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Google Businesses

The Fall and Rise of Larry Page 99

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-story dept.
schnell (163007) writes "Slate has a long, detailed story about how Larry Page founded Google, how he struggled with its growth, and ultimately how he came back to reinvigorate it. The story recounts fascinating details about Page's relationship to Sergey Brin, the combative culture Page fostered in the company's early years, his resistance to having engineers managed by non-engineers, the company's struggle through its rapid growth, and how Page once even wanted to hire Steve Jobs as Google's CEO."
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The Fall and Rise of Larry Page

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  • non-Slate link (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Sunday April 27, 2014 @09:40AM (#46852715) Homepage Journal

    Here's the original [businessinsider.com].

    Besides all the fallacy-ridden trash Slate publishes, it's started spamming my Facebook-unique email address recently (I once clicked 'like' on an article there, apparently, before I knew to block all those trackers) so I try to avoid it now. Wasn't paying attention to the hover, so Slashdot got me. :/

    • by Anonymous Coward

      For a moment when I was reading it yesterday, I thought "there might be hope yet for Slate" but it turned out to be a Business Insider piece. Maybe Slate's only hope is to actually outsource all of their actual *articles* to other publications, so the staff can continue writing navel-gazing "articles" where the author, or another Slate writer’s TED talk, is the subject. Or a terrible review of an unappealing book by someone with the same surname as one of the staffers.

    • "... before I knew to block all those trackers..."

      Ghostery for Firefox. [mozilla.org]
      Ghostery for Chrome. [google.com]

      Google is on the way down, sadly. Part of the URL for Ghostery for Chrome is: mlomiejdfkolichcflejclcbmpeaniij

      This Slashdot story is about Google, but the linked story only gives "facts" that are apparent on the surface. Below the surface, Google is going the way of Hewlett-Packard, Fairchild Semiconductor [wikipedia.org], and Tektronix: Slow and sometimes fast degradation. Yes, I feel I am qualified to make that stateme
      • by nobodie (1555367)

        I used to ride my bike past Fairchild Semiconductor when I was working in Suzhou China. Yeah, they still exist, probably not making circuit boards like the old days, but who knows?

        When I saw the name I had to Google it to remember what they were and discover how many times they had changed hands in the previous decade....

  • by rockout (1039072) on Sunday April 27, 2014 @09:42AM (#46852723)

    Spoiler alert: the article basically spends most of its time saying "Larry Page is a genius, and like many geniuses, is socially awkward." Wow. How ground-breaking.

    That said, I did find it interesting enough to keep reading it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Socially awkward" is a fashion statement these days. SO QUIRKY AND GEEKY AND READS XKCD AND LIKE SHELDON/AMY IN THE BIG BANG THEORY LUL etc.

      Nobody who is socially awkward, as opposed to not quite being a high school jock, would be able to form the kind of relationships necessary to succeed in business.

    • Huzzah, I'm a genius!

      It's bijective, right?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mabhatter (126906)

      i think both of Google's founders were smart enough to understand they were GEEKS and not try to run the business themselves. So they went out and got Eric Schmidt, an experienced industry professional to run things for them. Then they got out of the way and spent 10 years "growing up". This let the company and their employees flourish and avoided all those early mistakes Steve Jobs made because he was young and cocky at 25 with tens of millions of dollars.

      Now they are grown up and coming back to their com

      • by hankwang (413283) on Sunday April 27, 2014 @11:26AM (#46853191) Homepage

        i think both of Google's founders were smart enough to understand they were GEEKS and not try to run the business themselves. So they went out and got Eric Schmidt

        TFA explains that Page was not very cooperative to get a mature CEO. Essentially, he had Schmidt shoved through his throat:

        Page had never been behind hiring [Schmidt] -- or any CEO, for that matter. Google's investors made him do it. (...) And for a long time, Larry Page was very unhappy.

        • by symbolset (646467) *
          Eric Schmidt is known as the most expensive babysitter in the history of the world. But he let his charges do enough right things to be worth the money.
      • I want to end the notion that young tech founders need to "grow up" or find a "grey hair" to actually run their business.

        It's bullshit and ruining our industry.

        I'll be the *first* to admit that the techies who make the systems that define new awesome products/services are not trained or experienced in running a high finance business...that's well known

        The dispute comes in the **fix** for the above problem.

        Hiring some dipshit as a figurehead for investors...that addresses absolutely **none** of the **original problems**

        When tech companies need to hire businesspeople, they need to hire businesspeople that are as innovative and progressive as the engineers, not someone to "hold them back"

        What happens instead is that a new, user-centered company becomes spoiled by typical US MBA-type heirarchal capital hogging, data selling, evil corporation.

        There is a 3rd way! Just say "no"!

        • Mod parent up to +10. A CEO of a technological company should have technical knowledge.

          Not like Steve Ballmer, [futurepower.net] fired from Microsoft. (The paragraphs about Steve Ballmer link to a BusinessWeek magazine cover that calls Mr. Ballmer "Monkey Boy", an article that says he was the "worst CEO", and an article about Ballmer's "temper tantrums".)

          Not like Paul Otellini [wikipedia.org], fired from Intel. Quote from that Wikipedia article: "Otellini was considered a departure from the norm when he was promoted to CEO because he w
        • by Aighearach (97333)

          Hiring some dipshit as a figurehead for investors...that addresses absolutely **none** of the **original problems**

          It does if the only "original problem" was that the investors wanted a dipshit figurehead, and you wanted their money.

      • "... Eric Schmidt, an experienced industry professional..."

        Eric Schmidt was the CEO of Novell [wikipedia.org], a VERY badly managed company. He was experienced in knowing little about what he was doing.

        The entire Business Insider article [businessinsider.com] is, in my opinion, obviously written by someone with little or no understanding of technology, a writer who doesn't have much depth of understanding about what really happened.
      • i think both of Google's founders were smart enough to understand they were GEEKS and not try to run the business themselves. So they went out and got Eric Schmidt, an experienced industry professional to run things for them.

        You must have lived in a bubble back then, failed to read TFA, be a serious fanboy, or some other form of being terminally clueless. It's well known both that Schmidt was hired at the behest of investors, and that Page and Brin weren't particularly happy about it. Slashdot wasn't eith

  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Sunday April 27, 2014 @09:53AM (#46852769)
    My imagination is struggling to fathom a timeline where Steve Jobs became CEO of Google. Anyone care to hazard a guess?
    • You mean a timeline where Apple adopts BeOS instead of the kludge they (were) bought (by) instead?

      • You mean a timeline where Apple adopts BeOS instead of the kludge they (were) bought (by) instead?

        Yes because bringing Gasse back - the person who almost killed Apple by insisting that they don't make lower cost Macs - would have been the definite ticket to success. Do you really think that the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, or the iPad would have happened without Jobs?

    • Sorry, still struggling with those Nazis riding dinosaurs.

  • by Richy_T (111409) on Sunday April 27, 2014 @10:06AM (#46852811) Homepage

    How the darkness spread through the heart of Google, infesting its ethos of "Don't be Evil" with its corruption and engendering a perverse desire to force Google Plus on all.

    • by yuhong (1378501)

      It is not that simple, but I do think Vic Gundotra needs to be fired for a while now.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        He is already gone... looks more like retirement than fired though.
        http://www.theverge.com/2014/4/24/5649366/google-boss-vic-gundotra-is-leaving-the-company

    • by Swampash (1131503)

      How the darkness spread through the heart of Google, infesting its ethos of "Don't be Evil" with its corruption and engendering a perverse desire to force Google Plus on all.

      October 2000, launch of Google Adwords. Although they didn't realise it at the time - many still don't - as of that moment all those bright geeks were now working for an advertising company.

  • pagerank, adsense, gmail...that's google

    everything else is a major mistake...and the world will discover it one day

    here's how I know this:

    1. 'just search' Larry Page wrote the original algorythm for search indexing...that's it...that's why we *all* used google over webcrawler or yahoo when it came out...it was *just search*

    2. Brin's relationship with current Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer. She was his girlfriend and spent millions of Google's money to justify her existence, then she hired her own PR team to get he

    • I think, though, that Google purchasing and fostering Android was a positive contribution at a later date than you set. I have strong hopes of Android outlasting Google.

      Right now Android is at this point equivalent to shitty MS-DOS in it's heyday. Like MS-DOS it has caused the buildup of a bunch of fairly openish hardware. (that's where Linux came in, in 1993-4)

    • by hibiki_r (649814)

      The first google maps almost put the entire competition out of business, mostly due to their brutal UI advantage. Big map windows, instead of tiny squares. Scrolling and zooming that made sense. It was as disruptive to a market as anything else Google has ever released.

      • by Aighearach (97333)

        On mobile, google maps used to have killer features like being able to save arbitrary rectangles for offline use.

        These days if you want advanced features like that, you have to use open source mapping apps, because nobody else has any features other than navigation... and localized ads.

        • Just want to make a correction: Google Maps is pretty awesome and I use it everyday

          their re-design of Maps is textbook bad design though! removing and hiding features under memory-intensive animation you have to click to see

        • by Eythian (552130)

          google maps used to have killer features like being able to save arbitrary rectangles for offline use.

          Open maps, press on the search box, scroll to the bottom of the list that pops up. It's sorta hidden, but it's there.

    • by Xest (935314)

      "She was his girlfriend and spent millions of Google's money to justify her existence, then she hired her own PR team to get her a new bigger job...she didn't do *shit*...her title was "main page designer"...are you laughing? do you remember google.com's main page for about a decade? yeah just a logo, search field and two buttons"

      Yet she's the first CEO at Yahoo in about a decade that actually seems to be turning the company around and raising it's share price.

      "3. Glass, Google+, Google Wave, and maps redes

  • by aberglas (991072) on Sunday April 27, 2014 @06:55PM (#46855479)

    Contrary to what all journalists think, the first major internet search indexer was not Google but AltaVista, circa 1995. It was written by just three people at DEC. The goal was not to sell advertising, nor even to make money. The goal was to show off their new Alpha servers that were so powerful that they could index the entire web (which was tiny at the time).

    In the early days the web was small, there were no spamers, and things like Meta tags could be depended on. PageRank only became useful when the web grew. It is sensible, but is exactly what academics have used to rank papers for centuries -- citation citations citations... It is also an old idea from the hypertext community.

    So the question is, how did Google succeed as a start up several years later? I would have written off their business plan as hopless. Internet search is an obvious thing to do, it has already been done, and if anyone will compete with AltaVista it will be the big boys throwing money at it. Yahoo, Microsoft etc.

    But I would obviously have been wrong. Partly the reason is that Google back then was not run by MBAs. They did not try to extract as much advertising out of the search engine as possible. Nor full of flashing banner ads. Main search results relatively untainted by advertising. But it is still weird.

    Weirder is the success of Android. There were giants like Nokia with decades of experience and bucket loads of cash. How could Apple and then a nothing company like Android blow them away?!!!

    • There was also the mere fact that Google's search engine was shockingly fast compared to the alternatives at the time and returned much more relevant content. You didn't want to use any other search engine and wait, wait, wait for dubious, and mostly garbage responses. Generally speaking, it made other search engines of the time irrelevant.
    • by rk (6314)

      I think Google succeeded because Altavista threw away their lead in search to become one of those trendy but useless "portal" sites. Google's search page had the clean simplicity of what had been Altavista prior to then. Even today, the main Google page is pretty clean, with the other stuff kept fairly unobtrusive.

      There was Webcrawler before Altavista too, but it was never very good (but better than nothing). Altavista was heads and shoulders above it when it came out.

  • If you just s/Android/Google+/g the tone of that whole piece goes from being a hagiography to a funeral dirge.

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

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