Google CEO Sundar Pichai's affinity to India is quite well known. The IIT Kharagpur alumnus has more often than not dwelled on his middle-class upbringing in India. The Google CEO was born in Madurai on June 10, 1972 and grew up in the country. After his IIT Kharagpur stint, Pichai moved to the US to pursue a Masters of Science degree from Stanford University. He later joined Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to pursue MBA.
Pichai in his speeches often reminisces about his time in India. He also frequently speaks about sticking to one's beliefs and working hard -- a staple of Indian middle class life. His meteoric rise is also proof that there is truth to his words. He joined Google in 2004 and led the product management and innovation work at a Google suite. Pichai was eventually made the CEO in 2015, and then named CEO of Alphabet Inc as well in December 2019.
Here are Sundar Pichai's top quotes reminding people of his Indian middle class life:
1. Pichai spoke at length about his first experience of boarding a place. The Google CEO said his father spent a year's salary to send him on a plane to Stanford. During YouTube's Dear Class of 2020 virtual ceremony, Pichai said, "My father spent the equivalent of a year's salary on my plane ticket to the US so I could attend Stanford. It was my first time ever on a plane... America was expensive. A phone call back home was more than $2 a minute, and a backpack cost the same as my dad's monthly salary in India." For most of Indian middle class, the first flight would be some of the most memorable experiences.
2. During an interview with New York Times, Pichai reminisced about his humble beginnings -- long before he had become the CEO of the world's largest tech company. "We lived in a kind of modest house, shared with tenants. We would sleep on the living room floor. There was a drought when I was growing up, and we had anxiety. Even now, I can never sleep without a bottle of water beside my bed. Other houses had refrigerators, and then we finally got one. It was a big deal," he said.
3. Pichai could be heading the world's largest tech company, but when it comes to disciplining his son, he took a leaf out of every Indian parent's book. In an interview in 2018, Pichai said that his son does not have a phone. He, however, mines Ethereum. His disdain for TV is also part of the Indian parents' charter. "At home, our television is not easily accessible, so that there is 'activation energy' before you can easily go watch TV. I am genuinely conflicted, because I see what my kids learn from all this," Pichai told the Times.
4. Sundar Pichai is also a stickler for following one's dreams and making something of one's life. "I think it is important to keep your hopes, keep your dreams and try to follow them. And I think most of how life plays out is up to you, and not up to what happens outside of you," he had said.
5. Pichai believes that one's attitude can be that one winning factor. "A person is happy is not because everything is right in his life, he is happy because his attitude towards everything in his life is right," he said.
6. "Be open, be impatient, be hopeful. Don't lose that impatience. It will create the next technology revolution and enable you to build things my generation could never dream of. You may be just as frustrated by my generation's approach to climate change, or education. Be impatient. It will create the progress the world needs," he said during YouTube's Dear Class of 2020 virtual ceremony.
7. Pichai who has moved up the ladder in a significant manner believes that without failure, one cannot succeed. "Wear your failure like a badge of honour!," he had said.