I was watching a Biography Channel special on the founders of Google Inc – Larry Page and Sergey Brin and their journey from 20 something Stanford Grad students who in their first meeting disagreed on almost everything to creating a partnership that would revolutionise the way information was searched and catalouged on the internet, making Google one of the top internet companies and making Larry and Sergey billionaires in the process.
Here are some of the facts from their journey that left a mark on me –
1) After having developed their revolutionary technology that had increased the relevance of search results and reduced the search time drastically, Larry and Sergey initially wanted to sell this technology and approached all the major internet companies at the time! Fortunately enough for them they were turned down and told that search engines were good but there’s no way to make money from them. It was then that they decided to launch Google on their own and change the way we use the internet forever. How many times does it happen with us that we go out with an exciting proposal which is turned down and we feel dejected about it? Isn’t it really a signal from the universe to try another path that will lead us to our real destination?
2) Larry and Sergey were working for a goal that was beyond money. Becoming billionaires was not their driving force. They came from academic families and their goal was to provide relevant information quickly on the Internet. Even when the company went public their prospectus said that Google ‘would be an unconventional company’ and its goal was ‘to make Google an institution that makes the world a better place’. How far can you go if all that you are chasing is money? How far can you go if the foundation of your mission is laid on a higher purpose that goes beyond financial returns? Wouldn’t money be the natural by-product eventually?
3) Their first office was a friend’s garage in Menlo Park! When Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, wrote Larry and Sergey a check of a $100k, Google Inc existed only on the check! They opened a bank account a month after that and deposited the check. Winners like Larry and Sergey don’t wait for things to be perfect before they start on their missions. They make the best of all the resources that are available to them and continue to improve as they go along. How long have you been waiting for the perfect timing to begin your mission? How long have you underestimated the power of the resources that are already available to you? How long will the world have to wait before you decide to ‘make a difference’?
4) One of the reasons when Google went public that the Stock Offering got off on a rocky start with share prices lower than they expected was that Wall Street doubted Larry and Sergey’s management skills! However, with firm belief in their ideology and their mission, stock prices of Google eventually soared and made the founders billionaires. Many Google employees also gained in the process and became millionaires with their stock options. How often have you let other people’s opinion of you become your reality? How often have you held back from pursuing your greatness because of the fear of what others may think? Winners are not afraid of being laughed at, they know how to fail their way to success.
5) In an interview in the Biography Channel Special, Larry and Sergey reveal that despite their enormous success their focus still remains on what is most important for the company – new ideas, new technology and innovation. When was the last time that you or your team came up with an idea that had the power to transform the way things work in your organization? Are you busy fire fighting? Are you listening to the voices of your employees, your customers, suppliers and the competitors?