whenever people think, "Oh, these guys just get lucky and are at the right place in the right time." There's obviously another couple ingredients to that successful recipe. Tech makes things more open now, but you'd mentioned in one of your talks, actually, it's now it's essentially possible to purchase a technical police state in a way, and you had a hypothesis that terrorists one day might hold information or identities hostage instead of humans. That sounds a little terrifying and ominous in a way.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:51] That is just a speculation of other things that can happen and we got some of the speculation right and we missed some things. I think, for example, most of us were surprised at the extent to which there was nation-state surveillance and nation-state intervention in elections. That's not something that we anticipated. So what do I learn from this? That the success and security of the networks that people use is no longer optional. Your identity needs to be secure. It has to be possible to identify somebody to who they really are in order to get them what they want. And the systems have to be robust against that. Imagine if a terrorist somehow took the collection, digital identities of people across the Internet and made it impossible for you to speak and made it impossible for you to transact commerce, made it impossible for you to communicate. That would be as big an impact as a kinetic or horrific terrorist attack in terms of the impact on people's lives, especially if it were a broad scale. So the tech industry has a requirement that goes and works super hard to keep these things secure. And what you're going to see in the next 10 years is enormous internal checking networks. Google, for example, has a group of people which looks for global threats and the global threat groups are largely looking at attacks on YouTube and on Gmail, but they actually see when the Russians do something or the Chinese something, they can see the activity. And of course, the other side is constantly changing their techniques. And I think that this continual low-grade cyberwar in the sense that we're at peace with these countries, we're not having a conflict with nobody, no guns or being in the military are not fighting. I think a continuous low-grade cyberwar of the kind that I'm describing or cyber conflict or whatever you want to call it is probably true for a very long time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:48] You've said you have to fight for your privacy or you're going to lose it. When we're talking about security and being able to identify people online and things like that, how do you suggest that the average person at home fight for their privacy when we're also trying to organize all of our data online and make sure that we’re operating in an efficient way for advertising or identity?
Eric Schmidt: [00:50:10] This goes back to the general question of freedom. As Americans, we believe in individual freedom as a right. It's part of the way we are brought up in the way our country operates and I think it's a fantastic aspect. I worry that the ability to track surveys especially the government can't impinge on that sometimes for good reasons. I'll give you a thought experiment and I'm not endorsing this. Imagine if America had the same level of surveillance cameras that Britain has. Well, then many of the crimes that occur on the streets would be caught and prevented because they'd be on tape. But that would be a huge violation of our privacy rights and search and seizure and so forth in our constitution. So we've got to find a balance there. And I worry that it's so easy to say as a result of some horrific thing to take away the rights of many.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:01] I think that's probably true. Wikipedia estimates your net worth at double-digit billions, but at what point did you just stop caring about that number? Because at some point everything is basically free because it's the amount that it costs as a percentage of interest collected is so low that it becomes negligible.
Eric Schmidt: [00:51:20] Having been in this in Silicon Valley for a very long time and seeing the wealth cycle, the most interesting thing is that the most successful people in Silicon Valley did not have money as a goal. And so when Google went public, it was the same circus, same clowns, just with more money. And in many cases, these people didn't have houses and didn't have cars. So they bought houses and cars and in some cases airplanes and boats, but their values didn't change. So one of the things that I've observed is that the money that's circulating in the wealth in the Valley allows people to do more of what they were already going to do anyway. So the boat is bigger, the house is bigger, the car is bigger, but their values are the same. And in every case that I can think of, their values were built in some form of service, service to science, service to the community, service to business. And I don't think that's going to change.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:11] Thank you very much. This is fascinating and I can't wait to release this and see the reaction from the audience.
Eric Schmidt: [00:52:17] Well, thank you. And I understand that you were one of the most influential video bloggers in the country, so congratulations.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:25] Thank you. Yeah, podcasting anyway, as far as the video and the blogging stuff, maybe secondary, but the podcast, yeah and thanks to guests like you that make it great. So I really appreciate your time.
Eric Schmidt: [00:52:35] And I think the other comment I was going to make about podcasts is that this is my third book and this is the book tour where the podcast reign. And what seems to be true is that people who read books listen to podcasts.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:48] Definitely. Yeah, and I'm so glad people realize that finally.
Eric Schmidt: [00:52:51] And I'm interested in why. And it turns out a set of tools have made it very easy for people to do their own podcasts like you do and more importantly to consume them. And so two or three years ago even, it was pretty hard to organize that, but somehow now it's trivial to both make a podcast and they come super interesting and edit them as well as listen to them. And that's a good example of technological diffusion where this idea has been around for a very, very long time. Why did it take us so long to get to this point? And it's such a great idea.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:22] Well tell Google to do more with podcasting because you're so far behind and I know you can't comment on things that are going on right now on Google but throw somebody a note.
Eric Schmidt: [00:53:33] Let's just say, I agree more podcasts are good. Congratulations.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:37] Thank you very much.
Eric Schmidt: [00:51:38] Okay, thank you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:41] Jason, this was especially interesting because we were at Google and of course, we get down to the lobby and we're like, hi, we're here for Eric Schmidt. And the receptionist is like, “Yeah, right dude.”
Jason DeFillippo: [00:53:51] Yeah, seriously. It's like, “Okay, security, security.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:54] Yeah, pretty much. I mean it was funny because you walked in and they're like, “Oh, hi, welcome to Google.” And you know, they're all friendly and you're like, “Hey, we're here for Eric Schmidt.” And they're just kind of like, “Hmm.” And they look at each other like, “Are we supposed to let people know he's here?” Et cetera and then, of course, they're like, “Oh, okay, we'll call so-and-so,” because we had an assistant's name and then they take us through the work area. There are all these do-not-enter guests not allowed. Do you have your tag? Whatever access only. And he's like, “Yeah, don't worry about that.” He's like, “Do you want anything from this kitchen?” I was like, “The one that's roped off and says no guests and no visitors.” And he's like, “Just forget about all that.” I'm like, “Okay.”
Jason DeFillippo: [00:54:29] He's like, “I owned the place. You can have a snack.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:32] Yeah, it was his assistant, of course, you know, and then we go up to this conference room and then -- well actually before even then we're walking through, we go to this nondescript door and it says elevator or conference elevator, comp elevator, something like that. He tags in, we go into the elevator, he tags in the elevator and pushes the top button again. So we're tagging like everywhere at this point because you can tell the other employees aren't even allowed in here. We go up to this private floor, there's nobody working on it. There's nothing there. It's just wide-open 360-degree views in a huge conference room and we set up in there and we’re like, “What is this like a secret conference room?” And he's like, “Yep, exactly.” It's just a nondescript room on the roof that nobody else can see from the other roofs. It's actually just facing outward and then it's higher than everything else. And then the elevators are all sort of nondescript. So anybody else we saw in the elevator wasn't even able to get to the floor and it was pretty cool. I was like, wow, this is what you do when you just have world domination money. You set up an amazing conference room like this.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:55:35] You literally went to his secret lair.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:37] Yes we did. We went to the Doctor Evil lair of Google.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:55:41] It's funny, last time I was at Google for a meeting, I went to a Google Ventures and all of their meeting rooms were named after places in Lord of the Rings. So I literally had a pitch meeting where I was pitching my company in Mordor.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:54] One thing that was also pretty funny, Jason, you'll get a kick out of this. Of course, our mobile setup was there, it's cameras, lighting, everything's portable, fits in a giant Pelican case that's checkable on an airline, waterproof, et cetera and rolls. And he goes, “You know, all of these big news channels come in here and film and all these television shows come up here and film and all of these people who want to do pro media interviews with me that are like 15 minutes long. You know, one-fifth of the time we spend together, they have dollies and rollers and crews and all of your stuff fits in this little case.” And I'm like, “Yeah and the quality is going to be marginally different. I mean they'll have slightly better lighting because they have scaffolding and like upward different angles and everything but it's not going to be that appreciable.” And he goes, “I know he goes, we just set up a bunch of media stuff and we were going to hire someone to set up all that.” But he's like, “I just rather have this.” So he starts taking pictures of all of our gear and he's like, “Do you have a list of all these? Can you send it to me?” So we're like, “Yeah, we'll send it to you and we'll help you set it up.” And he was like, “Great.” So, which by the way is a textbook way to offer value when you get an opportunity, like not only will I send you the list of stuff, I will help you configure and set everything up. That's a great way to sort of get a nice relationship going with somebody at that level. The other thing that I think is really funny, Jason, is he had an iPhone.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:57:15] That is really funny.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:17] Yeah. I was like, “Is that an iPhone?” And Jen's like, “Yeah, it is.”
Jason DeFillippo: [00:57:20] Oh my goodness. That's classic. Okay. That right there is worth the price of admission. That really is.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:25] Yeah, I was just thinking -- maybe his business phone is Android and maybe he's got a personal phone. It's an iPhone.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:57:33] Well, you know what?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:34] I don’t know.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:57:34] The day you did the interview was the day that he was stepping down as chairman of Alphabet. So maybe he had this like in a box for the day that he left and he's just like, “I finally get to use an iPhone.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:46] Yeah, you think he opened it from the plastic and he was like, “I'm just going to take pictures of this stuff because I want to test out the camera on my new phone.” He goes and resigns from the board hours later and then says, “Hey, if you guys all need me, shoot me an iMessage. Oh, wait a second. You can't raise this as the iPhone up anyway. Call me.” You know, just like that on his Apple device. And he's like, “Wow, this is really easy to use.”
Jason DeFillippo: [00:58:07] Yes. Seriously. “And it hasn't been hacked yet. Amazing. How cool is this?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:10] Oh, who knows? Who knew? So I wanted to ask him but didn't know how many friends and family members have been like, so I got this Android phone -- because when he was a CEO of Google, of course, he's the Google guy, right? So I'm wondering how many neighbors were like, “Hey, do you know how to open? Or like, do you know how to switch between apps really fast?” Because you hear that a lot from CEOs where somebody will ask them about their own product and it happens all the time. And Shep Gordon had a story like that where he was on some Island with, I think some girl that he was with was like, like in Fiji or something. And he had one of the first portable computers, like an Apple IIe or something like that. And he had brought it with him because why not? It's probably only the size of a suitcase. And something had gone wrong with it. And so the hotel staff had found out that something had gone wrong with his computer because I guess he had mentioned it and they said, “Oh, we happen to have a computer expert here in the hotel as a guest. And normally we don't disturb our guests, but it's a pretty specialized problem. Would you like us to ask him?” And he said, “Yeah.” And Steve Jobs rolls over. And it's like, “What's up, Shep? What can I do? You got an Apple, Oh, let me, let me help you with that.” So then he ends making friends with Steve Jobs, having dinner with him a couple of nights while he's in Fiji.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:24] Yeah. Yeah. Different worlds, different worlds.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:27] Different worlds. But back then, I bet you, you know, you could have asked Steve Jobs, “Hey, I have this thing that your company invented and I'm interested in it. And I brought it with me on vacation.” That's the thing where Steve Jobs would have been like, I got to meet the guy who brought an Apple IIe on vacation.”
Jason DeFillippo: [00:59:40] Yeah, seriously. He'd have been like, “Oh, you bought one. Thanks. Amazing”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:44] “You’re the guy that bought this, that wasn't a school.”
Jason DeFillippo: [00:59:47] It was like $7,000 back then. “So thanks.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:52] And like you brought the monitor. I'm just so confused. The monitor itself weighed 50 pounds.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:59:57] Well, back then they were all-in-one unit. So it was the little boxes that came together.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:02] Oh yeah, that's right.
Jason DeFillippo: [01:00:04] Yeah. You just basically pick it up and take the whole thing with you. That was the whole portability side of it. Well, not really, that portable. It weighed 50 pounds and it was still all-in-one with a black and white CRT built-in, but still pretty cool. Then Shep took it with him and met Steve Jobs because of it. That's good customer service I got to say.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:22] Speaking of Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt was really cool. That's who the show’s guest is from one of the other big computer companies. Great big thank you to him. The book title is Trillion Dollar Coach.
[01:00:33] If you want to know how we managed to book all of these great people and manage relationships and offer that value like we mentioned before with the setting up of the gear to sort of set up relationships, all of these little tips, tricks, tactics that are done in a way that doesn't make you feel slimy, that's all at Six-Minute Networking, which is again free, not slimy free where you enter your credit card, just free-free where you just get the course and get to do it. That's at jordanharbinger.com/course. And speaking to building relationships, tell me your number one takeaway here from Eric Schmidt. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. There's a video of this interview on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. If you want to see the secret conference room lair at Google, there are pretty good views and some of our videos, I think.
[01:01:15] This show is produced in association with PodcastOne. This episode was co-produced by Jason “I'm Feeling Lucky” DeFillippo and Jen Harbinger, show notes and worksheets by Robert Fogarty. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Remember, we rise by lifting others and the fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful. Hopefully, that's in every episode, so please share the show with those you love and share the show with those you don't. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[01:01:46] Today, our podcast is sponsored by another podcast, and that podcast is called Movie Crush. Every Friday, Chuck Bryant of Stuff You Should Know sits -- that's another podcast, of course, or the huge one -- sits down for a deep dive conversation with people across the entertainment industry about their life as it relates to film, their career, and most importantly, their favorite all-time movie. So he'll pick someone like Dax Shepard and talk about their favorite all-time movie and it's influenced their lives. He's got like Dax Shepard, John Hodgman, Roman Mars, even takes like my favorite murder podcast crew and they talk about The Silence of the Lambs. So the show is not just about movies, it's about life and how movies influence us from childhood on and what it is about. A favorite movie that kind of makes you go back again and again. You can find that show Movie Crush at Apple Podcasts on the iHeart app or anywhere you listen to podcasts.
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