The Perils of Working on a C.E.O.’s Pet Project

“We often mentioned it was like a start off-up,” Mr. Anderson wrote, “with zero hazard if you unsuccessful.”

The layoffs, which totaled about 18,000 throughout Amazon, arrived with a hiring freeze, restricting alternatives for movement internally. Several workers of the firm wrote Mr. Anderson that his submit experienced strike a nerve. They instructed him that they hoped to change roles internally, he reported, and were being “never functioning on a person of these ridiculous jobs yet again.”

Nonetheless, workforce remain psyched to function on Amazon’s massive bets, including satellite web, overall health care and driverless taxis, claimed Brad Glasser, a firm spokesman.

“The option to work on projects that are transformative for buyers at scale and to develop and use chopping-edge technological innovation is the motive lots of personnel be a part of the organization and improve their occupations in this article,” he mentioned.

Google has prolonged been the poster kid for massive, offbeat concepts. In 2009, Mr. Page persuaded Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford professor, that after the corporation experienced conquered the online, its next feat would be to completely transform the true earth.

Autonomous automobiles were one particular of a number of suggestions that Google began working on at the secretive division that Mr. Thrun would begin, Google X, nicknamed the company’s “moonshot manufacturing facility.” Some initiatives succeeded, this sort of as Google Brain, an artificial intelligence lab that is now aspect of the company’s study division. Some others unsuccessful, together with Google Glass, augmented fact glasses that captivated ridicule, and Loon, a strategy that meant to beam internet from giant balloons but never ever landed on a organization product.