Geez, is this how you score a Q&A with Larry Page these days? We know the guy rarely lifts his head above the console long enough to do an interview, but this ego-stroke by Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer, ridiculously titled "Larry Page on how to change the world," is about as craven as you can get. Check out the opener:
"Lately he has been thinking far outside the walls of his company. Page sees a world of opportunity -- in areas ranging from energy to safer cars. But he also sees a world of timidity; not enough people, he worries, are willing to place the big bets that could make a difference in meeting humanity's biggest challenges. ... Page offers his views on innovation, change, fear -- and why he is, all things considered, an optimist."
Maybe he could share his water-to-wine recipe while he's at it. For those not interested in reading the whole thing, we've reproduced some of Serwer's questions below, as well as a summary of the Dear Leader's answers. Consider it a public service.
What are you thinking about these days?
Mostly about why people aren't as visionary as I am, or working on neat stuff. They must be retarded or something.
How can we increase the number of people doing such work?
People have to overcome their innate cowardice, like Sergey and I did. At worst, you can always go back to grad school. You gotta have a couple of huevos if you wanna make a high-protein egg white omelette, you know what I mean?
Are there mechanisms that society, government, or companies can put in place?
Hey, look at Silicon Valley. We're rolling in huevos. There's just something special about us.
On the one hand you're saying it's a problem. On the other, you're saying it's being done.
Yeah, it's somewhere in the middle. Like automobile accidents: people are working on that.
What are they doing?
Robot cars! That would be so cool.
As a public company, you have an obligation to shareholders. How does that come into play when you start designating resources to speculative projects?
We're making so much money, nobody cares what else we do.
Isn't this easier to do at a place like Google than, say, at older Fortune 500 companies?
Thank you, I am pretty smart. But it's sink or swim out there, and they'll adapt or die.
What kind of background do you think is required to push these kinds of changes?
Thank you, I am pretty smart.
Are you more or less optimistic about the future than you were three years ago?
Have you seen this thing I've built? After that, global warming'll be a cake walk.