First, what an awesome way to quit. Second, what a great message: “Everybody, stop working on cat picture apps, wake up, there’s some serious heavy-lifting that needs doing, and the smartest minds are busy creating frivolous crap.” Really, that makes sense, and you have to respect a guy that gets up at a conference and (quite literally) follows his own advice as he’s giving the talk.
What’s confusing me is Google. Of any company in the world, wouldn’t Google be the kind of place that someone as qualified as Yegge could just pick up the phone and ask an executive to put him on some meaningful project? When I went to Google’s scray/secret Scifoo thing years ago, I saw the founders sit in on a session by George Church on the very project that Yegge references in this video. These guys know more about the Genome than people with PhDs in the subject.
The disconnect here is that, up until I saw Steve’s presentation (remotely). I would have just assumed that Google was already involved in Big, Meaningful Science based on what I saw four years ago. It’s perplexing, that company is a puzzle from the outside.