Bill Camp­bell (1940–2016)

Forbes - - Farewell Toast 30 Under 30 Scorecard -

For­mer In­tuit CEO Bill Camp­bell wasn’t a gifted coder or prod­uct whiz. Google’s ex­ec­u­tive chair­man and for­mer CEO, re­calls his true gift: know­ing how to push and mo­ti­vate peo­ple.

When I started at Google in late 2001, John Do­err, one of our early in­vestors, called me to say, “Bill works with our com­pa­nies. He’s good at be­ing a coach and men­tor.” I re­mem­ber say­ing, “I don’t re­ally need a coach. I’ve been an ex­pe­ri­enced CEO for many years. I’m not a kid.” John pushed for it: “Ten­nis play­ers have coaches, and maybe you need a coach, too.” Bill came over to talk to me, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Once you met Bill, you knew you wanted him to help.

It’s hard to know what Google would have been like with­out him. He was present at every decision of con­se­quence. He un­der­stood the peo­ple. He would nor­mally say very lit­tle dur­ing my staff meet­ings and just ob­serve. And then I and other ex­ec­u­tives would in­di­vid­u­ally make a trek to his In­tuit of­fice in Palo Alto for his feedback. He wasn’t a tech­ni­cal wizard, but he un­der­stood how to solve hu­man prob­lems and mo­ti­vate peo­ple. He would have been a good coach in any in­dus­try.

When he and Steve Jobs re­cruited me to the Ap­ple board, I saw that he was Steve’s clos­est friend and ad­vi­sor. That ex­pe­ri­ence made me re­al­ize some­thing: Bill was si­mul­ta­ne­ously the man­age­ment con­sul­tant and men­tor to what to­day are the two most valu­able com­pa­nies in the world: Ap­ple and Google. That’s an ex­tra­or­di­nary achieve­ment.

Bill viewed him­self as Sil­i­con Val­ley’s con­fi­dant. He was very care­ful to say, “I’m here to help you. I don’t want any­thing in re­turn. I don’t want any at­ten­tion.” If he had had a pub­lic per­sona, it would’ve made him less effective. This was very gen­uine. Some peo­ple want power or fame. He wanted love. He wanted to be ap­pre­ci­ated. And he was.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.