Larry Page is turned off from seeing his work as a kind of sporting competition. The battles between Android vs. iOS or Google+ vs. Facebook are a all distractions, glorified in the press. They generate negative energy, which leads to a diminished capacity to innovate and to focus, such as self-driving cars, that have the potential to change the world.
"Every story I read about Google, is us versus some other company or some stupid thing," said Page to 6,000 developers at Google I/O 2013 in his surprise appearance.
"Being negative is not how we make progress. The most important things are not zero sum. There is a lot of opportunity out there."
His annoyance with media coverage and the focus on competition isn't new. Page offered a more detailed version of his business philosophy:
If you read the media coverage of our company, or of the technology industry in general, it's always about the competition. The stories are written as if they are covering a sporting event. But it's hard to find actual examples of really amazing things that happened solely due to competition. How exciting is it to come to work if the best you can do is trounce some other company that does roughly the same thing? That's why most companies decay slowly over time.
Larry Page's opinion declares that 'there is a tremendous opportunity out there, and negativity is a just a decay that eats away innovations." And, when there are too many similar products that don't add much value, the innovations made is just becoming meaningless.
Larry Page is at the top of the ladder, a CEO leading an army of engineers and product managers primed to make the world 'merge with Google' and eliminate rivals to the extent antitrust laws allow. But Page would rather the focus be on the fashioning of products and services rather than Google's growing power and database.
Page has given enormous amount of resources into improving and integrating Google's growing portfolio of products. And to add things up, it's clear that mild-mannered, Larry Page is not ceding any category to the competition.
The new features and interfaces for Google+, for example, indicate that the company isn't backing off from trying to unseat Facebook as the social layer for the internet. With Gmail, Google Now, and Maps on the iPhone and iPad, Google is making Apple look more like just a hardware company.
Larry Page has his own reality distortion field. He doesn't concern himself with incrementalism or just aping the competition. His ambitions, and "ask" of his team, are to focus on breakthroughs, or in sporting terms, big wins like the Macintosh and iPhone were for Apple and self-driving cars, Knowledge Graph, and Google Glass might be for Google.
But at the same time, Page is competitive and ultimately aware of what rivals are doing. He is out to make Google a better source of products.
With the vision that the future will run better on Google, the company's will force to try to make that a reality.