Why the fuck 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?
Braithwaite asks a really good question — his motivation, or underlying point, is to ask why people aren’t working on more important issues like better medical equipment. Though the question is very good, I think the answer is fairly simple:
- Google, et al, is where the money is.
- Google, et al, are where the jobs are.
- Google, et al, are where their friends are.
Those are easy things to understand, but there’s more than that at play. I’d argue there are a couple of less obvious things at work:
- Medical research, while well funded, is a slow and frustrating field. Where at Google or Apple a product/idea can be used by millions in a matter of just hours, your work in medical fields may take years to get approval from the necessary “authorities” before you get to see end users using your creation.
- Your friends just don’t get that excited when they hear that you work for a no-name medical company — but they want to know more when they hear you work for a company that they know and use everyday.
I don’t think there is any right or wrong here, I just think that it’s easier for a young talented mind to choose Google, Facebook, Apple, or others, than it is for them to choose a medical research company.