Tesla Motors’ head of digital product Parag Vaish is resigning from the automaker to join Google’s internal incubator called Area 120. Vaish joined Tesla Motors last year and oversaw 40 employees in e-commerce, software design, and content, according to CNBC.
Area 120 is an experimental program at Google to help small teams “rapidly build new products in an entrepreneurial environment.” Google said that this is where its employees spend 100% of their time on the 20% projects.
Google’s corporate culture encourages employees to spend 20% of their time on side projects. Some of the 20% projects that went on to become some of Google’s core products include Gmail, Google Maps, Google News, and Google AdSense.
Google acknowledged that most of the experiments will fail, but their teams succeed when limits are tested and something new is learned.
Some of the products that Vaish’s team created at Tesla enabled customers to research and order new Tesla vehicles and energy products. Plus his team also created a payment system so drivers could trial Autopilot features and then buy upgrades from the screens in their vehicles.
Vaish was hired by Jon McNeill, who is Tesla’s former president of global sales and service and the current chief operating officer of Lyft. Vaish had worked closely with CEO Elon Musk and was reporting to Tesla’s vice president of worldwide sales Robin Ren.
Prior to joining Google, Vaish was the director of mobile product development at StubHub and was the founded of Smart Decision Making. He also worked as a group product manager at Microsoft and held various positions at The Walt Disney Company.