Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Eric Schmidt - Google's Chief Lightning Rod

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 22, 2010

Eric Schmidt has an interesting job at Google. His official position is co-CEO with founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin but his job title should be CLR or Chief Lightning Rod because he is often entrusted with announcing unpopular policies or making comments that bring a lot of media attention, more than Messrs. Page and Brin would welcome.

Mr. Schmidt's lightening rod escapades extend to his off-the-cuff remarks. He's not known for his careful consideration of what he is about to say in public forums, probably because of his age, which confers a quality of stubbornness and a lack of tact often seen in older men.

One of Mr. Schmidt's less considered remarks was when he said children should change their names when adults, to protect them from online content that might surface and reveal youthful indiscretions.

He received a lot of criticism for this, but it turns out it was all a joke! That's what he told Stephen Colbert on the TV show "The Colbert Report." Danny Goodwin has more here: Google's Schmidt to Colbert: Comment About Kids Changing Their Identity 'Was a Joke' @SEWatch

I have a better idea. Everybody should change their name to the same name and use nicknames between themselves. When everyone is called I.M. Spartacus we won't have to worry about any unwelcome Google revelations.

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