At last week’s Royal Statistical Society (RSS) conference Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google, gave a panel talk about ‘Statistics at Google’. Could he get a better audience than the RSS? Hal talked about his career in academia and at Google. He reminded us of the days when Google was still a small start up with no real idea about how they could actually generate revenue. At that time Eric Schmidt asked him to ‘take a look’ at advertising because ‘it might make us a little money’.