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We have sent our business analyst Rishon Talkar for some important meetings in the American capital and for a 5 day leadership training camp at the Hilton Hotel. Poor thing had to sleep in an executive suite and hypo allergenic pillows.
The first 3 days was a leadership summit for leaders under 30 from around the world and the second half was comprised of a global summit featured by some of the worlds’ most influential people; Abe Shinzo, Angela Merkel, John Kerry and other politicians, diplomats and business leaders. He networked hard and met with hundreds of people from just about everywhere, lawyers, doctors and everything in between. On his way back to Ontario’s capital, Toronto, Rishon had the opportunity to meet an individual who then invited him to come to the #Startupgrind hosted that week and Rishon accepted.


He showed up all spiffed up to the meeting area ready to rock and roll; but not before he found out that the speaker that night will be Sam Sebastian, head of Google Canada. That’s a hella opportunity to learn more from the regional director of the most powerful company in the world. Sam was interviewed by #StartUpGrind host, Mike and was asked a few questions; like who buys the coffee when Larry and Sergey meet. Other less important questions were asked too, such as how does one manage a company with the magnitude of Google. Sam explained that the culture at Google requires him to have 2 plans; one with acceptable milestones and another considered more ambitious. Turns out that the employees at Google naturally gravitate towards the more ambitious plan and that explains why the company has a market cap of $367.6B.

Sam who identified as an American (hiss) explained that he found Canada to be a relatively slow adopter of technology. What he meant was that half of the Canadian businesses utilize web services and the other half doesn’t. From Google’s perspective that means that if you’re not online, your nonexistent. That also means that Canada is an extremely lucrative market because of the vertical growth curve we could *potentially* achieve. When Sam described his Christmas shopping, he said that it has morphed into a pleasant evening where he sits with his wife, enjoys a glass of wine and orders everything they need (and don’t need) online. Once again, the impact of online sales and eCommerce has affected retail to the point that people rather rely on the reviews of others and order the item online instead of purchasing it at the store. Once again, there is a giant neon billboard directing small businesses at lost revenue due to the lack of online presence.

During the Q&A session Sam was asked regarding the privacy concerns of Google users. That’s a fair question to ask given that Google has a ridiculous amount of information stored about every single user. Sam’s answer was to the point. “There is only so much Google is able to get away with.” the subtext is simple: the information is stored but not used; there is no real use for it (yet) and Google won’t risk exposing their customers and lose credibility. Another interesting point that Sam mentioned regarding privacy concerns is that his preference is to higher efficiency at the price of lower privacy, given the restrictions that companies place upon themselves.


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