Google has grown dramatically in the last decade, with revenue soaring to $90 billion in 2016. The company’s growth led to concerns among some staff about how it functions, so its leaders restructured under a parent company called Alphabet to encourage more innovation and so-called moonshot projects.
Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt and fellow executive Jonathan Rosenberg, who helped build the tech giant, have updated their bestselling book, “How Google Works,” with a chapter on “How Alphabet Works.”
“When you take a company that triples in size… ultimately you have to organize differently,” Schmidt said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning. “So you have to organize around the people who have the biggest impact. So what we did is we took those people and put them in charge of companies.”
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin can tackle more ambitious ventures and have multiple CEOs to scale the projects around, including current Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
“The two founders will actually spend a whole day with a particular technical team trying to tease out not just the technical insights but also the business opportunities,” Schmidt said. For example, Schmidt said he thinks Alphabet’s driverless cars will be out on the streets within the next year or two.
But Schmidt thinks American technological innovations could be hampered by the Trump administration, particularly with the president’s proposed budget cuts in science and medical research. Schmidt calls that a “mistake,” a view he believes is probably shared by the industry as a whole.
“The reason is that there are roles of the government that are difficult to have technology or companies replace. The internet itself came out of a DARPA grant, part of the military programs. There are so many things that we use every day that have come out of funding. Medical funding is also being proposed to be cut. Those cuts should be restored,” Schmidt said.
Mr. Trump’s travel ban — currently on hold — would also greatly impact the tech industry, as 37 percent of Silicon Valley workers are foreign born. As part of comprehensive immigration reform, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also has said the Trump administration will be reviewing work visas, which would include the H-1B visa.
“The industry is completely united on diversity and inclusion, and the importance of high skills immigration,” Schmidt said.
“It is insane to allow people to stay in other countries who want to come to our country to create companies, and to create new jobs, create wealth, and power our economy. We want all of that talent to come to America to found the kind of companies that Google represents and Alphabet and the many others that will happen. You’re literally crazy to say to those people you’re not allowed in the country because you’re a foreigner.”