My grandfather was an autoworker, and I have a weapon he manufactured to protect himself from the company that he would carry to work. It's a big iron pipe with a hunk of lead on the head. I think about how far we've come as companies from those days, where workers had to protect themselves from the company.
If you ask an economist what's driven economic growth, it's been major advances in things that mattered - the mechanization of farming, mass manufacturing, things like that. The problem is, our society is not organized around doing that.
Invention is not enough. Tesla invented the electric power we use, but he struggled to get it out to people. You have to combine both things: invention and innovation focus, plus the company that can commercialize things and get them to people.
My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they're having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society. As a world, we're doing a better job of that. My goal is for Google to lead, not follow that.
I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. Since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. In fact, there are so few people this crazy that I feel like I know them all by first name.
It really matters whether people are working on generating clean energy or improving transportation or making the Internet work better and all those things. And small groups of people can have a really huge impact.
We can't have democracy if we're having to protect you and our users from the government over stuff we've never had a conversation about. We need to know what the parameters are, what kind of surveillance the government is going to do, and how and why.
I have always believed that technology should do the hard work - discovery, organization, communication - so users can do what makes them happiest: living and loving, not messing with annoying computers! That means making our products work together seamlessly.
You know what it's like to wake up in the middle of the night with a vivid dream? And you know that if you don't have a pencil and pad by the bed, it will be completely gone by the next morning. Sometimes it's important to wake up and stop dreaming. When a really great dream shows up, grab it.
We want to build technology that everybody loves using, and that affects everyone. We want to create beautiful, intuitive services and technologies that are so incredibly useful that people use them twice a day. Like they use a toothbrush. There aren't that many things people use twice a day.
If you say you want to automate cars and save people's lives, the skills you need for that aren't taught in any particular discipline. I know - I was interested in working on automating cars when I was a Ph.D. student in 1995.
We don't have as many managers as we should, but we would rather have too few than too many.
I really like using my Samsung (005930:KS) tablet. I previously used the Motorola Xoom for a while and liked that.
It's quite complicated and sounds circular, but we've worked out a way of calculate a Web site's importance.
I like going to Burning Man, for example. An environment where people can try new things. I think as technologists we should have some safe places where we can try out new things and figure out the effect on society. What's the effect on people, without having to deploy it to the whole world.
We're at maybe 1% of what is possible. Despite the faster change, we're still moving slow relative to the opportunities we have. I think a lot of that is because of the negativity... Every story I read is Google vs someone else. That's boring. We should be focusing on building the things that don't exist.