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Sundar Pichai Says Google Doesn't Plan to Go Entirely Remote

Sundar Pichai Says Google Doesn't Plan to Go Entirely Remote

Sundar Pichai’s job wasn’t particularly easy before Covid-19. The 47-year-old CEO of Google and its parent company Alphabet (he assumed the latter post from cofounder Larry Page in December 2019) was already dealing with antitrust allegations, employee unrest, and a feeling that, as a trillion-dollar behemoth dominating global search and advertising, the company’s mojo as a charming innovator was fading. But one can argue that despite the challenges of a work-from-home company, Google is managing through the crisis, as users turn to its services (maybe not Maps) even more. It has even used the opportunity to collaborate with key rival Apple on contact tracing technology. Pichai is already looking ahead, knowing that post-Covid, the world will change. But the pre-virus challenges will still be with him.

Pichai has been reflective lately, while preparing his commencement speech for a June 6 “Dear Class of 2020” YouTube event. (He’ll be speaking in

Remote-First Companies Are Another Covid-19 Calamity

Remote-First Companies Are Another Covid-19 Calamity

But now the message seems to be: Stay home. That’s the way to draw talent.

There’s another related trend: the end of business travel. Unable or unwilling to hop on a flying virus incubator, people are managing to get by with remote meetings. I was at a dinner recently that paired a few journalists with five CEOs—we did it by Zoom of course—and Jennifer Tejada, the head of PagerDuty, was marveling at how she was no longer losing two days to visit a single customer, but accomplishing her mission remotely. In general, all the CEOs were gushing about how good the results were from working—and staying—at home.

These results threaten to overturn the conventional wisdom that work goes better if we gather to do it. If the tech companies can release great products without stationing developers at worktables, sales people can close deals remotely, and journalists can write compelling stories