‘Simple living, high thinking’. This phrase essentially sums up the life and achievements of Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai. Hailing from a humble background, Pichai grew up in Chennai and went to IIT-Kharagpur for higher studies post which, he pursued his MS at Stanford Univeristy and did an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
He joined Google in 2004 and his rise has been nothing short of meteoric. He went on to oversee the development of different apps like Gmail and Google Maps and became the CEO of the world’s second largest company in August 2015.
In India for an event on SMEs, Pichai spoke in the capital and also addressed the students of IIT-Kharagpur, where he had studied. He spoke his heart out to the youngsters and even took a walk down memory lane as he reminisced making Maggi in college and meeting his then girlfriend (now wife) Anjali at her hostel. Some of his most memorable quotes from his visit to India are –
- I get surprised when I hear people start preparing for IIT in the 8th grade. I hope they are really taking time to do things in a deeper way, understanding things deeper and learning by doing things.
- In the US, like at Stanford, most people don’t choose their major till their final year. They do different things and find out what they are really passionate about. Academics is important but not as important as it is made out to be.
- Most of how life plays out is up to you and not on what happens outside of you. Take the long view.
- Getting into IIT is hard work. So when I came to college, I was looking forward to have a good time.
- Be careful what you wish for. But you can always meet me for a cup of chai and we can discuss it.(On being asked by a student on how he can be replaced as the CEO of Google)
- There is nothing missing in our start-ups. As a matter of fact they are exceptional and can compete with the best in the world. But the Indian market is not large enough to invest in technology.
- Small businesses are the backbone of India’s economy.
- Imagine if every single small business owner were to leverage the power of internet and information. The economy would simply boom. Google aims to give those businesses that power.
- I would love to see cheaper smartphones, entry-level smartphones. I think we really need to bring the prices down even more, maybe at USD 30 level (about Rs 2,000) for India for entry-level smartphones.
- Today, a kid growing up with internet in Chennai can access the same information as a Stanford professor or anyone else in the world.
- The internet is as much for the established local merchant as it is for a high-flying start-up. With the internet, even a small business can become a large one with the blink of an eye.