Grown-Up Supervision

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

I’m sure you read about the change of command at Google last week.  The CEO stepped aside (is it down or up?) to let one of the founders run the company again.  That’s not particularly unusual in the business world.  Except that it’s Google. Aside from the fact that it’s a huge company with major impact on just about everything digital, there was something in the aftermath of the announcement that caught my eye and raised a point I’d like to share.

You might have noticed this in one of the articles about the change.  I’m quoting the AP here:

Eric Schmidt, a technology veteran brought in as Google’s “adult supervision” a decade ago, is relinquishing the CEO job to Larry Page, one of the prodigies who co-founded the company behind the Internet’s dominant gateway.

“Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!” Schmidt wrote on his Twitter account moments after Google dropped the bombshell that upstaged its fourth-quarter earnings…

In a way, that term – adult supervision – is sort of demeaning.  The insinuation that the obviously very smart founders of this or any other company aren’t qualified to be out on their own – sort of driving around on a business learner’s permit – is kind of arrogant, right?

Wrong.  The point isn’t that they’ll spend their time playing foosball and video games.  As I said to someone this morning – I’ve probably always been as smart as I am now (for whatever that’s worth) but I didn’t always know what I know now and so I made a ton of mistakes.  That’s why the adult supervision is a great thing.  Even if your angels, VC‘s or partners don’t ask for it, bringing in someone with more experience (which usually comes with more gray hair) is a grand idea.  I know that many money guys want founders who can run the company out of the box but having that adult supervision can save a lot of their investment.

I think the tweet was a graduation day of sorts.  It an acknowledgment that two very smart guys also were now two very experienced managers.  That’s not demeaning in my opinion – it’s anything but.

How about your opinion?

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