Google chairman shares his ideas during panel

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Google chairman shares his ideas during panel


Eric Schmidt

Amidst the burgeoning start-up boom in Korea, Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief, offered advice and insight to aspiring young entrepreneurs and students yesterday during a panel discussion at Seoul National University.

While much of the talks focused on the buildup and management of start-ups, Schmidt sporadically touched upon issues concerning Google’s relationship with Samsung Electronics, South Korea’s potential and his visit to the North.

When asked how a start-up can provide what consumers want, Schmidt said that entrepreneurs need to be sold on their own product first.

“You have to make sure that your product has something that is unique and better than the others,” he said. “And you should be able to explain why your product is better than other products or services.”

Schmidt went on to say that South Korea provides a good platform for high-tech-related small businesses to be successful. “The future of South Korea is good. The country is technically sophisticated and business friendly, with the fastest broadband access.”

Google’s executive chairman also highlighted the areas Korea can improve to get ahead.

“I think it’s important for Korea to develop its software business more,” Schmidt noted. “I heard fantastic stories 30 years ago and 40 years ago about its .?.?. steel and shipbuilding industries. These are all great stories. But you should know that every single business requires a significant software component.”

“So, I would say South Korea’s future is great, and it would be even better with software people,” he said.

He also cited Korea’s hierarchical tradition as a potential obstacle in fostering more diverse and innovative corporate culture.

Schmidt drew upon his visit to North Korea, highlighting the differences between a connected and closed society. “The [North Korean] people are hungry, don’t have enough energy, and live in a very, very closed nation. I think it’s important to help North Koreans connect with the world. Opening up North Korea with connectivity is a good first step,” he said.

After relating his experiences in the reclusive state, he explained how engagement and advanced technology can help less-developed nations.

“When you travel around the world, you see how poor most people are. And then the mobile phone arrived. That mobile phone is their education, entertainment and news, and it also helps people stay safe,” he said.

As for whether Google will ditch Samsung after acquiring Motorola, Schmidt responded, “Absolutely not .?.?. The goal of Google is to create the No.1 platform for mobile phone developers around the world.”

As executive chairman of the tech giant behind the world’s most popular search engine, Schmidt is in charge of dealing with Google’s external and business affairs.

Yesterday was the last day of his three-day trip to South Korea. Along with yesterday’s panel discussion, he also announced Wednesday a set of new partnership programs to help expand the user base for Hangul, Korea’s written language.

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