Ruth Porat: Google’s biggest risk “complacency”
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Ruth Porat: Google’s biggest risk “complacency”

According to Alphabet’s superstar chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, Google’s “biggest risk is complacency, not innovating, not investing.” Porat was brought into the company when it restructured into Alphabet to address some of the more practical elements of the business: Google made its name as a ‘mad scientist’ that delivered incredible creations, but investors were becoming worried about financial reporting, the emphasis on moonshots, and more. Porat was one part of the solution to that problem, and she has proved to be a very effective one.

Alphabet’s share price has risen by 26% so far this year

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SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Porat, speaking at the Code Con last Wednesday, demonstrated that she understood the unique challenges faced by tech companies in the current climate, saying that the important thing was to “continue to evolve what the user experience is.” One way she expects Alphabet as a whole to keep up with consumers is through acquisition: “we look at acquisitions all the time,” she said “but we have a high bar”.

She also justified this line of thought with hugely successful examples from Google’s past: YouTube and DoubleClick.

According to Porat, acknowledging failure is as important as championing success. She said that the company was stepping back from Google Fiber (a push into high speed internet proliferation) because “at the end of the day, it isn’t going to be the transformative play that we believed.” Instead, the company will “pause what we’re doing to see how much we can do with technology before we ramp what we’re doing again.”

The near future, according to Porat, is machine learning: “we think machine learning as it relates to healthcare and life sciences is extraordinary.”

Disclosure

Dominion holds Alphabet in its Global Trends Managed Fund.


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