Excursions

by Amit Gawande

Is 20 percent project still followed at Google? One where every employee is recommended to spend 80% on the official job and 20% on the project of their choice? I wonder because every time we hear about the success of this particular experiment at Google, we hear about the same old handful of products. Mainly AdWords and Gmail.

Have there been no other successful products from this experiment? If yes, why don’t we hear more about them? If no, what has changed at the company? Has it grown too large to back small, hobby-like products? Is the environment not conducive for the small, hacky projects?

Marissa Mayer had famously quipped regarding the project, “I’ve got to tell you the dirty little secret of Google’s 20% time. It’s really 120% time”.

Maybe as the companies grow, the employees lose the sense of closeness, the sense of attachment they felt earlier. The sort of dedication that Mayer referred to just can’t be expected from an aloof employee.