Google X head Astro Teller recalls when he was a young entrepreneur looking to establish a board of directors for his second business.

Teller managed to secure an “avuncular” guy “who’s since become a good friend and mentor, but he can also be very bloody-minded about business”.

“He had built some of the largest companies in the world so I was a little bit scared of him at first,” Teller said during a presentation at the Sydney co-working space Fishburners.

Teller would go to the director’s offices about once a month. On one occasion, Teller recalls, he “whined at him for kind of a long time about how hard it was and why it was so unfair, this and that.”

“And he let me wear myself out and once I had finished he said, ‘Do you know you how become experienced, Astro?’ and I said, ‘No, Joe, how do you become experienced?

“And he said, ‘You have experiences’. And I thought that was just a smackdown and I probably deserved the smackdown, but I’ve come to see that it was a lot more than that.”

It’s a simple but effective ethos that Teller uses at Google X – the web giant’s famed offshoot famed for taking on crazy ideas and running with them.

It calls these projects moonshots and some of them include the Loon balloon internet network, self-driving cars and the Google Glass wearable.