I’ve always known I would have made a good billionaire. I’d give my money to people that need it. You know: charities, children’s organizations, the downtrodden in general. Even my wife.
Sergey Brin, founder of Google, and all-around-decent-if-incredibly-arrogant guy, loaned ten million dollars to his wife’s company, 23AndMe. This is a company that Mr. Brin’s wife started, and which is mapping the human genome. Not being a genetic scientist this leaves me unable to say much beyond “I’m sure that’s really important and will eventually lead to lots of amazing medical benefits”.
I’m guessing that the business change in this story is the very act of turning genome mapping into a business. Which also may be a good idea at some point. But Not Yet. 23andMe is laying off some of their staff. I find this amazing given that they had to know right from the start that their business would takes years to be viable. And when Mr. Brin made that loan, no matter how great a guy he is he had to have understood that it was a long-term commitment to both science and business. So why not loan the company more money now? For that matter, given Sergey’s absolutely immense wealth and his very personal connection to 23andMe, why not just buy the company and finance it until Mrs. Brin gets bored?
Because it’s a bad idea.
Business Change can be engineered, but there has to be something to change from and something to change to. What did they think would happen; 23andMe would automagically make money at something with no practical application (yet) just because the founder of Google was married to its CEO?
Maybe I can change myself into the next Perez Hilton by using this post to suggest that Sergey Brin is about to get divorced. Nope. Too creepy.
Even for Google, ideas aren’t good just because you say they are.