In a surprise yesterday, Google announced Andy Rubin would no longer lead Android, the mobile operating system he created and led.
CEO Larry Page said Rubin would “start a new chapter at Google.” He then made it clear what he wants Rubin to work on: “Andy, more moonshots please!”
“Moonshots” are big world changing products. Page wants Google to think about making products that are 10X as good as what is on the market right now, not 10 per cent.
If Rubin really has a “moonshot” idea, there’s no reason for him to do it at Google.
He should strike out on his own.
Rubin founded Android and sold it to Google. Before founding Android he co-founded Danger, another handset company. He left Danger, but it sold to Microsoft.
So, the last two companies he worked on both had nice exits.
Plus, exits aside, Android took over the world.
Investors would be fighting to hand Rubin money.
In 2011, Bill Nguyen raised $41 million for a photo sharing app called “colour.” It was a controversial funding because it was a lot of money for a crowded space. The rationalization for giving him the money is that he had built and sold a few companies already.
But the companies he built and sold were nowhere near as successful as Android.
If Rubin is going to do a moonshot, he should just raise a boatload of investor money and go for it outside of Google.
In a letter to Android’s partner’s Rubin called himself, “an entrepreneur at heart.” An entrepreneur does his or her own thing.
Besides, it’s not clear he really fits at Google. Keval Desai, a former Google employee and current VC, told Liz Gannes at All Things D, “Andy is more like Steve Jobs in his leadership style — top down.”
An anonymous Googler added, “Everyone loves Andy, but his leadership style is not ‘Googley.'”
One tiny example of Rubin being a little different than people at Google: When he first started, he had to hide his “limited-edition German sports car” in a garage because in 2005, being ostentatious at Google was no cool, reports Steve Levy in his book “In The Plex.”
Gannes also reports that while Rubin is close to Page, his non-Google style was a bit of a rub. A source tells her, “This was not acrimonious,” but another said, “perhaps it also wasn’t harmonious.”
So, basically, Rubin can stay at Google and develop his next big project where he’ll be hemmed in by Google’s organizational structure. He’ll never truly be the CEO of his project, and if it ends up being a gigantic success it helps Google.
Or, he can take tens of millions of dollars from venture capitalists, run his own operation and enjoy the tremendous upside that comes with success (should it come).
There is an advantage to sticking at Google. It has a bottomless well of resources for him. It has a staff of brilliant people motivated to work on moon shots. And, it treated him very well while he built Android.
Levy says that when Google bought Android, Rubin got “unusual degree of autonomy.” He could hire his own team from outside Google with little interference.
But, all the pluses for Google just as easily apply to building his own company. He’ll have no problem attracting talent and money.
Rubin’s next project will probably involve robotics. Levy described him as a “maniacal robot aficionado,” and said, “he would haunt the Akihabara district of Tokyo for weird Japanese toys.” Gannes also says Rubin “wanted to return to passion projects in robotics and home automation.”
So, he should probably clean out his desk and set up shop on his own to build an independent robotics company. If it doesn’t work out, we’re sure Google would take him back.
NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.