Background and Early Experiences
Page, a computer geek from Michigan, was born on the 26th of March, 1973. Both his parents Carl and Gloria Page had computer science and programming degrees. Page took after his father and grandfather who regularly exposed him to computers and intellectual life. Brin, born August 21, 1973 in Russia was a math's whiz; he completed his undergraduate degree at 19, aced all ten of the required doctoral exams at Stanford on his first try and teamed easily with professors doing research. His father taught math and his mother a computer scientist. Page and Brin shared commonalities: they are both second-generation computers, born in the same year, grew up using computers in their elementary school years, under tutelage of parents who used computers and sophisticated mathematics at home and work. This set Page and Brin apart from others their age; their fathers were esteemed professors in computer science and mothers whose jobs resolved around computing and technology (Time Magazine, 2006). Hence, successful companies are more likely to be set up by middle-aged owners with previous managerial experience (Burns, 2007).
In spring of 1995, Larry Page and Sergey Brin met at a social outing in San Francisco designed to welcome new applicants to Stanford Doctoral Program. They seemed to disagree on most subjects. In a recent interview withThe Economist, Brin jokingly said "we are both sort of obnoxious" (Scan, 2008). Despite their differences and not working together initially, they became friends and were quickly known as "Larry and Sergey". When Page showed up at Stanford some months later, he chose human-computer interaction pioneer Terry Winograd as his adviser. Afterwards, he began his search for a topic for his doctoral thesis. He stabled upon about 10 intriguing ideas, but found himself attracted to the growing World Wide Web and that was how Google began.
Google is a multinational internet search and computing company. It is in the technology industry and has its complex (headquarters) known as Googleplex, in Mountain View, California, United States with offices throughout America, Europe and Asia. In addition to its web search services, it has a over 45 applications; Google Books, Gmail, Google Pack, Google Maps, Google Mobile, Google Earth, Google Talk and others. It also has over 160 domains worldwide.
Origin of name
From the word "googol", connoting the figure 1 followed by one hundred zeros -10100, a number a lot larger than even the atoms in this universe. It was meant to imply the magnitude of information the search engine was to hold (Time Magazine, 2006).
Philosophy: Ten key principles of deed for Googlers
- Focus on the user and all else will follow
- It's best to do one thing really, really well
- Fast is better than slow
- Democracy on the web works
- You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer
- You can make money without doing evil
- There's always more information out there
- The need for information crosses all borders
- You can be serious without a suit
- Great just isn't good enough
To make search engines so powerful they would understand "everything in the world".
To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Innovation and on the user experience.
The users of Google search engine are researchers (you and I) as well as advertisers. It allows access to its search engine and other applications on its site for free but charges advertisers such as Amazon.com, Ebay.com for placing adverts.
Google was first incorporated as a private company on September 4, 1998. It became a public company on the 19th of August, 2004 and trades on stock exchange as GOOG.
Richard Branson- owner of Virgin once said "Each innovation spawns 10 innovations. If you view the world as a series of unsolved problems and inconveniences then that means there will be a repeated flow of ideas" (Bridge, 2006: 6). This was true of Page and Brin, as they saw the World Wide Web as a tangled web and decided to solve and ease the problem.
It all started as a research project when Pageand Brinwere computer science PhDstudents atStanford University in California. Page got the crazy idea that he could download the entire web onto his computer in a week, yeah right; good thing he thought it was that simple. He felt this would be a way to get relevant information fast and that was it. Brin joined him as he was interested in mining and making sense of the information (Time Magazine, 2006).
At Google, the preference is working in small teams of three, with individual employees expected to allot 20% of their time to exploring whatever ideas interest them most. Co-founders Larry Page, president of Products, and Sergey Brin, president of Technology, brought Google to life in September 1998 with a management team that represents some of the most experienced technology professionals in the industry (Majumdar, 2007).
No other corporation has Google's blend of brains- 20,222 full-time employees globally as of January 22, 2009, enormous computing resources, and focus on long term results, making it into a league of its own in 2001 whenEric Schmidtwas appointed as CEO. Both Page and Brinearn an yearly reimbursement of$1 (BusinessWeek 2010). (see appendix 1 for list of board of directors)
Google's magical ability to produce speedy relevant responses to queries hundreds of millions of times daily has changed the way people find information and stay abreast with the news. Millions of people use it daily in more than 100 languages and have come to regard Google and the internet as one. The quest for immediate information is satisfied by 'googling' it on a computer or mobile phone. Men, women and children have come to rely so heavily on Google that they cannot imagine life without it.
Googles' technologies have been able to sort through a large amount of growing information on the web and deliver it to its users for free, a service which returns accurate information in a very short amount of time. They rely on the millions of people who post websites to figure out which other sites have good content.
The search results are returned to the user in a fraction of a second.
The web server sends the query to the index servers. The content inside the index servers is similar to the index in the back of a book - it tells which pages contain the words that match the query.
The query travels to the doc servers, which actually retrieve the stored documents. Snippets are generated to describe each search result.
Google also uses a technique called PageRank to rank every page. It figures out all of the sites linking to a web page and gives them a value, based in part on the sites which are linked to them. Google is then able to determine the sites with the most votes meaning they have the best amount of information to those most interested in the information offered.
Andy Bechtolsheim (co-founder of Sun Microsystems, Vice President of Cisco Systems and major investor in companies), was approached by Page and Brin in 1998 to be an investor and he immediately agreed and made the initial investment of $100,000, saying that it was the best idea he had heard in years. The founders also wanted to keep control of their company, so they built the strategy to attract the best 2 VCs - John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins , Amazon, AOL, Compaq, Genentech, Sun; and Mike Moritz of Sequoia Apple, Cisco, Oracle and Yahoo. Thanks to their angels (Bechtolsheim and VC's), it worked. This "divide and conquer" strategy enabled Google to raise $25M in May 1999. Eric Schmidt (Google's CEO) and many others (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods) joined in 2001 before the company went public in 2004, raising $1.6billion (Time Magazine, 2006).
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION PROCESS
The success story of Google has fascinated millions of people worldwide. Sergey BrinandLarry Page are fondly referred to as "Google Guys". The term applies to them as a group because their fortunes are directly linked with the success of Google and hold a roughly equal number of the company's shares. Together, they changed the way most people use theInternet. They started the Google search engine whileworkingon their Ph.D.s in Computer Science at the Stanford University, USA. They initially had no plans to start a business, but were simply doing research for their Ph.D.
While conventionalsearch enginesranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page, Google found a better system that analyzed the relationships between websites.They called this new technology PageRank, where a website's relevance was determined by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages, that linked back to the original site. Page and Brin originally nicknamed their search engine "BackRub", because the system checkedbacklinksto estimate the importance of a site. Sooner or later, they changed the name to Google and since then it has been able to sort through a large amount of growing information on the web delivering accurate information to its users for free in a very short amount of time. They rely on the millions of people who post websites to figure out which other sites have good content. Google is now quoted as a triumph of the venture-capital industry, but Messrs Brin and Page founded the company without any money at all and launched it with about $1m raised from friends and connections (The Economist, 2009).
A BusinessWeek report in 2008 listed among others; Steve Ballmer- Microsoft, Mitchell Baker- Mozilla.org, Jeff Bezos- Amazon.com, Jeff Clavier- Softechv and Sergey Brin & Larry Page- Google, in its 25 most influential people on the Web list (Solis, 2008). They have proved that they have the brains to be innovative and affect the world positively.
- In 2010, Forbes Magazinelisted both persons as the 24th in its world's billionaires list, with a an average worth of $17.5 billion each (Forbes Magazine, 2010).
- In 2009, Brin and Page were named the fifth most powerful people in the world byForbes magazine (Forbes Magazine, 2009).
- In 2004, the two were chosen asABC'S News's "People of the Year" (Forbes Magazine, 2004).
- In 2004, Brin and Page got the "Highest Award in Engineering" known as the Marconi Foundation Prize. They joined a chosen few of 32 of the most influential technology pioneers in the World (Time Magazine, 2006).
- As at April 15, 2010, BusinessWeek ranked Google 2nd on its list of the 50 most innovative companies.
- In 2007 and again in 2008, Forbes Magazine ranked them as No 1 on its list of 100 Best companies to work for (Forbes Magazine, 2010).
One of the reasons Page and Brin started their business is because they are passionate about technology. They love computers and science. The core value proposition of Google is to provide the world with a more accurate and accessible information tool of our time. Also, Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. It accomplished this by being the no1 most used website. Google terms his popularity right now as "Volcanic," which is an odd expression in light of the recent volcano condition in Iceland (Phillips, 2010).
Google's success can also be linked to Page and Brin's clever employment of expertise Operating at the epicenter of the internet, Google is the place with the buzz where the paramount and brightest engineers on the planet flock to work. They are leaving Universities, Microsoft, and elsewhere for a dynamic setting that more nearly resembles a graduate school campus than a customary business headquarters. The company's stock increased price since its initial public offering has captured worldwide attention, supplementing the recruiting effort.
The company's advisory board of investors is almost a who's who of European e-commerce talent. They bring not only cash to the table but also a vast amount of experience. The board includes the likes of a management team that represents some of the most experienced technology professionals in the industry (see appendix 1). All of these have contributed immensely to the international expansion of the business.
Although Google has a physical building, its services are given online through its website and search engine that is up to date, fast, accurate and user friendly. The major issues of the web search engine market today are speed and accuracy. For internet users, it's a frustrating and familiar story - you spend hours trying to fish-out information from slow, unreliable and difficult to use websites. Due to its search and translation feature, you can access and translate and any website.
We live in a society where there is great amount fraud, thieves and hackers. Google has faced problems of hackers on its website as well as its computers. Google recently said that it would stop cooperating with Chinese Internet censorship Beijing and consider shutting down its operations in that country altogether, citing assaults from hackers on its computer systems and attempts to "limit free speech on the Web" ( The New York Times, 2010).
Google allows people to access free and accurate information through an online search engine. It has become not only No. 1 around the world amidst it competitors, but it also continues to gain market share — rising 81% between July 2008 and July 2009. Yahoo is second in overall market share, but its growth is stagnant at just 17% in the same period. As at the 19th March, 2010, Google's global share exceeded 85% as shown below:
Google, being a public limited company is bound by Securities and Exchange Commission Act of Section 5(a) of the Securities not to sell a security unless a registration statement has been filed as to such security. Also, It being situated in the U.S.A enjoys benefits by the General Corporation Law of Delaware along with 50% of U.S.A. public ltd corporations of the Fortune 500 companies (www.google.com).
The technological factors outside Google's control are ever increasing due to growing trend in the 21st century to meet up with latest technologies in the technology industry. Nevertheless, it seems to be doing just fine as it has vast number of trendy and modern applications such as; Google Earth. It has also ventured into the mobile world by producing a touch screen mobile phone known as Nexus-one, all in an attempt to compete with other 3G and touch screen mobiles.
All well and good, but some ethical issues have been raised concerning Google. One of the more controversial search services Google hosts isGoogle Books. The company began scanning books and uploading limited previews, and full books to preserve books from decay. A number of copyright disputes arose and Google is now in court in New York. It has worsened the case by saying that it plans to have digital copies of 10 million volumes by 2015 (BBC News, 2010a). In Bradford, another issue has sprung up again about Google map being blamed for break-ins (BBC News, 2010b).
Google has facedantitrust reviewson both sides of the Atlantic. The European Commission launched a preliminary antitrust investigation into Google's search engine and its search-advertising service saying that it had received complaints about Google advertising system (Financial Times, 2010).
The above analysis of Page and Brin's lifes and business have shown agreement with the stages of entrepreneurial and innovation process (idea generation, opportunity recognition and exploitation) as well as the core desirable and acquirable traits of an entrepreneur;
- Attitudes & behaviours
- Commitment and determination
- Leadership qualities
- Opportunity obsession
- Tolerance of ambiguity and uncertainty
- Self reliance and creativity
- Motivation to excel
Page and Brin made decisions despite the uncertainties and challenges they faced and today they are seen as "Global heroes" (The Economist, 2009).
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