The success story of the Google CEO Sundar Pichai is not hidden to the world. Hailing from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Pichai was born (July 12, 1972) and raised in a two-bedroom house. He was a shy kid as well as a bright student, which got him a seat in the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Today, Sundar Pichai, is the most successful CEO of the world’s largest search engine Google. Yet he is said to be down to earth and career-focused, with a polite nature and is often respected for his ability to stay away from the office politics and drama . The stories of the work challenges faced by his father always inspired Pichai. At the age of 12 he saw technology in his hands when his father brought a land line phone. At an early age Pichai displayed an interest in technology and an extraordinary memory, especially for telephone numbers.
His mother, Lakshmi was a stenographer. In his childhood, growing up in Madras, Pichai slept with his brother in the living room of a cramped family home, but his father, an electrical engineer at the British multinational GEC, saw that the boys received a good education. He graduated from IIT Kharagpur in Metallurgical Engineering. Pichai also met his wife Anjali at IIT. He then completed his MS (Masters in Science) from Stanford University in Material sciences and Engineering. He did his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. During his pre-Google days, he contributed in engineering and product management at Applied Materials. He joined Google in 2004 and worked on popular products like Toolbar, Google Gears and Google Pack before Chrome was launched. He kept working on the Google Toolbar, which eventually enabled those using the Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox Web browsers to easily access the Google search engine.
Google’s toolbar had turned out to become a huge success giving him the desired stage, recognition and most importantly, the edge above all. This success also gave Sundar the revolutionary idea that Google should develop its own browser. Having thought that, he quickly pitched the same to Larry and Eric Schmidt – the then CEO, but apparently faced objections from Eric because he believed that developing a browser would be a too expensive affair. According to him, the browser project was an expensive distraction. However, the adamant Sundar insisted and somehow convinced the co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to launch Google’s own browser. The task and the responsibility were given in the hands of Sundar. Sundar made sure to leave no stone unturned, covering all the negative points of the other browsers, along with all the problems users faced and more importantly, what exactly was the fast moving world was looking for, to develop the best browser man had ever seen. Over the next few years, he was directly involved in the development of Google’s own browser, Chrome, which was successfully released to the public in 2008.
The same year, he was appointed as Vice President of product development. He also became a well known face of Google and came to limelight at Google presentations. In 2011, Pichai was apparently wanted and heavily pursued for employment by microblogging service Twitter, but he was granted large financial packages to remain with Google. By 2012, he was the senior VP of Chrome and apps. After success with Chrome, Pichai gradually started appearing at Google’s media and developer events. In 2014, he was announced the Product Chief at Google by Larry Page. Fun fact about Pichai, he was said to be a contender for the post of Microsoft’s new CEO but the job went to Satya Nadella since he yet again had a financial gain to stay at Google. He was also known to have helped negotiate Google’s $3.2 billion deal to acquire Nest Labs in 2014. What’s more, Android was added to Google products by Sundar Pichai. In August 2015, it came as no surprise to industry insiders that Pichai was named CEO of Google. The same year, he reportedly earned a whooping amount of $100.5 million. In December of 2019, he was also named CEO of Alphabet, replacing Larry Page, who stepped down. Pichai once talked of his childhood and his modest house.
In an interview with New York Times, he had said: “There was a simplicity to my life, which was very nice compared to today’s world. We lived in a kind of modest house, shared with tenants. We would sleep on the living room floor. There was a drought when I was growing up, and we had anxiety. Even now, I can never sleep without a bottle of water beside my bed. Other houses had refrigerators, and then we finally got one. It was a big deal.” Pichai talked of how his childhood formed his love for reading. “I read whatever I could get my hands on. I read Dickens. He also talked about his friends and playing street cricket. But you never felt lacking for anything,” he said. As Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote their letter, detailing the changes within the group, they were all praise for Pichai, who was once called the man who understands Page the best and translates his vision for everyone else in the company. They also felt that there is no one that they have relied on more since Alphabet was founded, and no better person to lead Google and Alphabet into the future.” Sundar is widely known for his diplomatic skills within the company, and is highly regarded to be one of the most influential men in the world as well.
He is currently the father of two children. Most young entrepreneurs look up to Pichai for his resilience, polite nature and career focused outlook. The world is filled with innovative ideas and Pichai shares the same view. He says, at any given time in life, what needs to be focused on is that, we boost innovative thinking for a better future. He explains it should be the most natural way of thinking for young entrepreneurs- keep on thinking about what should be the next best action.
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