Monday, Apr. 18, 2005

The Google Guys

Every decade seems to bring one or two truly innovative technology firms that bring lasting change to the computer landscape. Google is one such company, because of its founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and their passion to change the way we relate to information. I considered working at Google after I left Sun Microsystems, and I spent a lot of time with the pair. I learned of the depth of their commitment to make all the world's information available. And I found them to be curious and challenging, critical yet playful. They vigorously fought any proposition that something wasn't possible or practical. We saw this in their determination to take Google public in a nontraditional, "auction" format. They pioneered a new path, and those who bought and held the shares offered in this more democratic way did well.

But what is most impressive about Google is how Larry and Sergey have attracted a large number of smart, passionate people to drive their vision. Thirty years ago, Xerox Corp. brought together the best computer scientists to invent a new era for computing. The personal computer, laser printer, local area networking—all these came out of Xerox. Today Google has assembled Silicon Valley's most impressive brain trust. There are many colorful things about Google—lunches by the Grateful Dead's cook, Sergey's gymnastic abilities. But the big story is that Google is a mecca for bright people, and much is deservedly expected from them. Larry and Sergey, both still in their 30s, have built something that seems certain to last and prosper for a long time.

Joy, whose innovations helped grow the Internet, is a venture capitalist

From the Archive

In Search of Google: Watch out, Yahoo. There's a search engine out there with uncanny speed and accuracy. And it's way cool