5 things I have learned from Sergey Brin, Co-founder of Google

The child remains wide-eyed throughout life. He sees the world as a series of challenges waiting to be accepted and conquered. Optimism is his weapon of choice and his belief in himself, in the world push him past the limitations others see. Where some see an ocean, he sees a big lake waiting to be crossed. Where some see giants, he sees people to grow past. When people tell him that something’s impossible, he only nods and thinks, Not for me. This wide-eyed boy becomes a wide-eyed man who builds past what everyone thought possible.

This wide-eyed man is Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, the most popular search engine. Google has been so successful, it’s difficult to remember the internet before Google. It’s difficult to imagine what the internet would be like now had Google never existed. From its humble beginnings in his dorm room to a few servers in a garage and eventually into the massive technology giant it is now, it’s hard to measure that transformation. Brin has been compared to Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press. While certainly different, Brin’s accomplishments are certainly nearing as great. Google has changed the internet, which, in turn, has changed the world. While Brin has a lot of advice for small businesses, these are just a handful of quotes from his brilliant mind.

1. “Technology is an inherent democratizer.”

The way hardware and software evolve and change, anyone and everyone has the ability to scale up anything. This gives everyone a massive amount of power and all the tools necessary to succeed. Technology has caused an equalising effect on the future. Your education and pedigree will no longer give you an inherent advantage or disadvantage. A poor urban kid with a computer can do anything a rich suburban kid can do with a computer, even start their own business or discover new ways to design and make products.

2. “They see enormous mountains, where I only saw one little hill to climb.”

Brin’s optimism gave him an advantage over his peers. He never let the seeming impossibility of a task hold him back. Rather, he pushed through them. Everything that discouraged 9,999 people became a challenge for him to move past. When people said he couldn’t, he proved them wrong. He didn’t see the future or his limited resource as a crippling limitation. He saw them as opportunities to keep progressing forward.

3. “Once you go from 10 people to 100, you already don’t know who everyone is. So at that stage you might as well keep growing, to get the advantages of scale.”

Google started very small, but when it began rising, it never stopped. Brin wasn’t afraid to lose his small business feel or to venture from small business into international corporation. Rather, he used this growth to his advantage and built upon prior success, and allowed the growth to make Google the most important search engine on the internet. Brin wasn’t afraid, and he trusted his vision and his employees to keep improving it.

4. “Solving big problems is easier than solving little problems.”

This sounds counter-intuitive but that doesn’t make it any less true. The big problems can be handled, but the little ones can take a lot of time and energy to work out. This is where the importance of your employees and team come in. Trust them to get the details, to figure out how the product or service works. The big problems, like getting the service to people, is much easier to do than making sure the product or service does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Ensure you can work out the details, and be flexible with them.

5. “We just want to have great people working for us.”

Always stress how important your employees are. The best business plan, service, and products can’t save you if your staff doesn’t work. When hiring, don’t only go for the most qualified. Go for those who think outside the box, those who can collaborate and thrive in that environment. Find people excited about what you’re doing. Let them help you get to where you want to go. You’re going to be trusting your employees with your company, so make sure you believe in them and trust them. If you don’t, then keep looking for the right people, even if it takes a thousand interviews.

Sergey Brin is a man who knows success and Google is arguably one of the most important companies in the world right now. That alone should make Brin’s advice carry some serious weight.

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3 career ideas from the world’s most iconic brands

Whether you are an investor following companies’ quarterly performances to evaluate stocks or whether you are simply up to news with your favourite brand, you have all the knowledge about these leaders. You discuss it on your morning coffee breaks, nights-in with friends, and even read about it on your daily commute. The curiosity unravels information, and you start embedding in your mind, but the most amazing part of this whole process is taking that information and incorporating it in our daily lives.

Every now and then, you want to succeed and overachieve on those sales quotas, you want to show the world you are a leader they should hire, you want to prove you can make the difference and be creative, and you want to believe your life is beautiful. Here are 3 ideas to borrow from the world’s most iconic brands of today and make yourself a winner:

Be Approachable. In other words, be user-friendly.

There was a time when Nokia was the leader in telecommunications. The idea behind Nokia was connecting people, and the comfort that people found in using Nokia reiterated that people preferred the connection through this stellar Finnish brand. This ideology was then picked up by Samsung. Totally overshadowing Blackberry which had been the ‘business-trendy’ phone that was considered cool and techy, Samsung beat Apple in the Global Brand Simplicity Index 2013. The brand-war has been won with this battle, as Samsung becomes the simplest smart-phone.

People like simple, they like easy to access, they like approachable. This does not mean that you start advertising yourself with too many smiles, too many conversations and a too eager to help attitude. You are demonstrating what a great individual you are, not attracting stalkers and psychopaths. Making eye contact while talking shows presence, a firm hand-shake expresses determination, an audible and clear voice (no mumbling) displays command. Employers and thought-leaders are looking for confidence, for dedication and for smart minds, minds that don’t shy away or are unclear.

Build Up Your Arsenal. Having too many skills is never a bad choice.

What do P&G, PepsiCo, Volkswagen and Johnson & Johnson have in common? They are mass producing giant parent companies with many successful brands under their umbrella. Volkswagen owns Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Seat brands. PepsiCo has the entire Frito Lays Line as well as Quaker and the fast-food restaurants group along with its beverages and others. J&J have too many brands, and P&G’s list is practically endless.

What you need to do: Deploy tactics to absorb as many skills as possible, so as to attract a larger audience. The job market today seeks individuals who know a couple handful of programming languages, are masters in financial analysis and forecasting, have had sales experience, understand pivot tables from Excel, InDesign, Illustrator and what not. Chances of rejection are visibly lessened when you try to acquire the skills, and it is good to be prepared to meet the future that we all can predict will have integrated services and functions. Diversification makes you stand out from the clutter, and helps you advance further than someone who is a specialist. You can retain your authority in one field, and gain knowledge about the others.

Know Your Consumer.

The biggest example of this is Google. Though a little intrusive at times, Google understands consumers’ needs, has built a search engine with a predictive text feature because it knows what its people like and by digging scrupulously, has unearthed the perfect way to communicate with its customers.

In your case, you have to do the same. Research, research and research. Understand the job description every time you apply, use those keywords that are in it to connect to the employers, by understanding their needs. Before any interview, carefully review the organization, understand what it has accomplished and how it reached there. Once you process that information, your next step is to understand where they want to go and how you can get them there with your abundance of talent, creativity and prowess. You want to kill your interviews and get that job, now you know how.

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