The “Conversation with Eric Schmidt” was interesting for a couple of reasons yesterday at the Web 2.0 Summit. It was the first time I’ve seen him speak, and I was fairly impressed with his poise and confidence in answering questions and discussing some of the recent hot topics in relation to Google. It also provided some good insights into how Google looked at things such as their weaknesses in partnerships and decided to attack it, and how they make a list of questions they want to answer about their business and send it out to various employees and groups for feedback. I’ll point you to Valleywag for the actual play by play of his talk.
But perhaps the best observation was from a colleague who said “it’s like Schmidt is speaking through an API”. His point was that Schmidt was very adept at speaking in a filtered way without really saying anything negative and getting himself into a trap. Schmidt managed to repeatedly point out that they aren’t competing with Microsoft Office with their new office applications, yet he also managed to stick in numerous veiled digs at Microsoft through out the talk. So, the data got to us, just in a filtered and non-quotable way to avoid controversy.
It was well polished, and he appears very intelligent and probably resonates well with all the heavy thinkers working at Google.