Yes, the former Google CEO and current Chairman is a very wealthy man. Yes, the former Google CEO took Sergei Brin’s and Larry Page’s algorithmic innovations into uncharted business waters, making Google the most powerful information company in the world. Sure, Eric Schmidt is known to be a precious asset. Now evidence suggests that in 2005, when the titans of Silicon Valley conspired to hold down wages of their employees, Schmidt wrote an email to a colleague. Schmidt, Steve Jobs and others apparently decided that all this paying-people-more-to-jump-ship was counterproductive. (Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe have just agreed to pay $324 million to settle the antitrust hiring suit filed by workers who believe their salaries were suppressed by collusion at the top.)
But the most striking to emerge from the suit is Schmidt’s email–a big ol’ smoking gun. Schmidt, knowing he was treading the legal line if not mocking it, advised a colleague to discuss the no-poaching policy the tech giants had agreed on only “verbally.” He wrote—in the email!–that he “didn’t want to leave a paper trail over which we can be sued…” Besides the fact that it’s kind of cute that he calls it a “paper” trail (not a lot of paper on Valley trails these days), it’s stunning, don’t you think? Eric Schmidt left a paper trail about not wanting to leave a paper trail. It’s a little like screaming “I don’t want to scream today!” Or starting a blog against technology. One positive takeaway is that there’s hope for anyone who believes you really have to be a genius to succeed. Because Eric Schmidt doesn’t sound much like a genius here.