How Have You Dealt With Financial Insecurity?
Kevin Delaney

Don’t Let Money Cloud Your Judgment

A Q&A with Kevin Delaney and Biz Stone on The Fast Pace of Tech: Doing Good, Driving Change

I grew up on welfare, and I was working since I was eight. I learned how to do this trick, which is good for everybody. You completely separate money from what you’re trying to figure out because money clouds your judgment completely. So you have to just think, “Money is a tool for things. Let’s just pretend that I have all the money in the world, what would I want to do?” Then everything becomes crystal clear.

I do it with a lot of people who I’m trying to help. And they’re really dismayed, and they’re like, “I don’t know what to do with my life.”

I say, “What do you really want to do?”

They’re like, “I can’t afford what I really want to do,” so I ask them to pretend they have money, say, $100,000,000.

They say, “Well, I would move back to Massachusetts and be next to my kids.”

I’d say, “Find a way to do that. You don’t have to have $100,000,000 to do that. You can get an apartment.”

That’s how I made that decision. I came out here for Evan, [thinking] my future self will figure out how to get me out of debt, and I always trusted my future self as some kind of smarter, better guy. I love that guy — he totally helped me out…

Oh yeah, people thought just because I got a job at Google I was automatically loaded. But they weren’t paying very much money. They were a startup. They were on their way to being good. But it was close to $70,000, and I was $70,000 in debt, and my wife was volunteer working, so we moved out there, and I worked at Google. But we didn’t have any furniture for a year and a half; we slept on the floor. I couldn’t make my car payments. Everyone just assumed, “Oh, everyone at Google’s loaded.”