Pretend for a minute you work at one of the biggest TV advertisers in the US as an interactive marketer. You see the media landscape shifting dramatically right in front of your eyes, with advertisers, ad firms, and media guys running a hundred different directions trying to make a good guess at what’s coming next. One guy knows.
You have 30 minutes with Eric Schmidt, of Google.
Please dear reader, (and i’ve got very smart readers), what do you ask him?
My question would be two-fold:
1. Who do you feel is beating you at your own game? What are they doing differently than you and how does that change the perception of your own products?
2. And when do you plan on purchasing them?
D’oh. I’ll answer my own question.
2. Last month
Mmm… tricky. Partially because I’m not sure I buy the premise. I don’t think Eric Schmidt does know what’s coming next — except for Google in a very immediate way.
I think one of the key things Google does right is allow it’s path to emerge. Sure, there’s guidance, but the Labs, the 20% that engineers are meant to put towards personal projects, the very selective hiring… it’s like it’s a brain with only VERY fit, responsive neurons.
Someone’s steering it from day to day, but there’s a really exciting, organic aspect to the decision making at Google, which only gets MORE exciting as they start to exert more and more influence — what kind of weird feedback loop is that going to start to cause?
That said, I’d probably try to get a handle on what they’re planning with YouTube/video-in-general (indexing? stronger search services and hence stronger targeting of advertising?) and more importantly — how would he export the responsiveness and robustness he has the pleasure of tending and shepherding now to an existing corporate structure? (ie; How would you, Mr. Schmidt, get prepared for the changes that are coming down the pike if you WEREN’T at Google?)
I’d ask him how they are going to handle behavioral targeting (or who are they going to buy that has already figured it out). The big one went to Omniture – http://www.omniture.com/touchclarity.
What is Google going to do to catch up?
If I had any time left I’d love to talk to him about organizational structure. But I’m a geek like that.
I would ask Eric lots of things (ok, I talk a lot); how do you get to be a hyper successful entrepreneur yet rule the corporate world (in a subversive way) in one fail swoop? 2. As the top honcho in his organization, how would you coach other senior level execs on fast and insightful decision making with interactive? How can you help these senior execs to feel the fear but do it anyway? How can mere underlings like us help these people make these decisions? And 3. how on earth does he plan to catch up to Mr J Cuene as being the hottest guy in interactive? Woooo-hoooo!..:) (We miss you Cuene)
I’m probably one of the few, but I’m a Schmidt skeptic so I don’t think I’d look to Eric for answers. I had a meeting with him once when I was at Digital River and we were designing Novell’s ecommerce system with his team. I wasn’t impressed with his leadership. He was more concerned with channel conflict than being innovative. Where is Novell today? Where is Sun today? I still think I would look to the micro trends happening online and add them up for a perspective. That’s what makes this a fun industry. Did you see that wwtdd.com is one of the top 10 sites for young women? Wild that an obscure blog is on the same chart as YouTube. Google admits they never saw the YouTube thing coming. Fortunately for them, they have a ton of cash that they can throw around.