Saturday, June 02, 2007

E = mc**2

A reformulation for the technology industry: energy = mission times the square of the available cash. True in general? Maybe, though in the case of webvan and other .com singularities, the energy didn't actually go anywhere. But it is the case at Google. It's really quite astonishing the amount of energy at the place, especially in Mountain View, where there are so many people and so many of them moving places. From desk to meeting to tech talk to volleyball to food to foosball to the gym to the future. And people move quickly. And talk quickly. They make quick decisions and go on to the next thing.

The last time I felt so energized at work was when I was just out of college and building a graphical operating system that was going to bring the brilliance of the Mac to people with low-end IBM PCs. We were going to revolutionize the world of computing by writing a system in the oldest high-level language (assembly language), for old computers, that would let them do the most modern of computer-enabled tasks. If only we hadn't fired all the marketing people, they could have told us that people with old computers tend not to like buying new things. Ah well. Last I heard, the system was still being put on refurbished PCs and made available to people in developing countries. So maybe it is changing the world, in some way.

My point, though, is that it's wonderful to be at a place filled with people with ideas, energy, and the resources to make them a reality. Such a contrast from Openwave. Relativity, indeed.

1 comment:

Brent Noorda said...

If E=mc**2, does it follow that c=sqrt(E/m), i.e., that Google can continue to make boatloads of cash as long as its energy is not divided by too many missions? or if Google has only one mission, but that mission is too big, that it will run out of cash? That does seem to have happened in the past when energetic companies' missions were too big (e.g. to unseat the dominant player, ala Netscape, Novell, or your first company).

Also interesting to note is that cash is proportional to sqrt() of energy, so that twice as much energy does not deliver twice as much cash. Diminishing returns.

Thanks for the update, Adam. It's good to hear that a large company can still retain the energy of a small startup. I hope it lasts. Sounds like you approve of your choice to go to Google, eh? I'll keep my eye on the Google choices in that direction (blaming you if they do anything wrong :-), and have started to document that in the recently-created LastComputer Blog.