Sundar Pichai has accomplished a lot in life thanks to his brilliance and humble attitude. And while great success often falls on those with wealthy backgrounds, he defied the odds. After all, he has no family riches or connections. Rather, he started from a humble beginning and made it to a prominent seat at Google.

Thanks to his achievements, people can view life from a different perspective. Furthermore, Forbes has named Pichai one of the most reputable CEOs in the world. He started as an engineer and joined Google in 2004 as a management executive. Thereafter, he rose in the ranks to become the chief of products in the company. Before claiming the Google CEO post, he became Alphabet Inc’s CEO. Alphabet Inc is the parent company of Google.

Traditionally, Silicon Valley prefers extroverted CEOs who are outgoing, brash, and sometimes autocratic. However, the constant evolution in the tech sector calls for a new type of leadership. That’s because tech is rapidly becoming consumer-centric.

From the looks of things, we’re also in the age of humble yet intelligent leaders. Leaders who are compassionate yet driven by results. Having said that, if you’re looking for inspiration as an entrepreneur read on to learn about the failures of Sundar Pichai and how he overcame them.

1. Privacy issues

During his tenure, the company has experienced bug issues that pose threats to user privacy. Some of these bugs mine personal information from their audiences. As a result of the incident with Google+, the company had to shut down the social network.

In this incident, a bug in Google+ caused a leak that revealed the personal user information of 52 million people. To make things worse, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Google didn’t announce the first bugs immediately. It took them several months to share this information with the public. According to many experts, they were simply doing damage control.

Disclosing the breach meant they would have to deal with reputation damage and regulatory scrutiny. These are complete nightmares for any tech company. On top of this incident, Google also has multiple other privacy issues. For example, many people have wondered when Google collects location data from users and how this data is used. In one of the meetings with congress for scrutiny, Pichai was asked about this and had to treat the matter very seriously.

What startup founders can learn from Sundar Pichai’s approach

What does your business deal with? If it handles customer Intel in any way, customer privacy should be your topmost priority. A breach in client privacy will not only cost your business its reputation but also its user base. You will lose a significant number of clients because of this. However, some breaches are impossible to avoid. In that case, having a professional crisis management team can help you.

2. War with the regulators

Google has been at loggerheads with regulators on several occasions. And these wars will not end anytime soon. For example, Google was slapped with a USD 5 billion fine by the European Union following allegations that Google is misusing its Android monopoly. In another instance, critics have complained that Google isn’t complying with the antitrust ruling of 2017.

Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general in the US, once opened an investigation on tech companies like Google. He wanted to uncover whether they’re indeed stifling rival businesses. Even President Trump and a few Republican officials claim Google is suppressing conservative voices.

According to Google, they do no such thing. They’ve even gone as far as to label those arguments baseless. In spite of their denial, the lawmakers are yet to be convinced. As such, it’s upon Google to prove they’re clean.

What startup founders can learn from Sundar Pichai’s approach

It’s always important to uphold the rules of the regulators, especially as a startup owner. If you want to earn support, you need your business to start on the right track.

3. Problematic content

There have been claims that the Google platform is promoting inappropriate content and conspiracies, especially in the trending section. Furthermore, it has a significant amount of misleading content. The company claims to be handling problematic content but Pichai himself has acknowledged that Google has more work to do.

4. Google x Pentagon project

The news about Google working with the Pentagon in the analysis of drone footage spurs a negative response from users. After that revelation, over 3k employees at Google signed a letter protesting the move. As a result, the company had to drop the project. To users and employees, this was a call for celebration. However, the government wasn’t happy with this move by Google.

5. Staff protests

Pichai has experienced all sorts of challenges and failures as the CEO of Google during his tenure. However, the most consistent narrative is the rapid increase in staff activism. The employees have recently expressed their dissatisfaction with the company through various channels. We’ve seen everything from major protests to resignations, open letters, and petitions during Pichai’s tenure.

These recent protests demonstrate a lack of trust in the company’s internal policies, plans, and business contracts. Some employees have specifically highlighted the company’s mode of approach when handling pressing issues. According to them, the company avoids aggressive measures and decided to take mild responses, to the detriment of the staff.

These revelations from Google employees also demonstrate the company’s deliberate “evade–and–avoid” technique. This technique is preventing the creation of meaningful change for staff and users. Their communication system is also a cause for concern. According to the staff, employees cannot give input or feedback. As such, it feels like there’s a leadership vacuum in the company.

Without open communication, it’s impossible to express their frustration with the system. In the meantime, Google employees are pushing for a clear and more precise approach by the company. While Pichai and other Google executives have agreed to some of the demands, they haven’t addressed the rampant power abuse, discrimination, and inequality within the company.

More lessons to learn from Sundar Pichai

  • Failure is a critical part of success

On multiple occasions, Pichai has recognized failure as part and parcel of success. This kind of approach is what makes businesses great. He believes that success has two requirements. First, you must be a flawless expert in your niche. If you’re not one, then you need to set smaller goals.

Being ambitious is sometimes important. While there’s a chance of failure, when you succeed, your achievement will be that much more rewarding. However, if you’re attaining every goal, it means your ambitions are not big enough. To be successful, you need to attain about 70% of your goals. That’s what makes your ambition worthwhile.

Whether you’re seeking a better position at the company you work for or starting your own company, you need to be ambitious. And while failure is always a limiting factor, don’t allow it to limit your capability. Instead, consider it an important part of success. It’s only after failure that you can begin to set higher goals with more rewards.

  • Things could always be worse

Pichai’s responses and those from the company may not satisfy everyone. But at least these responses are pleasing some of their users. While things look bleak at Google, Facebook’s crises are more severe. While some of these privacy issues and challenges run across both platforms, Google outperforms Facebook with its level of focus.

With the right policies and mitigation, Pichai can manage some of them.

  • The right attitude helps

Emotional intelligence has never been part of the valley. However, with the changing market, it’s becoming an essential element. Luckily for Google, Pichai has demonstrated a powerful combination of humility and intelligence. That’s exactly what consumers are looking for in tech companies.

One of Pichai’s responsibilities is bridging the rift between the shareholders and employees. As we know, the interests of these parties hardly ever align. In fact, they usually have completely different priorities.

Some people have questioned Pichai’s approach. For example, a former Google CEO claims his approach will take time to deliver results. That’s because he’s the kind of leader who strikes a balance between two opposing parties. He looks for compromises that ensure everyone wins. Sometimes that can cause a mess to build up faster. Be that as it may, we are in an era where leaders who are positive and have the right capabilities are exactly what industries need.

  • Be open to ideas and constantly re-invent yourself

Failure is not always bad, as long as you don’t get too comfortable with it. It’s true that it’s hard to abandon a project after you’ve built it from the ground up. At the same time, it’s more crucial to recognize when something is no longer working.

For example, when he first became the head of the Android division, Pichai identified the need for a change. According to him, both Google and Android can flourish when they work together. And he was right. He also proved the significance of re-inventing yourself and always having a plan B.

  • Failure is an honorary badge

Pichai encourages existing and new entrepreneurs to constantly strive for bigger things. While ambition doesn’t guarantee success, it’s the fearless approach that counts. As much as success feels more satisfying than failure, Pichai believes in the rewards of failure. He believes what you can learn from your flaws can help you achieve great things.

  • Always work towards attaining your goals

Dreaming big can sometimes feel overwhelming. However, it can be next to impossible to achieve your dream when you don’t work towards it. According to Pichai, success is within reach for those who strive to achieve their goals. Not so much for those who sit back waiting for the perfect moment.

  • Build others up

The journey to the top can sometimes feel lonely. It’s a path that not many strive to tread on. Therefore, as a manager or CEO in your business, ensure you encourage others. When they succeed, you also succeed. You can develop teams in a company that works together. They should be able to build each other up instead of battling each other.


Despite his humble beginnings and the hard times he’s had to face, Sundar Pichai was determined to tap into the greatness within him. He didn’t allow that lack of riches and absence of family connections to suppress his ambitions. He pursued the top office at Google even though the odds were stacked against him. Google is bound to experience a prosperous future with his leadership. Even now, the company is reaping great rewards for hiring him.

As is the case with any other CEO in the tech sector, the company’s failures are directly tied to Pichai. As much as he’s faced a handful of failures, the future seems bright for Google’s CEO. His approach to various challenges is quite remarkable and admirable. What’s more, he always acknowledges failure as part of great success. He also knows that if you’re not facing any failures, you’re not aiming high enough.

As a business owner, the extent of your success depends on your goals. If you’re targeting small goals, then you should expect your wins to be small. However, if you become a risk-taker and pursue ambitious goals, then your rewards will be bigger.

Pichai believes that rather than give up in the face of failure, you should look for lessons in your failures. These difficult lessons will play a critical role in the future. Don’t allow failure to consume you in any way.

How Pressfarm can help

While Pichai emphasizes the benefits of failure for a prosperous future, you also need PR services. PR services help you deal with crises that arise from your failure. In the business space, not every failure goes unnoticed, especially if you’re an established brand. However, if you take the time to build a robust brand image ahead of time, then the crises you face won’t be quite so devastating.

Connecting with the media can help you build a positive brand image and manage a crisis when it hits you. One of the things Pressfarm does quite well is media outreach and media relations. The PR specialists, expert writers, and certified designers at Pressfarm can help you create the kind of quality content that positions your brand as a thought leader in your niche.

For example, with a professional press release, some engaging guest posts, and a branded media kit, you can make a name for your brand and stand out from your competition. By creating a positive brand image, you can bolster yourself against any crises that come your way, because the public will be more willing to give you the benefit of doubt. The PR experts at Pressfarm also have the expertise and connections to help you get through a crisis and salvage your reputation.

Finally, when you sign up, the account executive at Pressfarm builds a personalized media list to help you connect with the best media professionals in your niche. With this media kit, you can start building relationships with the media – the same relationships that will come in handy when you’re in crisis mode and need help sharing a positive narrative.

With a PR package from Pressfarm, you can build a positive brand image that can withstand crises.