In a column at Businessweek yesterday, writer Rob Hof admitted to semi-stalking Google cofounder Sergey Brin as Brin meandered this week from Google’s developer conference in San Francisco to the search giant’s offices, south of San Francisco’s Market Street.
Hof went on to make some far-reaching observations based on the incident. Specifically, after noting that Brin had “absolutely no handlers with him, no one telling where he was scheduled to go next,” Hof comments that he sees in the stroll a “corporate titan [who is able to] get literally outside the usual corporate bubble.” Comparing Brin’s two-block walk to Google’s overall management style, Hof goes on to write that the stroll “left me thinking that Google’s management hasn’t quite reached that point where complacency sets in and sparks an inexorable decline for a company.”
I don’t know Hof, though I gather he was probably on a contact high, having been surrounded, moments earlier, by adoring developers who thrilled at the company’s early release of its newest tool, Google Wave. (I hate to admit it, but I’ve experienced highs from different shows and executive meetings.)
What concerns me about the post isn’t its breathless nature, though. It’s whether or not it’s right.
As irritating as it must sometimes be to live under the watchful eye of bodyguards, I hope Brin wasn’t being followed at a distance by BusinessWeek alone. The 35-year-old is worth an estimated $12 billion, give or take a billion dollars; he’s a new dad to a baby boy; and he’s still an integral part of Google’s management.
I realize that San Francisco is no Mexico City. Still, wouldn’t it be a little cracked if there weren’t handlers looking after him when he’s out and about?