Meeting Eric Schmidt at Google

Here are some of the key things that Eric Schmidt said at this lunch:

“I am not an entrepreneur”

Eric has no pretensions to being an entrepreneur. He’s a manager and is happy with that role.

“I came to Google to build the company that Larry and Sergei wanted to build, not the company that I wanted to build.”

I find this extrarordinary. I don’t know of many people who would be willing to say that and then act on it.

“Often, one move is enough for a whole career”

Eric talked to us about George Church who moved to the Boston area and met Walter Gilbert. That one move set him up for his very successful career in genetics. He compared this move to his own move from Virginia to the Bay area as been the key move that set him up for the rest of his career.

And the most important thing he attributed his success to?

Luck

We talked about many things and he exhibited an extraordinary interest in each of the six of us present, making each of us feel unique and special. That in itself demonstrated his unusual emotional intelligence.

Seeing and experiencing that in person was perhaps the best lesson of the lunch.

Guy Spier

Guy Spier

I’m a Zurich-based investor and the author of The Education of a Value Investor, which was published in 2014. Since 1997, I’ve managed a privately offered investment fund known as the Aquamarine Fund. In 2009, I moved from New York to Zurich, Switzerland, where I live with my wife Lory and our three children, Eva, Isaac and Sarah.
Guy Spier

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