Google is famous for the “perks” that they give their employees. Things like gourmet free lunches, shuttle service to and from work, an on-campus laundromat, but their most recognized program is easily “20% time”. In case you haven’t heard of it by now, Google basically gives employees one day of the week to work on whatever it is they want. Here are some Google services you might have heard of that started out as a 20% project: Gmail, Google News, and AdSense. Apple, looking to copy the best parts of Google, began something called the “Blue Sky” initiative earlier this year according to The Wall Street Journal. Here’s the exact wording:
“Earlier this year, Apple told some employees about a new initiative called “Blue Sky” that allows a small group of staffers to spend a few weeks on a pet engineering project, according to three people told about the program.”
It’s obviously not as widespread as Google’s 20% time since “Blue Sky” is only open to a select few, but it is a sign that even Apple is starting to recognize that some of their ideas are getting a bit stale. Scott Forstall, the former Head of iOS, is said to have been a part of this program.
Will Apple’s employees come up with something as ground breaking as Gmail or as profitable as AdSense over the coming years? That’s hard to say. As much as the media loves to give Apple attention and call them an innovative company, they’re fundamentally in the box moving business. By that we mean they make money by selling you physical goods. That’s made them the biggest company America has ever seen, but all it takes is a few misteps for the empire to crumble. Google meanwhile, as long as advertising exisits, they exist.
We don’t see the death of advertising happening anytime soon.