Write-up: CEO Series 32: Sajith Sivanandan, Country Head of Google Malaysia
Live blogging of event, done in point form:
- Sajith started by stating that Google started in a garage. YCM is not that different because its CEO Series started with humble beginnings in an old bungalow.
- Sajith stated that YCM, like Google was and is still worth doing as “It is better to be part of something than be a bystander”
- The presentation revolved around Google’s Mission statement, and the emphasis of its words. Google’s Mission statement is “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”
- Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO and current Chairman, said that this is a 300 year goal
- Sajith showed a 2D map of the world, showing volume of Google searches in 2000. Key areas were US, Europe and Japan
- Through Google’s 20 pc time, a Google Engineer developed a tool that showed it in 3D
- Sajith demonstrated Google Instinct, where by playing the Beatles’ Hey Jude, as playing and typing the lyrics, Google search is able to predict what you are looking for
- Sajith demonstrated the integration of Google Maps with Google Streetview and stated that this is among the things Google Malaysia is planning to bring to Malaysia
- Sajith demonstrated Streetview at New York, and even Antartica!
- He then demonstrated Google Art Project, Google is bringing Streetview into museums, as he demonstrated Vincent van Gogh’s painting zoomed to the tiniest details
- Sajith then spoke of Google’s book scanning project. They estimated that there are (arguably) 129 million books in the world, of which Google has scanned 5.2 million books. That is equivalent to 500 billion words!
- Sajith then spoke of the uses of having scanned 500 billion words. Sajith demonstrated Googles Books Ngram Viewer (accessible here: http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/), able to scan particular words in books from any time.
- He asked, in the books from 1800 to 2000, what is the pattern of mentions of “Men” versus “Women”? Results showed more men than women, but mentions of men declined starting 1920 and women mentions overtook men mid-1980s.
Are the words “money”, “love” or “power” more popular? Unfortunately, its Power.
- Sajith demonstrated the pattern of SMS at New Year where the spikes of one day, are tremendous
- Information is one thing, how and what is Useful? His context is a question: What time of the year do most men propose to their girlfriends?
- You only search for something when you have a need. He demonstrated Google Insights for Search (accessible here: http://www.google.com/insights/search/#) and searched, “engagement rings”. It shows the pattern when people search for the word. It shows that the spike is in December. And unsurprisingly, the search for “wedding dresses” spike in January. How is this useful? As a business, why not have a marketing campaign for a ring near December?
- Next question: When is the highest peak for movie goers? Its December. The highest grossing film of all time is first Avatar then Titanic, both launch in December and both released by James Cameron!
- Question: When do people care about their weight? The spike is in the 1st week of January.
- Question: Consumer insights for laptop purchases. Do people want long battery laptop or light weight laptop? Searches reveal that people search for long battery laptop. This information is useful as manufacturers can know what laptop to design for.
- What can we do to make information universally accessible?
- Sajith demonstrated a Google graph of mobile penetration. In Y2000, China has 10 million phones, a single digit percentage of its population. Past 2000, it boomed to 50% penetration with 600 milion phones in 2008, a tremendous growth. Its an indicator how fast business change.
- In Google’s opinion, Indonesia will have more queries on mobile than PC. More people are searching Google on mobile.
- The kind of person Google is looking for is one who is able to adjust to the fast pace of change.
- Sajith noted that the new generation is introduced to the internet first through mobile than through desktop. Mobile searches actually spike during weekends, when we are not in office.
- More and more media content, TV content, are available online. How much media is uploaded on YouTube every minute? Every minute, 35 hours worth of content is uploaded on YouTube! People do not consume TV content anymore, they consume Internet media.
- He demonstrated a YouTube video Double Rainbow, which someone then made a reply and made a song out of it. Go YouTube Double Rainbow Song!
- Original video: (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI)
- Double Rainbow song: (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX0D4oZwCsA)
- How is this information useful? Windows Live Photo’s advert was out of the Double Rainbow! (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jXz7NrfzsI)
- Overall Malaysian searches in Google:
- Queries on mobile phones went up 10 times the last 5 years.
- Queries on financial and insurance information went up 6-7 times the last 5 years.
- Queries on travel went up 3-4 times the last 5 years.
Vishal (Question 1): Does Google earn financially with such projects like the Art Project?
Sajith: Google’s philosophy is that if the product is good and user uses it, revenue will come in. As a company, they allow customers to define how applicable and how useful a product is. Google wants to make a difference in people’s lives.
Helmy (Question2): What is Google going to do about Facebook? Is it seen as a rival or a partner?
Sajith: We want more and more companies to encourage people to surf online. Such moves enrich the ecosystem. It is not a zero sum game. The more companies encourage people online, everybody benefits.
Sajith hopes that in 5 years time, there will be 3 local internet companies in Malaysia.
Question 3: When is a movie about Google gonna come out?
Sajith: Let’s ask James Cameron.
Brendan (Question 4): What kind of person are you looking for?
Sajith: We are looking for people with the X-factor, beyond just good grades. People who have demonstrated they can do something else. With all that has been shown (the product demonstration), you need to have more than just good grades.
Question 5: Why did Google hire you Sajith?
Sajith: It helped that I had a couple of Masters. It helped I played sport, I played cricket for Singapore. I debated, I have worked in 4 different industries. It helps I speak 3 languages. Do you do something at work over and above the usual call? We are not looking for someone with just online experience.
Eric (Question 6): Why does Google set up an office in Malaysia?
Sajith: Hey, are you Malaysian? With 30 million people, more and more people choosing to be connected online. Malaysia has the highest number of average friends on Facebook. Malaysia is the first Google office in 3 years in Asia Pacific.
Guru (Question 7): What is Google +1?
Sajith: The second largest search engine is YouTube, owned too by Google. When we search, there is a social element that we have missed. Such as the question of “How does Siti feel about this event when she speaks to Alia?”. Google +1 adds an additional layer of social signal to make searches more meaningful.
Guru (Question 8): How do you determine 20% time in the 80:20 time concept? How do you quantify?
Sajith: Trust is implicit in all we do at Google. We don’t have timesheets. What Google is most interested in is the outcome. You are intelligent enough to be trusted with what you do with the time. You are surrounded by intelligent and driven people so we don’t need to answer how to ensure people to work 80% of the time. They just do. It’s a desire to make a difference and we hope it would inspire people.