Eric Schmidt: Lessons from a Trillion-Dollar Coach – The Tim Ferriss Show

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Eric Schmidt (@ericschmidt) is Technical Advisor and Board Member to Alphabet Inc., where he advises its leaders on technology, business and policy issues. Eric joined Google in 2001 and helped grow the company from a Silicon Valley startup to a global leader in technology. He served as Google’s Chief Executive Officer from 2001-2011, and Executive Chairman 2011-2018, alongside founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

Books Mentioned

Key Takeaways

  • Is Silicon Valley a one-off phenomenon? 
    • “In order to replicate Silicon Valley, you’re going to need to have leading universities, lots of money, and time” – So time will tell, but the below cities look promising:
      • Cambridge, Mass. has done this with biotech
      • New York City is on its way
      • Same with Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Singapore
  • Eric joined Google as CEO in 2001 to “manage the chaos”
    • “My role was to manage the chaos. You need to have someone to run fast and have a good product sense – that was Larry and Sergey. My job was to organize the world around them.”
  • The 70/20/10 Model in the early days of Google – this is how they “systematized innovation”
    • 70% of efforts were focused on the core business (for revenue growth)
    • 20% of efforts were focused on adjacent or nearby areas (to extend the Google franchise)
    • 10% of efforts were focused on wild bets (for things that Google hoped to do 5-10 years down the line)
  • If you’re growing fast as a company, the best thing you can do is to continue making the product as good as possible
  • All about Bill Campbell:
    • Who was he?
      • A legendary Silicon Valley business coach/advisor
      • “Bill Campbell is, in at least in our opinion, the most successful coach in world history”
    • What made Bill Campbell such an excellent business coach?
      • He truly got to know everyone he worked with on a personal level – here are some good quotes related to this:
        • “If you’re going to manage people, or lead them, lead the whole person”
        • “Work the people and then the problem” – Bill might ask:
          • Is this the best person we can get to work on this problem? Is there an alternative choice?
          • What do we need to do to get this person performing better in their job so they can tackle the problem more effectively?
    • What’s the difference between a coach and a manager?
      • A manager will say – “Please do this”
      • A coach will say – “What do you want to do?” and then carefully guide you to there
    • “I don’t take cash, I don’t take stock, and I don’t take shit”
      • Bill did all his advising/coach FOR FREE as a way of giving back to Silicon Valley
    • Bill’s daily routine:
      • He would wake up around 5:30 AM and then workout from 6-7 AM
      • Bill worked from 8-2 PM and then coached soccer
    • One thing Eric notes about Bill – he was very good at only focusing on ONE thing at a time
      • This is something humans are losing the ability to do well – single-tasking in this day and age is a superpower
    • A little bit about Eric:
      • He”s been experimenting with intermittent fasting
    • “Businesses are more than just products and facts. They’re about people and emotion and morality.”
    • “There’s nothing more fun than having a very fast-moving team where everyone’s rowing in the same direction”
    • Design systems based on the outcomes you care most about
      • For example:
        • In prison systems, do you care more about punishment or recidivism?
        • In economic systems, do you care more about revenue growth or job growth
    • But most importantly….
      • “Everyone needs a coach”
        • No matter what you’re doing in life, a coach will help you grow, stay on track, and see things you wouldn’t otherwise observe
        • Remember – even the best tennis players in the world have coaches

These notes were edited by RoRoPa Editing Services

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