Why Google Wrote a $100 Million Cheque to this Indian Guy

Neal Mohan

Two years ago, it was total havoc at the Twitter office. The social networking giant was continuously failing to launch new and exciting products and was unable to generate satisfying revenues.  Adding to it was the management turmoil.

So the board members sat over a meeting. And as usual, they came up with a couple of stress points. The first and the foremost step for Twitter were to hire a Chief Product Officer who can revamp the whole company and who can get in billions through digital media and advertisements.

David Rosenblatt, the former CEO of DoubleClick and Google executive who joined Twitter’s board in December 2010, believed he had the right pick- Neal Mohan.

Mohan was Rosenblatt’s right hand man at Google and obviously Twitter made an offer hoping that Mohan wouldn’t resist.

But the unexpected happened. Mohan said ‘no’ to Twitter.

The news broke Twitter’s heart. But the company decided to find the real reason behind Mohan’s refusal. And later on, it was revealed that Google had made an offer bigger than the one New York Knicks offered to their superstar small forward, Carmelo Anthony.

According to TechCrunch, Google paid Mohan more than $100 million to stay with the company.

So what made Google think Neal Mohan is worth $100 million? Read on to know more about this Indian prodigy.

Neal Mohan is responsible for Google’s display advertising initiatives globally. This includes the Google Display Network, AdSense, Ad Exchange, AdMob, Invite Media, Admeld and the suite of DoubleClick products.

At Google, Mohan’s efforts focus on bringing innovative products to Google and publisher partners. Prior to joining Google through the DoubleClick acquisition in 2008, he was the senior vice president of strategy and product development at DoubleClick.

And before DoubleClick, Neal worked at NetGravity with technology development, business operations, and client services departments. He has also served in strategy and consulting roles at Microsoft and Accenture.

Neal holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar. He also has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Google got hold of Neal Mohan by the acquisition of DoubleClick in 2008 where he was the head of products and head of extension.

Imitating Google, Yahoo and Microsoft also started acquiring smaller startups. Yahoo bought the Right Media Exchange for $680 million, whereas Microsoft bought aQuantive for $6.3 billion.

But later on it didn’t go well for both companies. Microsoft already has admitted that their $6.3 billion acquisition is a bust, while Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is still confused about the future of Right Media.

Meanwhile, at Google, Mohan started putting his expertise on to the board, as in January 2012, Google announced its display advertising gross revenues has reached $5 billion. Google officially hasn’t announced any values in 2012, but, according to unconfirmed reports, it’s believed that Google has grossed more than $7 billion.

Susan Wojcicki is the executive of Google’s advertising business and she is credited as one of the masterminds at Google, who reports directly to CEO Larry Page.

In 2008, Wojcicki wanted to replace Google’s display advertising products team with DoubleClick’s management team, headed by Mohan.  This means that Google’s widely respected display product chief, Gokul Rajaram, had to leave the company. Truly a controversial move that might rock the company. But Google didn’t hesitate and decided to play the game.

Today, Rajaram is Facebook’s multi-billion dollar display advertising business chief whereas Mohan runs the whole display advertising products department at Google. Similar businesses, two big companies and really two of the biggest rivalries in tech history, Facebook and Google always has been against each other for years.

Coming back, the reason why Wojcicki saw Mohan to be the best fit is because of his ability to talk to engineers about the work, in a way that they understand.

Also Google has given Mohan a hefty amount of money to spend on acquisitions, and he has spent them very efficiently.

In 2010, under Mohan, Google acquired a startup called Invite Media for $85 million. The company was one of the first to create a product called “demand-side platform” that can facilitate “real-time bidding.”

Google knew acquiring Invite Media is perfect for DoubleClick and especially, Neal Mohan. Today “real-time bidding” and “demand-side platforms” have become an everyday part of the entire display advertising industry online, and Google’s tools are considered the best in the space.

Since Invite Media, Mohan went on to acquire companies like Admeld and Teracent.

At Google, Mohan is considered as the big-player who plays the giant puzzle. He’s often called ‘the Quiet Assassin’ and ‘the Puppetmaster.’ Mohan is not a screamer or a big-table banger. He is a guy who listens to his partners and responds accordingly.

What more you need to keep a guy with such supremacy. No wonder why Google paid $100 million to keep Mohan within their staff, because they know- once you lose a gem, it’s lost forever.

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