Thursday, May 22, 2008

Larry Page interview with Fortune magazine

Larry Page of Google was interviewed by Fortune and what follows is one of the sound bytes offered up.

"Question: So you think that geothermal and solar thermal could solve our energy problems?
Answer: Yeah, probably either one could generate all the energy we need. There's no discipline to actually do this stuff, and you can also see this vested interest, risk-averse behavior, plus a lack of creativity. It's also a timeliness thing; everyone said Sam Walton was crazy to build big stores in small towns. Almost everyone who has had an idea that's somewhat revolutionary or wildly successful was first told they're insane.
Question: Whose obligation is it to make this kind of change happen?
Answer: I think it's everyone who cares about making progress in the world. Let's say there are 10,000 people working on these things. If we make that 100,000 we'll probably get ten times the progress.
And then you compare it with the number of engineers at Chevron and Exxon and ConocoPhillips who are trying to squeeze the last drop of oil out of somewhere, and the science brainpower that's going to that. It's totally disproportionate to the return that they could get elsewhere.

Question: What kind of background do you think is required to push these kinds of change?
Answer: I think you need an engineering education where you can evaluate the alternatives. For example, are fuel cells a reasonable way to go or not? For that, you need a pretty general engineering and scientific education, which is not traditionally what happens. That's not how I was trained...If you look at people who have high impact, they are general in how they evaluate things, and that's been good(an obsession of Carroll Quigley, my Georgetown history teacher, 1967-68)...If you look at people who have high impact, in general in how they evaluate things, and that's been good pretty general knowledge. They don't have a narrowly focused education. They don't have a really narrowly focused education.
You may also need some leadership skills. You don't want to be a Tesla. He was one of the greatest investors, but it's a sad story. He couldn't commercialize anything, he could barely fund his own research.. You'd want to be more like Edison. If you invent something...you've got to get into the world, you've got to produce, make money doing it so you can fund it."

This is from th 5/19 magazine of Fortune, a terrible magazine in general but worth a full read on this at your newstand or bookstore, not worth the $4.99.

1 Comments:

Blogger buddymander said...

Hello i am not sure how to contact you other than here but i was wondering how was you came in possession of Carroll Quigley's last lecture.

Might you know how to obtain it?

10:27 PM  

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