Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Two guys walking

Another bit of Google video vintage 1999. The space shown here was pretty much the entirety of the company excluding the Annex, the lobby, and the micro-kitchen. Engineering occupied the glass offices with windows and HR, Finance, and Facilities owned the middle space.

The first cameo is by Salar Kamangar (in the red shirt), who read in the student newspaper that Google (then known primarily as a Stanford project) was going to be on campus recruiting. He sought out Sergey Brin, who was staffing a table in the middle of Stanford's White Plaza, trying unsuccessfully to attract engineers. He convinced Sergey over the next couple of weeks to put him on staff as "a helper," even though his background was in biology, not computer science.

His first job helping the founders was to write a business plan for Google to take out to venture capital firms to get them to invest. It went over pretty well with Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital, who invested a total of $25 million in the company. Many of Salar's other endeavors since then have met with equal success. He's now the guy in charge of YouTube.

The second appearance is by Larry Page (in the blue shirt). He was Google's CEO at the time and recently took on that role again. I wasn't surprised by his moving back into the top slot, because he always had strong opinions about how the company should be run. The board convinced him it would be a good idea to have someone fronting the company that Wall Street could relate to as "an adult" and Eric Schmidt was one he was comfortable with. I think Eric did a good job in that role and he helped me on more than one occasion when I disagreed with the founders, but Larry built Google with Sergey and I'd put money down that he will run it til the day he dies.

(begin mandatory product placement)
In my book, I talk about one of the challenges Larry faced as CEO before Eric came on board and why it created some tensions within the company. I think he learned a lot from that experience and from watching Eric over the years. I don't doubt he'll be a kinder, gentler CEO as a result.
(/mandatory product placement)


Anonymous said...

Does your book will have some paragraph about Martin Farach-Colton time on Google?

In spite of being a BRILLIANT theory guy and world class researcher, a googler told me that when he as a googler, he generated some tension among team members.

Doug said...

No, the book doesn't talk about Martin. If he generated tension, he was hardly alone. There were a lot of people with strongly held beliefs and a willingness to express them.