Catching the last five minutes of Eric Schmidt’s Boston University commencement speech on WBUR I was struck by the veiled swipes (pokes?) he took at Facebook. You know, the company that last week launched the most anticipated IPO in years, and that despite NASDAQ glitches and a disappointing finish, wiped Google out of the record books? Yes, that Facebook.
Apparently, a captain of industry like Google’s executive chairman, never lets the chance to sell his company or tweak his rival go untaken. So even though he never uttered the “F word,” everyone got the message.
One example (paraphrased since I was behind the wheel): “Don’t hit the ‘like’ button. Talk to the people you like and love. Look them in the eye.”
Another: “Life is not about your friend count, it’s about the friends you can count on.”
Schmidt also told the new graduates to be sure to turn off their computers for at least an hour a day — a line that got the biggest roar out of the crowd.
For the last few years, Google and Facebook have been locked in heated competition for the best talent in Silicon Valley and beyond. The noise around Facebook’s IPO contributed to the impression that Google, which went public in a then-record breaking 2004 IPO, is a has-been.
That perception hurts. No wonder Schmidt got his digs in.