With such a tight timescale, Pichai wasn't able to keep tabs on the project. "He said, 'Okay, Clay, run,' and he didn't see me, or Google Cardboard, for the next eight and a half weeks," Bavor recounts to Honan. The idea originally was to put a headset in each of the swag bags handed out at the registration desk, but the night before, Pichai had a change of heart. He wanted to announce Cardboard on stage, during his keynote, and then have Google's employees hand them out to delegates afterwards.
"He had not even seen the final version of it, or the final version of the software."
The decision was made and at 11pm, a mad scramble ensued to make it so. The next day, as we know, it was launched without a hitch. "He stood up onstage and announced this product," Bavor recalls, "and he had not even seen the final version of it, or the final version of the software." Pichai had put his complete trust in Bavor and the team working on Cardboard.
The rest of Honan's piece is equally insightful. It delves into Pichai's history, growing up in India and working through the ranks at Google. His not-so-undercover exploration of CES and a speech at the University of New Delhi stadium provide a snapshot into his busy schedule and how he's running one of the most important technology companies in the world.