You might never of heard of Danish politician and current European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager.
But you will have heard about some of her work.
Vestager has taken on some of the biggest companies in the world, Amazon, McDonald’s, and Apple to name a few. But it’s the European Union commissioner’s most recent case that has caught the world’s attention.
The commission’s seven-year long probe into Google’s abuse of the search engine market finally came to an end last month. The investigation resulted in Google being slapped with the largest EU antitrust penalty on record, $2.7 billion.
The commission found that Google denied “consumers a genuine choice” when it illegally prioritised its own shopping service in its search results, while purposely relegating its rivals.
Getty Images The new Google logo is displayed at the Google headquarters on September 2, 2015 in Mountain View, California.
In taking on tech titans like Google and Facebook, Vestager has had to make some pretty huge decisions and conclusions in her career.
Talking to CNBC in an episode of Life Hacks Live, Vestager shared her wisdom on how she builds such complex cases and comes to groundbreaking decisions.
“You have to deal with the facts of the case. What are we dealing with here? So it’s not based on gut feeling or the weather or if it’s a Tuesday instead of a Wednesday, you can’t do that.”
“You need to have the advice from experienced people coming from different kinds of educational and backgrounds in general, and then you can make a decision,” said Vestager.
“But you need people around you that you trust to give you advice, and you need to make sure that the facts of the case are presented.”
Vestager’s decision-making process can be used no matter the significance of the decision.
“I’ve asked myself what is the worst thing that can happen if I take this decision and go along with it.”
“Very often I find that the worst thing that can happen is something that I can live with. And if that’s the case I will do it.”
“But if I find that the worst thing that can happen is something that I couldn’t live with, then I have to reconsider and figure out then what to do,” she added.
Unlike many of us, Vestager’s decisions will have repercussions around the world. But in thinking about the many people her choices will impact, she finds clarity.
“Very often I think about the people that I represent. I meet people who have thousands and thousands of employees, and millions and millions of customers – and also make a lot of money. But I think about the millions of Europeans that I represent in order to try to balance that so we can meet on more equal terms.”
“I try to picture my people back home, the people I meet when I travel in Europe. All the people that need someone to make sure that things are done the right way.”