10 Things You Didn’t Know about Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google Inc.,

Generally speaking, people will be familiar with Eric Schmidt because of the time that he spent as Google’s CEO, Google’s Executive Chairman, and Alphabet Inc.’s Executive Chairman. However, it is important to note that he has been involved with other organizations such as the Mayo Clinic and Carnegie Mellon University as well, meaning that there is more to him than just his stint with a single corporation.

1. Born in Falls Church, VA

Schmidt was born in Falls Church, VA. In short, Falls Church is one of the 41 independent cities that can be found in the United States, which are particularly common in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For proof, look no further than the fact that 38 of the 41 independent cities can be found in said state. As for the remaining three, one would be Baltimore in the state of Maryland, one would be St. Louis in the state of Missouri, and the last would be Carson City in the state of Nevada.

2. Spent Some Time Living in Italy As a Child

It is interesting to note that Schmidt’s father was a professor of international economics who spent some time working at the Department of the Treasury during the Nixon administration. Due to this, Schmidt spent some time living in Italy as a child, which was much more exotic in those times than it is in the present. As a result, he has said that the experience had a permanent effect on him, with an excellent example being his belief that Americans are too focused on local matters at the expense of their interest in the rest of the world.

3. Started Out in Engineering

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Schmidt came from an engineering background. To be exact, he started out as a student of architecture when he was still at Princeton University before he switched over to electrical engineering. After which, Schmidt pursued a Master of Science degree at University of California, Berkeley before he went on to work for a number of IT companies such as Bell Labs and Sun Microsystems.

4. Got Targeted By Memorable Pranks Twice

When Schmidt was still at Sun Microsystems, he was targeted not once but twice by very memorable pranks. The first time saw the pranksters taking his office apart before rebuilding the whole thing on a platform situated in the middle of a pond, which came complete with a fully-functional telephone. The second time saw a Volkswagen Beetle being taken apart before being reassembled in his office.

5. Brought On to Run Google

Eventually, Schmidt was chosen by Google’s co-founders to run its operations. In part, this was because Schmidt was already an experienced executive with a background in engineering as well as IT, meaning that he was an excellent choice for Google. However, it should be mentioned that one of the factors that really made Schmidt stood out was the fact that he was the sole candidate who had gone to Burning Man, which was rather unusual because he was in his late 40s at the time.

6. Was Involved in High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation

Over the course of his career at Google, Schmidt has had his less admirable moments as well. For instance, he was one of the figures involved in the High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation case, which happened because Schmidt, Steve Jobs, and a number of other high-ranking Silicon Valley figures agreed to avoid going after each other’s employees so that they won’t get into an expensive salary war. Google and the other companies eventually agreed to settle the lawsuit before it could go to court, which presumably would have had an even worse effect on their reputations because it was expected to be very high-profile in nature.

7. Has Claimed the Blame for the Failure of Google’s Social Network Efforts

Google’s social network efforts have not been particularly impressive. However, it is interesting to note that Schmidt has taken the blame for the lackluster results of those efforts onto his own shoulders. Essentially, Schmidt has stated that he and the rest of the relevant leadership belonged to a generation that predated social networks, meaning that they didn’t have a clear idea of how to succeed with them.

8. Wants Corporations to Operate on a Longer Time Frame

When asked about what he would like to change about the way that corporations operate in the United States, Schmidt has stated that he would like to see those same corporations operate on a longer time frame. In effect, this would enable those corporations to pursue more long-term objectives even if that means making long-term investments rather than being focused on short-term profits all of the time.

9. World Traveler

Since Schmidt was the CEO of one of the biggest and most powerful corporations on the planet, it should come as no surprise to learn that he is very well-traveled. However, the sheer extent to which he is well-traveled can still be surprising. For example, Schmidt has been to Cuba, which he believes could do well if the United States ever lifted its economic sanctions. Likewise, Schmidt has been to North Korea, which was one of the places that really disturbed him because of the system of controls that had been put in place.

10. Supporter of Sustainable Seafood Consumption

One of Schmidt’s philanthropic efforts saw him donating $10 million to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for the purpose of supporting sustainable seafood consumption. This is a huge issue because current seafood harvesting methods are having a very damaging effect on the relevant species as well as their habitats, which is particularly concerning because so many people are reliant on seafood for either their jobs or their daily sustenance.


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