Google CEO Larry Page is on a mission to remodel his company’s organizational structure and preserve startup mentality that helped create the Internet’s most important asset. He has been on it ever since he took over the reigns from Eric Schmidt in April of last year, and just like Steve Jobs did upon his return from exile —Page mercilessly axed many internal projects while doubling down on a few that do matter. He namely focused on Google’s social thing marketed under the Google+ moniker.
We were promised “moonshots” as Page set out to Jobs-ify the company he cofounded with Sergey Brin. Heck, Page’s already been named ‘CEO of the Year’ by Investors Business Daily. Fortune’s Senior Editor-at-Large Adam Lashinsky sat down with Page to discuss life at Google. His exclusive interview with Page revealed that Google is “more realistic about recruiting” and “kinder about tolerating underperformers.”
As of last year, the company began recruiting at such nonpedigreed institutions as Texas A&M and the State University of New York at Buffalo; interview sessions that often involved as many as 12 screenings now average between four and five.
This is in stark contrast to Apple, a company built on secrets and famous for its relentless pursuit of A-players. Lashinsky profiled Apple extensively in his upcoming book called “Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired – and Secretive – Company Really Works,” due for release Jan. 25.
Page said Google’s famous perks, such as free food and gym, are remaining (“I don’t worry about the cost”). He also noted Google is going the extra mile to help employees live a healthy lifestyle, which includes helping them quit smoking…
Generally you go to these big facilities for gyms – but we noticed people were heavily using the smaller gyms that are closer to their buildings. [We’ve been] making sure we have really healthy food for people. We started putting the desserts around a wall, just around the corner. We have doctors on site. We’d like to do more of that, where we really make health care convenient and easy and faster, which I think helps people stay healthy. If your access to health care involves your leaving work and driving somewhere and parking and waiting for a long time, that’s not going to promote healthiness.
When asked to explain how the management kept its tens of thousands of workers on the same page as opposed to just hundreds a decade ago, Page responded:
Even when we started in 1998, our mission was to organize the world’s information. I remember I’d stand up on Fridays [at Google’s TGIF events], and we probably had 100 people or so. People would ask me, “We have 100 people — that’s a lot of people. Why do we need more people?” And I was like, Well, organizing the world’s information isn’t something for 100 people to do; it’s something for a lot more people to do. We’ve been lucky that the things we’ve worked on and wanted to work on are huge-impact things, and to do them really well requires a tremendous amount of effort. I don’t think we’re going to run out of important things to do, compared with the resources that we have. There are many, many problems in the world that need solving.
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