I have met with a lot of venture capital people over the past few years and a couple of patterns have emerged. Invariably they are looking for a quick win, typically wanting a technology to get to market in the 3-6 month range. They have been spoiled by digital, where it is quick to prototype, but difficult to make meaningful. And in the end, they want to sell stuff so meaning be damned. The biotech and pharma VC people are a little more patient, as they’re used to a longer runway for something coming to market (often 2-4 years or more).
So it is little surprise to me that Google wants to unload Boston Dynamics. I think there are two things at play. First, they can’t productize their tech. They are trying to solve a lot of very hard problems (we’re working on some of the same issues), and research takes time. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, BD’s is kinda creepy. With their military past and often terrifying looking bots, they project an image that Google is finding they may not want to associate with. Google has enough of their own problems with image – but that’s what happens when you make your customers the product.