Before You Go For The Moon Shots, Get People To Click On Ads

January 21, 2013 5:05 am

[Response to Why The ****]

More precisely, Response to this: “Why the **** are the greatest minds of our generation toiling away in the Googleplex, harnessing the greatest computing resources in history, trying to figure out how to get Scott Hanselman to click on ads?”

The issue clearly is not why the top minds of our generation are trying to get people click on ads. The real issue is much bigger than that – it is about balancing the short term with the long term.

Google is working on Moon shots AFTER they figured out how to make money from ads. ‘Larry Page lives by the gospel of 10x’ – he could possibly not live by that gospel if the world one day decides not to click on Google Ads. It is as simple as that. But why do we refer to moon shots? Because, the kind of ‘real’ problems stated in the article – “what Scott really needs is to manage his blood sugar with the second-by-second efficiency. Without pain or hassle” comes under the “deceivingly simple problem, truly complicated technology solution” category.

So what is the real issue? Why can the top minds not work on such problems? Why Not?

The tricky part of how we have chosen to structure our world, over many generations, is this: There is no long term without short term, and in the long term we are all dead. Well, maybe not – but this balancing dance – between short term realities and long term fantasies is what makes the tech industry so interesting and challenging.

Big visionaries, like Bill Gates, Larry Page and Steve Jobs have figured out workarounds – get some profitable products out in the market to take care of the short term realities, which would create a good enough buffer for their top minds to focus on the long term fantasies, that could potentially move the needle in terms of technological progress.

Because, being visionaries, they knew that it is the long term fantasies that would move mankind forward, overall. They intuitively understood (or, as CEOs running listed companies, were made to understand by WallStreet), that moon shots are only possible AFTER a great earnings call for the quarter.

In a dream scenario that will result in mankind moving in leaps and bounds towards a Minority Report world, venture capitalists would pour money into concepts that have no plans to handle short term realities, allowing them to focus on long term fantasies instead. This would improve the conversion ratio (of long term fantasies into feasible, functional models) drastically, in the long run. But not everyone can be focused on doing this – which is why we have a good part of our top minds focusing on how to get people to click on ads, enabling someone to sell a T-Shirt or a Mesothelioma drug for a profit.

So if someone has figured out a model to handle the short term realities in ‘managing Scott’s blood sugar with second-by-second efficiency without pain or hassle’ – rest assured, someone is building an app for that. Right now. If not, we now know why not.

[You might also be interested in The Tale Of Two Statisticians)]

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