Google CEO: 'The bigger you are, the more you may be at a disadvantage'

  • Investors have pushed the prices of tech stocks ever higher, boosting the market value for Facebook and Google above giants like Exxon Mobil and JPMorgan Chase over the past 10 years.
  • Google's dominance in search advertising has not come without scrutiny, especially in Europe, where regulators penalized the company with a record fine.
  • "History shows that the opposite of what people were worrying about is typically true. Go back 10 years and look at the largest market cap companies: The bigger you are, the more you may be at a disadvantage," he told The Guardian.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O developer conference on May 17, 2017.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O developer conference on May 17, 2017.

Google's CEO is well aware that being one of the world's biggest companies makes it a take-down target.

"You always think there is someone in the Valley, working on something in a garage – something that will be better," Sundar Pichai said in a rare interview published by The Guardian over the weekend.

The Guardian asked Pichai how it feels to be in charge of Google.

"History shows that the opposite of what people were worrying about is typically true. Go back 10 years and look at the largest market cap companies: the bigger you are, the more you may be at a disadvantage," he told The Guardian. "As a big company, you are constantly trying to foolproof yourself against being big, because you see the advantage of being small, nimble and entrepreneurial. Pretty much every great thing gets started by a small team."

Google has changed quite a bit since the two-man operation of Larry Page and Sergey Brin in the Stanford dorms. Investors have pushed the prices of tech stocks ever higher, boosting the market value of Facebook and Google above giants like Exxon Mobil and JPMorgan Chase over the past 10 years. Google's dominance in search advertising has not come without its scrutiny, especially in Europe, where regulators penalized the company with a record fine.

Despite Google's high profile, Pichai has stayed out of the spotlight in the two years he has led Google, at least relative to some of the other powerful personalities in the technology sector. The Guardian's profile reveals some interesting tidbits about Pichai's outlook, including that:

  • He still buys print newspapers.
  • His proposal of the Chrome browser was not well-received at the time.
  • He thinks he was a very different kind of leader at Android than founder Andy Rubin.

For more on Pichai, see the full profile in The Guardian.