Eric Schmidt: “Hire for intelligence, not for experience”

The long-term Google CEO about how to build a culture of excellence to how to systematically harnessing world-changing ideas in your company

This week’s podcast guest has shaped the legend of Google, served in the epicenter of Silicon Valley for almost 20 years and led Google’s expansion into all aspects of our lives: Eric Schmidt, the former Google Inc. CEO & executive chairman. 

And in our show he’s offering a rare look inside his playbook – from how to systematically harness world-changing ideas to establishing a culture of agility and excellence in your startup.

For this conversation that we recorded during our Bits & Pretzels Networking Week the Google billionaire joined us live from his apartment in New York and he shared the key learnings that have helped him building his impressive career in tech: from 1) why founders should try building smaller businesses that can be linked together, rather than focussing on one big project, to 2) the one skill every entrepreneur should acquire right now and 3) what European startups can do to to catch up with Silicon Valley. 

Because, as Schmidt points out, creativity and quality of talent in Europe is “exceptional”, the challenge lies more in the restrictions and rules founders face set by the European laws regarding privacy for example. Another problem he sees is the underfunding of universities and especially the graduate programmes as that where the talent is usually coming from. 

02:24 The responsibility of entrepreneurs during the current pandemic 
05:15 How new leaders emerge during a crisis 
06:38 Why the golden period for digital startups has just begun  
08:20 The regulatory challenges for tech companies in Europe 
13:05 The eroding trust in science, the rise of conspiracy theories & platforms’ responsibility
16:44 The biggest learning Eric Schmidt took from his career so far 
19:00 How not to lose your innovation DNA when your company grows
20:20 The one skill everyone should acquire today 
21:33 European regulation have to change to enable more startups

Production: Regina Körner, Migo Fecke (professional-podcast.com); Sophie Dechansreiter & Dina Zhakupova