The Google Story | David A. Vise

Summary of: The Google Story: For Google’s 10th Birthday
By: David A. Vise


Embark on a captivating journey as you delve into ‘The Google Story: For Google’s 10th Birthday’ by David A. Vise. The book summary takes you through the humble beginnings of the search engine giant, detailing its inception as a project by Stanford University doctorate students Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Explore the secrets behind Google’s unique search technology, the challenges it faced to stay funded, its entry into advertising, and the dizzying heights it achieved as a company. Uncover behind-the-scenes stories that shaped the foundation of Google, including the hiring of its first CEO, Eric Schmidt, and its transition towards the Initial Public Offering. A fascinating revelation of the corporate giant with a heart, this summary reveals the grit, determination and ingenuity that catapulted Google to its iconic status.

The Rise of Google

Google founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page created Google while pursuing their PhD at Stanford University. In the early stages of the company, they struggled to find investors until they discovered Andy Bechtolsheim, a serial investor who provided $100,000 in funding. With Bechtolsheim’s investment, they incorporated Google and went on to receive further funding from investors such as Jeff Bezos and David Filo which gave them credibility. Google’s power stemmed from merging its hardware and software, which became known as “Googleware.” The pair eventually secured $25 million in investments while maintaining control, but needed to find a way to make money. They refused to go public and eventually created a successful business model that set them apart from their competitors. Today, Google is the world’s most popular search engine, thanks to its unique feature, “PageRank,” which lists results in order of interest to the searcher better than any other search engine.

The Story of Google

Brin and Page, the founders of Google, never intended to build a conventional business. However, licensing their technology did not bring in the expected revenues, and they eventually turned to advertising. Despite their earlier views on advertising, they chose to show “sponsored links” on search response pages and innovatively ranked ads based on how much advertisers paid and how often users clicked on the ads. The company made a profit of $7 million in 2001 and $100 million in 2002, thanks to strategic alliances with AOL and Ask Jeeves. The founders eventually hired Eric Schmidt, who became the CEO, to complement their talents.

The Rise of Google

Google became a worldwide phenomenon due to its ease of use and innovative ideas. Its policy of encouraging engineers to work on anything that interested them yielded many great ideas, such as Google News and Google Product Search. Despite initially being viewed with skepticism, Gmail became a popular brand extension for the company. Google’s success is due to its commitment to making information easily accessible, as well as its ability to adapt and innovate in the face of changing technology.

Google’s IPO Revolution

In 2004, Google went public through an unconventional online auction, democratizing the distribution of shares but retaining control with two classes of shares. Brin and Page refused to pay usual bank fees and underwrite Wall Street’s sweetheart placements. Despite difficulties, including a lawsuit from Yahoo and an SEC investigation, the IPO was priced lower than expected, and initial trades hovered around $100.

In 2004, Google revolutionized the traditional IPO process. Founders Brin and Page knew that they would have to take their stock public at some point when they agreed to venture capital. They resisted until the last possible moment, breaking with tradition by holding an open auction for investors to determine how many shares they would get. By democratizing the distribution of shares, they retained control of the company with two classes of shares with unequal voting rights. They also refused to pay the usual bank fees or to underwrite Wall Street’s expected sweetheart placements.

However, the process wasn’t without difficulties. Google had to settle a patent infringement suit from Yahoo on the eve of the IPO. An interview with Playboy magazine, conducted months prior, was also released during the SEC-imposed quiet period just before the IPO, leading to an investigation for potential violations. Despite the obstacles, Brin and Page proceeded with the unconventional IPO, priced lower than anticipated at $85. They didn’t want a hot IPO doled out to favored Wall Street players who profited unfairly from buying and dumping stocks. Initial trades hovered around $100, and Brin and Page became paper billionaires before lunch. The innovative IPO revolutionized the process and set a precedent for other tech companies to follow.

Google’s Unique Culture and Unstoppable Growth

Google’s history is a story of determination, unique ideas, and unstoppable growth. The company’s cultural foundation was set in motion by Brin in 1998 when he introduced the idea of hiring a company chef to energize employees and unite the team. Brin’s relentless determination to remain on top was showcased in the Yahoo and AOL Europe dealings, where he diverted a Spain-bound flight to meet with an AOL exec one-on-one in London. Google’s vision for making information easily accessible paved the way for numerous innovative products, from Google Desktop Search to Google Earth. But, operating in China came with strings attached, where Google had to comply with local laws and censor the internet. Google’s latest effort is to digitize library books, raising copyright issues with authors and publishers.

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