Lunch & Learn: Mark Howe MD @ Google by Masha Voskresenskaia

The name Google is as iconic to the generations of today as Coca Cola, despite the fact company is a little over a decade old. The meeting with Google’s MD, Mark Howe, was in my Outlook several weeks ago and I was counting down the days before I would be able to visit the offices of one the fastest moving and evolving corporations in our lifetime.

Waiting for our Lunch & Learn session to begin, the Marketing Academy scholars observed the flamboyant and eccentric British décor:  London tube signs, bowler hats, various photos of the Royal monarchs. One could not help notice fridges full of drinks, tables laden of food – all for free… perhaps the age austerity has not arrived at Google? I asked Mark what was the reason behind such grand gestures to which he replied: at Google they wanted to remove as much of the day to day worries in order to allow their employees to focus all their attention on work.

The work culture is very different from the traditional blue chip corporations; employees follow a 70%, 20% and a 10% rule.

  • 70% of time is spent working on core projects
  • 20% of time spent on related projects, but not on the core
  • 10% of time can be spent on anything.

Recently an additional 1% was introduced, to spend time on philanthropic activities.

Google is a corporation which is shaping the future of our world. It’s a dynamic organisation which is constantly evolving by not only playing a key role in the information, entertainment and e-commerce arenas, its being used as a vehicle to challenge the status quo; uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt were all achieved with the aid of technology.

Mark shared his 4 building blocks to career success:

  1. Learn your business.
  2. Build your network.
  3. Learn to run a department/ team.
  4. Don’t wear a mask and be true to yourself.

It’s very important to set “big hairy goals” – they might be ambitious but they are there to challenge us. Sometimes we may not reach them but we will progress, evolve and grow as individuals. Being passionate about his work and personal causes helped Mark to succeed – reflecting upon myself I came away with the feeling that it’s a formula for success which everyone can apply and tailor  to their needs /lifestyle.

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