Larry Page Turns a New Page 🔍

by 5 Dec, 2019

Larry Page Turns a New Page

Over two decades ago, two Stanford PhD students changed the history of the world by programming an algorithm for online search. Those students were Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and despite having today reaped a combined $114 billion from that algorithm, neither was born a shark in the business world. The quiet, passionate computer scientists unbelievably offered their algorithm to AltaVista (Yahoo) for just $1 million. Unbelievably still, AltaVista passed it up! Smile through the pain, Yahoo investors! 

Google’s founding fathers began their corporate lives by resolutely opposing ads on their site. Concerned for user experience, Page was installed as boss in 1998 when Google was officially created. He coined the mantra, “don’t be evil!”

At the time, “don’t be evil” was the be-all-end-all motto of the company, and the only constant Page and Brin could cling onto during a chaotic stock market dot.com boom. Yahoo came knocking again with a buyout bid four thousand times bigger than what they were offered six years earlier, but Page was brave. He sacrificed short-term gain for long-term devotion to his principles and vision, before fortune favored him two years later in a blockbuster stock market debut!

Since 2004, investors in the search engine have seen Larry Page step in and out of the Alphabet CEO role. Now, he appears to have stepped out of it for the final time. The bigger Big Tech became, the tougher it was for a quiet, passionate computer scientist to keep the “don’t be evil” mantra going. Rumour has it that he and Sergey hated being big-time executives, so senior insider Sundar Pichai is taking over instead. 

Shares are up on the news, but this is the end of an era. Operating a business that’s today accused of evil, they were the forces for good. Now, an existential threat to Alphabet remains for investors in terms of how the US government might crack down on its anti-competitive behavior. That’s not Page’s problem anymore. He’s starting a new chapter!

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