Le Web 08: Google, Recession and The Future

Nikesh Arora, SVP, Google and President, EME Operations, talks the future of the search engine.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Second up is Nikesh Arora, SVP, Google and President, EME Operations.

Loïc dived straight in with questions about the recession.

“It’s an interesting time – like having a hang-over after a big party,” said Arora. “I expect the US to come out of this before Europe does.”

Is Europe doomed to create second class start-ups compared to the US?

“There are some structural reasons why you see more startup activity in the US.”

But there is start-up activity in Europe.

“The guys I’m scared of are two guys in a garage…”

You need to think of terms in the worldwide audience, said Arora. But Loîc countered that companies in Europe naturally start by focusing on the the country they know best. “And that’s the fatal flaw,” said Arora. All the big companies thought global very quickly.

Loïc then raised the issue of funding, suggesting that Google should set up a fund to help startups through the downturn, to huge approval from the floor.

“You need a very good idea…” replied Arora.

“I have a good idea, but it’s hard to find €100,000…” responded Loïc.

But, in response to a question from the floor, Arora made it plain that he didn’t think that waiting to be bought by Google was a viable business model right now…

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.