Speculative spending

It’s actually very difficult to spend meaningful amounts of money, relative to Google’s scale, on things that are speculative.

One of my favorite Larry moments was when he used to regularly ask the whole company to work on artificial intelligence and no one would do it:

My own experience within Google is that it’s hard to get people to work on those kinds of things because of the personal risk they feel they’re taking…

I’ve told the whole company repeatedly I want people to work on artificial intelligence – so we end up with five people working on it. Guess what? That’s not a major expense. There’s a reason we talk about 70/20/10, where 70% of our resources are spent in our core business and 10% end up in unrelated projects, like energy or whatever. [The other 20% goes to projects adjacent to the core business.]

Actually, it’s a struggle to get it to even be 10%.