Larry Page is an American Internet entrepreneur and computer scientist who co-founded the most-used search engine on the internet, Google. He is also the CEO Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
|Net Worth:||51 billion $|
|Born:||March 26, 1973|
|Country of Origin:||United States Of America|
|Source Of Wealth:||American computer scientist, CO-founder of Google, CEO of Alphabet Inc|
|Spouse:||Lucinda Southworth (m. 2007)|
Since his tender age, Page’s ideas stood out as overthought making him a passionate utopian. He believed they could make people’s lives better hence being compelled to put a good number of them into use.
Driven by an attitude he called, ‘a healthy disregard for the impossible,’ Page believes he can achieve anything he put his mind into. From the success of Google and its multiple products, he has found ways to fund his insatiable desire to invent. He says, “We build products; you can’t live without,” indicating each one of his inventions.
How His Career Starts?
41 years after the biography of Nikola Tesla, a Serbian inventor was published, 12 years old Page read it and wept. He understood that being a dreamer full of ideas wouldn’t take him where he desired to go.
If he didn’t understand the art of running a thriving business, he would end up broke and alone like Tesla; this stirred the hunger to understand the business world.
At the age of 22, Page’s desire to demystify the burgeoning World Wide Web’s link structure and its mathematical details fell into the favor of his supervisor.
With the understanding that the Web had about 10 million documents full of citations, otherwise called links, he made it his thesis. Page named his project, ‘BackRub‘ was joined by Sergey Brin, an outgoing fellow Ph.D. student at Stanford University.
The duo developed PageRank algorithm, named after Page, which considered the number of links in one web page and the number of links in each linking pages. If the links within a page led pages with more viable links, the webpage was treated as popular and appeared early in the search.
Page and Brin realized that PageRank could work as the foundation of a superior search engine as compared to those that existed. Its ability to analyze links enabled users to search deeper into the Web.
This inspired a new name for the project, googol, numeral 1 followed by a hundred zeroes; the number of pages the duo hoped the algorithm could rank. To make the name memorable, they settled for ‘Google.
Page’s dormitory space became his laboratory where he built a ‘server‘ to connect his trial search engine to the campus’ network. He then extended his project to Brin’s dormitory and made it an office and programming center.
They encouraged fellow students to use their search engine in order to test its capability, adding their home-made servers to increase its power in every instance.
On several occasions, Page’s project brought down Stanford’s internet connection as the web crawler used almost half of the campus’ network bandwidth. The institution didn’t hassle them much, and they were keen to see its success.
As of August 1996, BackRub, now known as Google, was written in Java and Python programs could index over 75 million HTML URLs. By mid-1998, it gave 10,000 searched daily.
Page was compelled to form a company that would drive the invention but had no money to run it. This called for fundraising from friends and family, and with $1 million realized, the startup was ready to leave Stanford’s dormitories.
His Rogue Management For Results
Until February 1999, Google ran from the rented garage. But it outgrew the space and Page decided to upgrade to an office in Palo Alto, California. He operated from there for seven months and then left for a bigger building.
The new space afforded his employees enough space to play roller hockey in order to develop their ability to confront each other’s ideas.
He provided the Googlers with free food and a massage therapist within the offices for their motivation. While Page encouraged them to have child-like imagination by packing the offices with bright colored couches and exercise balls, he also ensured rough debate about each idea pitched.
He retorted whenever he felt the idea was below average and called it ‘stupid‘ if he felt it was. Name calling and tearing down each other’s notions became the order of the day.
If an engineer presented a slow loading application, Page would count out loud, “One one-thousand. Two one-thousand.” Learning music during his high school days helped him count in milliseconds as a program loaded.
For Page, building a social culture based on ideas and results enabled him to stay focused more than emotions did.
Google’s fame grows by the day throughout the first half of 1999 requiring more capital to purchase more servers. Since he depended on donor funding, Page went on new investors’ hunt. He insisted on keeping a majority voting stock in the company with Brin, a gesture that was first ridiculed by venture capitalists.
But with the flourishing of Google, top venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital gave in and together gave Page with $50 million on his terms. In return, they asked him to give up his CEO position so as to have someone who could provide adult supervision for their investment.
Being in need of the funding, Page loosened his control. But upon the completion of the process, he opposed the condition and insisted on leading the company together with Brin. It wasn’t in his nature to let anyone drive him to leave alone lead the company he invented.
Partners from the venture capital firms were convinced Page wasn’t right to head the corporation. They appealed to him to meet other tech CEOs and understand what it took to lead one; Page agreed.
After a number of meetings, he decided to step down under the condition that Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs became his successor. Seeing that he was open to succession, the partners introduced him to Eric Schmidt, Novell’s CEO.
Schmidt, who interested Page for his programming background was hired as chairman of Google in March 2001 and became the CEO 5 months later.
In July 2001, Page gathered a number of Google’s product managers, humiliated them before their colleagues and fired them all. His felt they had no business supervising engineers. He didn’t acknowledge their role in managing resources and giving feedback, which began to hurt Google.
Page’s detest for managers telling engineers what to do wasn’t new to many. In 2000, a new product manager was hired by Google and was assigned to build a toolbar that would enable users to search without opening a browser. Seeing that no one used the toolbar, he incorporated a pop-up ad blocker.
Page saw the project and shot it down without a second thought. When the manager installed it in Page’s computer without his knowledge, Page later announced that there were fewer pop-ups. Google Toolbar was launched.
A page later learned that Google couldn’t do without product managers; he settled for hiring computer scientists who understood business instead of mere MBA holders. To him, it was wiser to have engineers supervised by fellow engineers, a system that was later adopted in Silicon Valley.
Why He Take A Step Back?
Schmidt’s proposal to hire a vice president of product management met Page’s fierce disapproval; he thought the position was superfluous. But he persisted and Jonathan Rosenberg who came from a failed startup, Excite@Home was hired.
At first, Page made Rosenberg’s life miserable, mocking him at every instance and rejecting all product managers he proposed to hire. Rosenberg had been hiring MBA holders, and Page wasn’t about to allow such come between him and his engineers. Later, a close confidant of Page advised Rosenberg to hire science graduates with business interest.
With more engineers surrounding him in product management, Page gave in and began loosening his grip on Google. He focused on reviewing and approving of Google’s products rather than the coveted CEO post.
On April 1, 2004, Gmail, created by Paul Buchheit was launched. Page had earlier reviewed it and insisted that it took 600 milliseconds to load; too long for a Google product. Wondering how Page had arrived at a conclusion, Buchheit went to the server room to read the logs after the presentation. Page was right.
His insight on products wasn’t to be taken for granted. He believed, “Deep knowledge from your manager goes a long way toward motivating you. And I have a pretty good capability for that.”
Though Page continued to appear in Google’s major meetings, he showed up with his laptop and kept it open throughout. He didn’t contribute until Schmidt called upon him asking for his opinion.
Page Gets More
Though it is Schmidt that carried the CEO title and took Google through major growth and development, Page had the last say on executive team’s hiring and release of products. It is also Page who signed for Google’s Initial Public Offering on August 20, 2004. He was seen as the boss by all employees.
With the money realized from the IPO, Page asked Google to buy the Android operating system, a purchase that wasn’t going to involve Schmidt. The $50 million purchase was conducted and Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android given a separate office from Google to work from.
Through Android, Page would enable users to access Google from their handheld devices. It became his passion project, dedicating more time to Rubin and his two co-founders than he did to Google. This left Schmidt watching over Google.
In November 2006, Google purchased YouTube, a popular video-sharing website created by 3 former PayPal employees in February 2005. The trio received $1.65 billion in Google stock. From a site that hosted over 100 million videos, the acquisition brought Google profitable online video and social networking markets.
On September 23, 2008, Android was launched and made free for all phone makers to run. After several updates, it scored 17.2% sales in the market knocking off Apple from its pedestal. With Android’s acceptance in the market, Google went on to develop among others Android TV for televisions to replace Google TV in 2014, Wear OS for wrist watches in 2014 and Android Auto for cars in 2015.
Android’s success exposed Page to his confidence in running executive duties. He had overseen the production of a great product through delegating main responsibilities to Rubin.
By 2010, Google had 24,000 employees who were involved in making search and advertising run well. It hit $180 billion market capitalization.
Trouble Brewing in Google
Google’s growth came with its problems. Bureaucracy entered the workplace with emails being copied over to too many people. Against, Page’s belief, “Small groups of people can have a huge impact,” projects that had been run by groups of 10 engineers were bloated with up to 40 of them. Worse still, time was spent on improving old products instead of building new ones.
Google faced an unexpected competitor, Facebook, an online social media and networking service based in its neighborhood. 142 of Google’s employees moved to Facebook.
Page analyzed the success of Google and realized that the passion for creating new products had sunk. While in 2009 Google made up to $6.5 billion in profit with 20,000 employees, 2010 didn’t bring much. In an interview Page announced, “I just feel like people aren’t working enough on impactful things.” He was right.
With the kind of profits Google’s search and advertising business was receiving, Page realized he could use such to fund his dreams. It is what Tesla had needed to build his inventions but didn’t have.
It wasn’t until the fall of 2010 that Page’s anger erupted with anger during a product-review meeting when a pitch about a product meant to help shoppers find offline stores was made. He expressed his dissatisfaction, “We build products that leverage technology to solve huge problems for hundreds of millions of people.”
Though he didn’t shout, it was clear that the product didn’t meet the credentials.
Page Saves Google
After deliberation on Google’s progress between Page, Brim, and Schmidt, it was clear that Page no longer needed adult supervision to head his company. He took over the CEO’s position again on January 20, 2011.
He began replicating the success he had with Rubin at Android across YouTube, Ads and Search; each division got a top manager assuming the roles of a CEO. That led to the redesigning of the products giving them a sharp look. Then he put up Facebook’s competition, Google +.
In June 2011, he penetrated the hardware market with a Chromebook laptop that ran Google operating system. Samsung and Acer Incorporation sold the early versions.
Page shielded himself from possible lawsuits from Android competitors by buying Motorola for $12.5 billion in cash on August 15, 2011. This gave him over 20,000 mobile patents. He would later sell the same in 2014 to Lenovo for about $3 billion without offering much explanation.
On April 5, 2012, Google launched Google Glass, an optical head-mounted display designed like a pair of eyeglasses. The smart glasses mission was to provide a ubiquitous computer where users could give voice commands in natural languages to access the internet.
By the end of 2012, Google provided free high-speed internet to residents of Kansas City in the USA. It was 100 times faster than broadband. Though Google offered the same service to several other cities, it canceled Kansas free offer in April 2016 giving the residents the option to pay $600 per year for 100Mbps.
A Converted Page
While the early version of Page preferred confrontational discussions that sometimes led to the rivalry, the renewed CEO wanted none of it. Speaking to his top executives during a 2-day top-secret retreat in Napa Valley, he made it clear that would have zero tolerance to fighting.
Page calmed down from the name-calling CEO as Google’s stock price soared to over $700 per share in 2014.
In August 2015, Google was placed under an umbrella company, Alphabet, where Page became the CEO while Brin, the president. Sundar Pichai became the CEO of Google, managing the core business. Page’s other venture like self-driving cars and health technology were put under Alphabet.
Though his second reign as the CEO of Google came to an end in October 2015, products like Chromecast dongle, Google Cardboard, Project Fi and Deep Dream are among the products he saw through. Forbes named him as number 1 ‘America’s Most Popular Chief Executives’ according to votes by Google’s employees.
In 2017, Page was named as the 5th richest person in technology with $43.9 billion through his participation in Google’s affairs had toned down a great deal.
When the federal government accused alphabet of underpaying women, Page didn’t respond to it, but the spokespeople said it wasn’t true. It is unclear whether his absence caused the fall of Alphabet to the third position in the technology behind Amazon and Facebook.
With Alphabet, Page managed to keep off the limelight though many people found it inapt for such a powerful company owner to stay hidden. His Kitty Hawk, the flying car company, showed its single person recreation vehicle in June 2018 meaning Page was still at work. His belief, “Anything you can imagine probably is doable, you just have to imagine it and work on it” isn’t about to fade away.
In 2012, Page gave shares of Google stock valued at above $123.8 million to a foundation he founded in 2006 and named after his father, Carl Victor Page Memorial Fund. As of late 2013, the fund had over $1 billion in assets.
In aid of a research program on vocal-cord nerve function, Page donated a huge amount of money to the Voice Health Institute in Boston, the USA in 2013. Sources speculated the figure to be more than $20 million.
In 2014, Page urged his audience to consider giving their money to corporations who can do indefinable amounts of good for the world rather than charitable organizations. He admitted passing his wealth to visionaries like Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla Motors upon his death. This surprised many as he went on to give stock valued at about $177.3 million from his company to charity.
Together with his family, he donated $15 million to aid charitable organizations to contain Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Google gave $10 million in support of the same mission.
Despite his thoughts on corporate charity, Page and his wife sit on the board of a number of nonprofit organizations like XPrize Foundation. The organization manages huge competitions in education, life sciences, exploration, global development and energy and environment. He also donates through funds like Vanguard Charitable Endowment, making it difficult to trace how the funds are spent.
Page channels most of his donations through Google.org to help find ways to solve most of the world’s persistent problems using technology and science.
While leading an organization that once made $658 per second, Bloomberg Billionaire Index estimated Page’s net worth as close to $33 billion in July 2014 making him the 17th richest man in the world.
As of September 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth at $55.9 billion up from $48.8 billion three months earlier. Page is a self-made billionaire gathering a large percentage of his wealth from Google and isn’t about to stop inventing. “I want to push the envelope for what’s possible for an innovative company with large resources.”
Here’s his 10 Rules!
Lawrence Edward Page was born on March 26, 1973, in Michigan, the USA to Gloria, a computer programming instructor and Carl Victor Page Sr., a computer science professor. While growing up, his house was clattered with science, technology and computer magazines influencing him to develop a great interest in the area. He became a fervent reader.
Beyond being a bookworm, Page studied music composition and played the saxophone. This influenced his thirst for high speed in his future works.
He attended Okemos Montessori School between 1975 and 1979 for his elementary school. By the time he turned 6, Page developed a passion for computers. His brother taught him how to dismantle them driving his curiosity to want to invent something from his ideas.
At 12, Page came across the biography of Nikola Tesla, a Serbian American inventor who turned out unsuccessful due to poor handling of the business aspect of his invention. Under this inspiration, he learned, “You need to invent things, and you need to get them to people. You need to commercialize those inventions. The best way we’ve come up with doing that is through companies.”
In 1991, Page graduated from East Lansing High School, Michigan and proceeded to University of Michigan to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. He pursued his desire to invent to the point of reverse engineering an ink cartridge and the electronics behind it. He then went to Stanford University, California for his Masters in Computer Science.
While visiting Stanford University as a potential Ph.D. student in 1995, Page met Sergey Brin, his tour guide for the day. The two spent the first day arguing. They considered each other intolerable; little did they know they would end up friends and build a successful company together.
Despite being an introvert Page met and began dating Lucinda (Lucy) Southworth, a research scientist and social bee in 2006. A year and a half down the line, Page married Southworth in a profligate wedding ceremony on Necker Island in the Caribbean.
The affair attracted 600 friends from Stanford where the two once attended and high profile personalities like Oprah Winfrey, Gavin Newsom, and President Donald Trump.
While keeping his family private, Page has two children born in 2009 and 2011. He values his family insisting, “please keep them close and remember: They are what matters in life.” He lives in the eco-friendly 6-bedroom home he bought in 2005 for about $7 million in Palo Alto.
In May 2013, Page reported that a cold he contracted earlier left his right vocal cords paralyzed. He had suffered from the vocal cords problem for14 years, and the same was slowly destroying his voice.
Main info: https://www.biography.com/people/larry-page-12103347, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Page
Google & Alphabet: https://www.businessinsider.com/larry-page-the-untold-story-2014-4?IR=T, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/21/alphabet-leadership-vacuum-where-is-larry-page.html
Net worth: https://www.forbes.com/profile/larry-page/#798134c87893
Early life: https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/larry-page-3344.php