There are lots of people at Google who work smart. Did Sundar Pichai work smarter than his peers? If so, what is his paradigm that is smarter? Why was Sunadar promoted up to the highest ranks at Google?
He led successful efforts for difficult projects that were core to Google's continued financial success, namely Toolbar and Chrome. Toolbar wasn't an obviously sexy product but it helped defend the presence of Google search on users' computers during a critical period following the revelation of Google's incredible profitability. Chrome extended that mission to improve the user experience of the entire web: keep users on the web and you'll keep them searching on Google.
He recruited, mentored, and retained a great team. Sundar's team of product managers had a reputation as being among the best of the best, similar to the reputation of the software engineers within Search Quality.
He avoided making enemies. Google has politics like any other large company, and Sundar navigated those politics to make his team successful while inflicting the least possible damage on any other team.
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