Google Investing $10 million–in ideas

I have written previously why ideas are always and everywhere more valuable then their mere execution.

This is a provocative statement, usually drawing heated debate. When I first read it in Thomas Sowell’s writings, I was skeptical.

But facts are stubborn things, and the evidence is overwhelming that this statement is true. Economies that generate more ideas have overwhelmingly higher standards of living than economies that merely execute ideas.

Google has launched its Project 10 to the 100th, whereby they are investing $10 million in ideas submitted from anyone.

Here’s how they explain it:

Project 10100 (pronounced “Project 10 to the 100th”) is a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible.

We’ll post a selection of one hundred ideas and ask you, the public, to choose twenty semi-finalists. Then an advisory board will select up to five final ideas.

…we ask that you put your idea into one of the following categories and consider the evaluation criteria below.


  • Community: How can we help connect people, build communities and protect unique cultures?

  • Opportunity: How can we help people better provide for themselves and their families?
  • Energy: How can we help move the world toward safe, clean, inexpensive energy?
  • Environment: How can we help promote a cleaner and more sustainable global ecosystem?
  • Health: How can we help individuals lead longer, healthier lives?
  • Education: How can we help more people get more access to better education?
  • Shelter: How can we help ensure that everyone has a safe place to live?
  • Everything else: Sometimes the best ideas don’t fit into any category at all.

We’re committing $10 million to implement these projects, and our goal is to help as many people as possible. So remember, money may provide a jumpstart, but the idea is the thing.

What do you get if your idea is chosen? According to Google:

You get good karma and the satisfaction of knowing that your idea might truly help a lot of people.

It’s common to read “good ideas are everywhere, it’s execution that matters.”

Nonsense. If good ideas were everywhere, we wouldn’t have remakes of Bewitched, Get Smart, and the Dukes of Hazzard.

Google understands the value of ideas, which is why it allows its people to spend “Google time”—up to 20% of their time—dreaming up new products and services.

If good ideas are everywhere—like rocks lying all around us—why is Google asking for them?

If you’re interested, you have until October 20, 2008 to submit your idea. May you have good karma!

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