Google CEO Sundar Pichai's return to IIT Kharagpur: Top 20 things he said
Google
Continue reading
Google's CEO Sundar Pichai is unlike any other tech executive you will ever see. He is humble to the level of being shy. Obviously, he is super smart, he was the brain behind the Chrome web browser which is now used by over a billion people and later on he even led the team at Android before being elevated to the position of Google's CEO. In his recent trip to India, he announced the Digital Unlocked programme which is a training programme for SMBs that will help them come online and leverage the power of the Internet. Today, he returned to his alma mater IIT Kharagpur 23 years after being a student there and he addressed an audience full of students who not only gave him a rockstar welcome but listened to him diligently. Here are 20 things that he revealed at the event.

• When he first came to IIT Kharagpur, Sundar Pichai thought people called everyone "Abe Saale". He thought it was a way of greeting, He accidentally shut down the Canteen for some time after he greeted one of the staff with the slang. He wasn't liked that much after that, for some time.

• He met his wife Anjali at IIT Kharagpur. He used to go to the only girl's hostel nearby to meet her.

• On being asked how Google choose projects “We try got work on things which people will use on an everyday basis. We try to build things for billions for people. "

• On sudden advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, Pichai said, "The biggest advances are due to 2-3 reasons. The techniques are largely the same, earlier there wasn't enough computational power. Now that is possible combined with better data, the improvements are drastic. "

• On the future of the Indian market: The potential is there and the market is developing. In a couple of years, the potential will be realised. It is difficult to scale across India.

• On building specific Products for India: At Google when we build products for India, they often work globally as well.

• On his role as CEO: As a leader, it is about making your team successful. I value teamwork. It is important that people want to work together. It is about fostering an environment of collaboration.

• On creating an IIT Kharagpur Google Doodle: If I send an email, they wouldn't do it. We are very thoughtful about these things. We have set up rules to go by.

• On the ideal smartphone price for the Indian Market: We need to bring down the price to $30 for an entry level smartphone for India.

• On ragging: "I was asked to carry luggage for incoming seniors at IIT Kharagpur station. It has a long platform."

• On Demonetization: We are working on digitising payments. India will be a global digital economy and a competitor with any other country in the world.

• On getting into Google: There are several successful people at Google who are not from IIT. There are many paths to success for sure. Getting into an elite institution doesn't guarantee success.

• On What keeps him going: The thing that keeps me going is the desire to build products which are used by billions of users

• When I was interviewed at Google on April Fools Day, They had just announced Gmail which was invite only. People asked me what was Gmail but because it was April Fools, I didn't know what to say. First, three interviews I didn't know what to say, but at the fourth interview I was shown Gmail and I told them what I thought about Gmail and how to improve it.

• On the day of my interview at Google, Larry had just stopped interviewing people as now the company had more than 1000 employees. I was one of the first people who wasn't interviewed by Larry so I often joke that I got into Google because Larry didn't interview me.

• His views on Cricket: I love watching cricket and soccer. Loved watching Tendulkar, he started playing when I was at IIT. Gavaskar was my favourite. Currently, Virat Kohli is the favourite. I didn't think it was possible for someone to have an average of 50 in all three formats T20, ODI and Tests.

• On His GPA at IIT: Too embarrassed to admit after the first year it wasn’t great, but it was so good in the next three that I made up for it.

• At Google, I had the chance to host Deepika Padukone. I used to enjoy watching Prakash Padukone (Deepika's father) play Badminton.

• On his Favourite Professor’s:"Professor Roy and Professor Indranil Manna who is now at IIT Kanpur were my favourite professors."

• On being asked whether he was in touch with old friends "I do still get calls from my college friends. A few of us met up at Bangalore. I do have a group, follow up on Facebook and WhatsApp."