Google CEO Sundar Pichai interacts with students at his alma mater IIT Kharagpur in West Bengal. Around 300 IITians have gathered to meet the IIT alumnus.
Here are the highlights of Sundar Pichai’s address:
- It is great to be back here.
- It wasn’t easy to get admission in.
Did I bunk? Yes, it is the right of passage while going through college. But I worked hard as well.
- Didn’t have access to computer at home. Looked at the first computer here. Now we have 300 smartphones
- I remember as a freshman you would lock the door and leave. But when you returned your room would be completely rearranged, without the doors being opened.
- Some things don’t change, but overall there has been a lot of change I see here on campus.
- I’m sure my share of experiences weren’t too different from what you have here even today. I have had lots of good memories. You make friends for a lifetime.
- We’ve always had an ambitious approach at Google. We want to work on things billions of people will use everyday. You might fail a few times. But that’s ok. Larry (Larry Page, Alphabet CEO) used to say you must aim to do great things. Even if you fail, you end up doing something worthwhile which you learn a great deal from.
- The computation power has dramatically increased in the recent years. Data learning algorithms can now be used much more easily now. Image recognition, voice recognition, translation services, etc can now change lives.
- The digital market in India is growing. Indian companies now need to set their sights on bigger things. I am confident you will soon see big global innovations coming from India very soon.
- Most parents aspire to see their children aim high in education and that is a great trait we have. Focus on education is a big strength. I want to see the young people focus on creativity and take more risks.
- There are many great people who make it big, even though they don’t make it to IIT. There is a lot of talent in India.
- There are many many different options available to people that gives them so many opportunities.
- As a leader it is important to not just see your own success. But focus on the success of others. There are so many people who work so hard and try new things everyday. As a leader we should guide them to succeed. Focusing on the team is one of the most important jobs for a leader.
- The thing I am most excited about is to bring machine learning and AI (Artificial intelligence) to all facets of life.
- On IIT Kharagpur as Google doodle: Even if I send an email to make IIT-Kharagpur as the doodle for the day, they wont do it. We have very strong ethics and principles of the organisation that are followed and we are very particular about what all is approved as doodles.
- We look forward to cheaper smartphones in India. In the $30 bracket for entry level smartphones. We at Google want to focus on usage of Internet in rural areas in India. We are big supporters of the Digital India program. We are also working on digitising payments.
- I am fully confident that India will be a global player when it comes to digital economies. We are growing well as a country and will not be behind any country, even the most advanced ones when it comes to digitisation and digital economies.
- Pressure on Kids: There is a lot of pressure on kids today. It’s quite shocking to hear that children are preparing for IIT from eighth standard. Setbacks are perfectly fine in life and people shouldn’t get too disheartened, not lose focus. If someone doesn’t make it to IIT, it is not the end of the road. There is a good education available in other universities and colleges of global repute.
- I’m not sure what I will be doing in 10 years, but I am passionate about developing products that makes lives better and hopefully I will be able to continue doing that a decade from now.
- Gmail was launched on near April fools day and when we sent out invites people weren’t sure if Gmail was an April fools joke.
- On humanities courses: Doing more things and getting a more well rounded experience makes a real difference.
Pichai’s Rapid Fire
- How do you spend you free time- I spend time with my young kids. I like watching cricket and soccer.
- What was your GPA at IIT- Too embarrassed to admit it after the first year, but really good for the next three years to make up for it.
- Who was your idol during college- Many. Mr Narayan Murthy. Loved watching Tendulkar play.
- Did you have poster in your room-I don’t want to comment on the posters.