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Why car & energy companies have a hard time experimenting like Google does

on January 16, 2014

Gigaom

There seems to be a misunderstanding out there about why Google (s GOOG) and some other internet companies do so much experimentation and innovation (like Google X and its autonomous cars), while other sectors like energy, automotive, or materials usually do a lot less. It’s not just because internet companies are smarter or cooler or more fun than companies in these sectors (though some are). I’ve been thinking about this idea after talking it out over drinks with energy entrepreneur Matthew Scullin (founder and CEO of Alphabet Energy).

The differences in experimentation can have a lot to do with the profit margins a company can earn on what they’re selling, or the profits as a percentage of the sales. Profit margin is influenced by a variety of metrics, including how much the product costs to make (both in terms of materials and cost of labor), and how much a…

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