Google CEO Sundar Pichai has unveiled his company’s playbook in terms of how it plans to weather an economic downturn.
Companies of all sizes are bracing for an economic downturn, with some of the biggest names in business and finance warning of its approach. Many companies have already started slowing their hiring, while others have been rescinding job offers. Pichai outlined Google’s approach, emphasizing the company returning to its entrepreneurial roots.
“Like all companies, we’re not immune to economic headwinds,” Pichai wrote in the memo seen by CNBC. “We need to be more entrepreneurial working with greater urgency, sharper focus, and more hunger than we’ve shown on sunnier days.”
Pichai did say the company will slow hiring, focusing on specific areas.
“Because of the hiring progress achieved so far this year, we’ll be slowing the pace of hiring for the rest of the year, while still supporting our most important opportunities,” Pichai wrote. “For the balance of 2022 and 2023, the company will focus on hiring on engineering, technical and other critical roles.”
Pichai also made clear the company would be streamlining its investments, especially where they overlap, and pausing development in some cases.
The approach is quite different from Apple’s under Steve Jobs when the industry was facing an earlier recession. During that downturn, Apple increased its R&D budget, rather than cutting projects.
“We’ve had one of these before, when the dot-com bubble burst,” Jobs said. “What I told our company was that we were just going to invest our way through the downturn, that we weren’t going to lay off people, that we’d taken a tremendous amount of effort to get them into Apple in the first place — the last thing we were going to do is lay them off. And we were going to keep funding. In fact we were going to up our R&D budget so that we would be ahead of our competitors when the downturn was over. And that’s exactly what we did. And it worked. And that’s exactly what we’ll do this time.”
Apple came out of the economic downturn stronger than ever and never slowed down. Only time will tell if Pichai’s more conservative approach will pay off.