“…Be Allowed to Take risks”, underlined Sundar Pichai, when asked on how Indian education should change to build minds (read students) worthy of endeavours like Google. A big statement indeed, considering that most of us hope to end up either at Alphabet (the company behind the Search behemoth) or hope for a workplace with benefits like it.
A vision of tech cool and calm, the bespectacled Sundar glided into a fully-packed auditorium at SRCC, in his Navy blue sweater, holding a bottle of water, slightly enjoying the tech-themed music and a standing ovation from the crowd. The pitch had been laid out by Harsha Bogle, who called him a tech-star and himself the early act before a big band’s performance.
With several statements that could be interpreted as echoes for the student populace, Pichai answered questions about self, Google, Indian education, startups and the tech atmosphere at the #AskSundar session held on December 17. After listening in, these are the 3 Google-worthy Career and Life Lessons we could draw from it. Do share what you feel about them.
Discover your wave and ride it:
When asked ‘How does Google Stay Relevant?’ he said, “We try to figure out what that next wave is.” That’s what startups and entrepreneurs try to answer on a daily basis too. Competitive advantage is what builds business and professional success and you achieve that by mapping out what would be the proverbial ‘next wave’ in your sector.
That’s relevant to our current student populace, at a time when every 1 in 4 IIT grads from Mumbai aim to be an entrepreneur in five years after college.
Be the kid in the candy store:
After dodging a question on self, Sundar Pichai was put in a comfortable slot when Bogle asked him to describe Google as a workplace (Guys, Attention!) Calling it a fun workplace, he said his first time around the Mountain View office felt like ‘he was a kid in the candy store, with people doing amazing, interesting things around him. ‘
Enthusiasm and the drive to try new things is what is traditionally expected from a fresher, though chances are that you would see these in every major success story – be it the young technocrati from Silicon Valley or thriving startups in India. Maintaining that drive through struggles, workplace politics, failures and draining bureaucratic practices is the secret behind these geniuses.
In fact, Pichai underlines this when he said, “Wear Your Failure as a badge of honour and start again.”
Build for the Future:
Constant innovation is how Google strives to stay at the No. 1 spot, said Pichai to Bogle at the #AskSundar session. “We are constantly building products for the future.” For them, it’s about how people are going to use the next version of computing – beyond Android, beyond smartphones.
As per today’s hiring standards, (highlighted in a good way by this Infographic from Entrepreneur), the candidates most of the good organisations look for today are critical thinkers and problem solvers – your work experience and education become secondary if you can develop and showcase the same honestly.
Have an ambitious mission:
While people, brands and products come and go, the ones who have stayed beyond the buzz are those who have a mission beyond themselves. As Sundar Pichai pointed out, for Google it was about organising information for and about the entire world; a task that grows every second, every minute and every day.
Do you have a similar mission or life goal? One that you can look up to as your beacon in life – to guide you beyond failures and momentary successes; tide you through breakups, fall-outs, job firings and dead-ends? That is what would tide you to a multi-zillion success story that you can be comfortable with too.
It is not every day that one gets a chance to listen and imbibe what a tech-star has to say about achieving success in life and certainly not one from Google. The brand is already part of our conscience and holds aspirational value for every student here. Hell, 94% of smartphone users in India have already etched their lives onto a Google-enabled device. However, if you’re thinking about building your own career successes on the basis of this story, you’re already on the right path.
BTW, this is the complete run for the #AskSundar session from the event (start from 16:24 though!):