How to Reach Business Nirvana by Google’s Eric Schmidt


I have just got to share this wonderful SlideShare by Eric Schmidt of Google.

The CEO of Google shared his learnings in his decade-long stay at Google. In this 54-slide deck, Eric shared his learnings in a very easy-to-understand way, yet packs a whole lot of hidden messages, which I hope I did justice in this article by breaking down these lessons and sharing the issues he is tackling.


13 Steps to Achieve Business Nirvana

  1. Ask the question “What’s different now?” [Slide 6]
  2. Accept that technology is changing every business sector – fast! [Slide 9]
  3. Realize that barriers to entry have become so low, almost anyone can enter the market [Slide 10]
  4. Admit that power has shifted from companies to consumers [Slide 12]
  5. Remember what Peter Drucker said, “Make strength productive.” [Slide 16 – 18]
  6. Plan your culture then hire people to fit the culture, not the other way around [23 – 28]
  7. Consider what Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” [Slide 29 – 33]
  8. Stop relying on recruiters and HR for hiring [Slide 34 – 35]
  9. Murder any unchosen alternatives [Slide 36 – 39]
  10. Communicate incessantly. Never assume. Repeat. Again. Again. [Slide 40 – 41]
  11. Set unattainable goals [Slide 44]
  12. Listen to the lab coats, not the suits [Slide 45]
  13. Take a leap of faith [Slide 50 – 52]

Credentials Are Not The Best Predictor of High Performance


Managers often hire a person on their team on the basis of a person’s credentials. While it may be one of the most common indicators, it is not the best indicator of a person’s likelihood to achieve high performance. And I do not have to argue that achieving high performance is your goal as a manager, right?

Mark Horstman of Manager Tools said “interviewing is a black box.” It is one of those areas where we, as managers, are expected to know or be good at, but were never taught how to interview nor were given any training.

There is no one right way to do this. However, the next worse option is to conduct behavioral interviews. It stems from the notion that future behavior is best predicted by past behavior. What that means is because you did it in the past, you are most likely to do it again in the future.

Again, bringing the focus on results and high performance, here are a few examples of what to look for:

  1. Bringing in a project on time and in budget
  2. Meeting deadlines
  3. Handled multiple projects simultaneously

These are what every manager wants, right? But because we were not taught how to interview nor told what to look for, we just use the same gauge our manager used for us (who were not taught how to interview as well) — which are credentials:

  1. University or college you went to
  2. Honors like suma cum laude
  3. Other certifications
  4. What companies you worked for

See the difference? The first set of identifiers do not discriminate. It does not look at superficial data. It enables you to know if the person can do the job you are hiring him for. The second set gives you shallow facts. It does not indicate if the person is equipped with the skills you need for the job.

Let us say you have a candidate who worked at multinational company. The fact that he listed it in his resume does not mean he is any good at all. Remember, managers were never taught how to manage.  Most just learned on the job. For all you know the manager at that company made a mistake at hiring him and wanted him out. But the manager does not know how to fire as well (another topic for another discussion).

You want results and high performance. If you do not ask the right questions, you will not feel at ease in hiring that person. Ask the right ones. Use behavioral interview questions to determine what they did in the past. Stop using credentials as the basis of your hiring.

PS: this precludes that you have to know what you are looking for in the candidate. As the manager, you do not just wing it nor go by your gut feeling. It involves you knowing what it takes to be successful in that job you are hiring for.

One Behavior You Do That Makes You a Boss and Not a Manager

Sitting in front of the computer the whole day and typing crazily as if you are the busiest person in the world may seem normal for most managers. However, let me be the first to tell you that that behavior is not effective.

This post is not about arguing about a manager and a leader (personally I don’t think there’s a difference though). This is about making you realize that what you think of effective managerial behaviors are, sadly, mistaken.

Managers are paid for results. 

You are paid for results. 

You are not paid to show up, nor send email, nor attend meetings. As managers, you are seen as effective if your team is effective. That can only be achieved through high performance.

Manager Tools keeps on saying that avoiding poor performance is not the same thing as achieving high performance. What that means is you constantly talk about performance — on a daily basis, not when the company needs you to (aka annual performance reviews).

If you sit around in front of your computer the whole day while you blindly close your eyes to the small failings of your team (like being tardy, missing their weekly quota), you are not an effective manager. 

You would prefer them to self-correct. Yes, we all want that. But that rarely happens. 

If you do not address the small shortcomings then you suddenly make it a big issue in your annual evaluation of them, what does that make you look like? How do you think that would make them feel?

You will be construed as a boss who takes grudges. You will make a fool of yourself. You will appear to be thinking solely of yourself and not caring about your team. They will start thinking “where is all these coming from?”

Your approach of not talking about performance because of your fear of creating conflict is only hindering you and your team’s growth. Your avoidance of conflict — by not talking about performance and only talk about it when a big issue is at hand — keeps you from achieving high performance.

Stop sitting in front of your computer and talk to your team. Talk about their performance – both good and bad. Manager Tools has a tool specifically for that called Feedback. What do you think? Do you exhibit that behavior? Do you avoid conflict by not talking to your direct reports about their performance? Or simply know someone who is doing exactly that? Share this article to them to make them realize they are not being effective.

Digital Marketing Affects the Bottomline


Marketing has evolved a lot in the last decade. The popular classification such as above-the-line marketing (ATL) and below-the-line marketing (BTL) are both no longer effective. The answer is obvious. They both intrude whatever the customer is doing; thus, being dubbed as intrusion marketing.

Effective digital marketing is all about permission. It is differentiated from the traditional (note: intrusive) marketing because all aspects have explicit opt-in. As HubSpot puts it, it is marketing that people love.

However, companies and marketing experts seem to keep on doing the wrong things. They keep intruding on other people’s business. They bombard you with ads, unsolicited email, and their never-ending promos (which makes you think if they really care about you or simply want your money).

People’s habits have changed. The sooner you accept this, the better it is for everyone. For example, you give them ads. You hired the best advertising firm to execute your collaterals. You paid good money for that targeted ad placement. You should see a high return on investment (ROI) here, right? But let’s be honest. Most likely, you are getting mediocre results. Or worse, way below your initial estimates.

What seems to be the problem? You don’t have to look far for answers. The answer is obvious: just look at your own behavior. When you do something — say perform a search or browse through social media (where these ads come out) — do you even notice these ads? Personally, I find them annoying. One reason why I love Safari is its reader option where it only shows you the content — the thing that you really want. Same goes when you browse your favorite social media, you don’t look around for ads to click on. You are there to see updates from your friends or post your own photos. When you do those things, you have a purpose. Anything else not contributing to that purpose is simply a distraction. That is why ads are irrelevant.

Of course, you will hear these experts doing this (ineffective) activity and argue that it increases brand awareness and brand recall. That is another topic in of itself. But simply put, awareness and recall does not affect the company’s bottomline. These can only be measured using surveys (not very good proxies). And you should know by now that surveys are unreliable and subjective – a total waste of corporate resources.

There are only two variables that affect a company’s profits: Revenues and Expenses, depicted by the equation below:

Revenues – Expenses = Profit

Forgive me for being too capitalistic in this example. But let’s make life easy by assuming expenses are fixed. That means when you increase sales, you increase profit. Sales is composed of two variables as well: price x quantity. For most companies, price is a given and have little control over it. So that leaves you with one variable left to control: quantity.

Quantity is equated to frequency. It can be the number of customers or the number of times a single customer purchases something. Going back to my original premise — effective digital marketing affects the bottomline. Does brand awareness affect the quantity or the frequency a customer buys? Does brand recall do that as well? Do awareness and recall even affect revenues? Not one tad bit.

It is the number of customers that affect the bottomline. Where do customers come from? They come from leads. See where this is going? There are 5 metrics every marketer should be measuring if you want to be called effective.

Marketing has changed drastically. If your activities do not contribute to the bottomline, you are wasting corporate resources. If your marketing strategies still intrude on other people, then these people will grow a dislike for your brand. If you don’t change, you are bound to fail.