Monday, May. 08, 2006

Omid Kordestani

What Apple did for computers in 1984, Google is doing for advertising and business in the 21st century. How cool is a company that mastered Internet search and then drove well past it?

Google, by any measure, defined a new way of looking at so many industries. It personified and refined search. It brought real, tangible metrics to the advertising and search businesses. It continually evolves its product offerings to advertisers and consumers—often identifying the need beforehand. And it has achieved the holy grail by becoming a verb that defines a category, a la Xerox in the 1970s and FedEx in the '90s. What is truly amazing is that all these things are probably just appetizers before the main course.

Behind the scenes in Google's relentless thirst for more is Omid Kordestani, 42, its senior vice president for global sales and business development. He joined the company a year after it was established in 1998 as its "business founder" and helped build the brand into a household name in a way that excites Google's partners and confounds everyone else. Kordestani isn't as well known as Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page or even company CEO Eric Schmidt. But he has been the main brains behind Google's innovative and aggressive push to reach deals with a multitude of partners and make big money through advertising. Kordestani's deal in 1999 to provide search results to Netscape users and a similar partnership with Yahoo! the following year were just the beginning. His successful negotiations with AOL in 2002 yielded a watershed deal in the company's meteoric growth. Today he continues to drive the big ad deals.

In a post-dot-bomb society, you gotta love that Kordestani and the rest of the Google team didn't follow the folly of so many others and succumb to an IPO right away. They focused instead on the brand essence of Google. Of course, bringing the company to profitability in record time and generating more than $6 billion in revenue in 2005 probably didn't hurt either. Maybe that's why when Google finally did go public in late 2004, it blew the doors off everything else, and maybe that's a reason its stock—now at about $420 a share—may still hit $500. Wow.

Deutsch hosts CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch and is chairman of Deutsch Inc