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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Impressive Story About Google, Founders & Investors

The rise of Google is a tale often told as a Silicon Valley classic. Excerpts from John Heilemann's brilliant writeup. Two precocious Stanford grad-student nerds swept up in the fever of the Internet boom invent technology that profoundly changes the experience of the Web; they drop out and start a company (in a garage) that achieves iconic status; they stage a historic public offering, achieving vast wealth and fame. But beneath these familiar surface details, the Google story is more nuanced and compelling. It’s a story about the clash between youth and experience, more a messy ensemble drama than a simple buddy flick—one whose main characters have persistently deviated from any script, resulting in unexpected twists and turns that haven’t come to light until now.
Michael Moritz, the other venture capitalist behind Google,says,"Most people think that IPOs are the climax of a company’s story, but in fact they’re just the first chapter." He went on to say that a company’s genetic code gets set in its first eighteen months. "After that," he says, "companies are impossible to change; their cultures are hardwired in. If the DNA is right, you’re golden. If not, you’re screwed." Having repeatedly ignored the prevailing wisdom in Silicon Valley—inventing a search engine when everyone knew search was dead; building a business on Internet advertising when everyone knew it was impossible; antagonizing two revered VCs whose rings they should have been kissing—the boys have undoubtedly learned that conventional wisdom often isn’t wisdom at all. But salutary as that lesson is, there’s also a danger to it. As Excite founder Kraus puts it, "The risk is, they’ll think the hallmark of a good idea is that everyone says it’s dumb." Similarly, it would be easy for the boys to conclude that dissing Wall Street carries no penalty. In the IPO, they told investment bankers and investors to go pound sand—and they wound up happy billionaires. Today their message to shareholders remains: Trust us, or put your money elsewhere.
We've followed Google for years, and have heard most of the stories about its evolution –This is the best thus far.

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