Larry Page, CEO & Co-Founder of Google

Larry Page, born in 1973, CEO and co-founder of Google, is the child of two computer science professors at Michigan State University. He grew up in home with computers, gadgets and tech magazines everywhere; a perfect place to grow a creative and inventive mind.

“I think I was really lucky to have the environment I did when I was growing up…My dad was a professor, he happened to be a professor of computer science, and we had computers lying around the house from a really early age. I think I was the first kid in my elementary school to turn in a word-processed document. I just enjoyed using the stuff,” Page said in an interview with The Academy of Achievement.

As a child, Page read the biography of Nikola Tesla, a Serbian immigrant who invented the way most of the world’s electricity is invented today.

From the reading Tesla’s biography, he learned to understand that it wasn’t enough to envision an innovative and technological future, those ideas weren’t enough. They needed to be commercialized. He realized he would need to start a successful company.

Google started on Sep. 4, 1998, two years after Page’s idea of ranking web pages by their incoming links came to him in a dream. He became CEO of the company at the young age of 25.

The idea of downloading the World Wide Web and examining links between pages made him see information in a new way. He called the algorithm used for the searching through the pages as PageRank.

By 2001, Google had over a million users, a vast number of investors and over 400 employees.

He named his best friend Sergey Brin as co-founder. The two met at Stanford while Page was pursuing his degree in computer science. Page also has a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

Unlike Apple and Facebook, whose co-founders are often forgotten, Brin was different. His personality brought to the company the outgoingness that Page lacked. He excelled at strategy, branding and forming relationships with Google and other companies.

As the company began to grow more successful, two high-profile investors agreed to invest a total of $25 million but the investors wanted Page to step down as CEO and hire adult supervision. Page needed the money and agreed to the terms.

Several months later after the deal could not be backed away from, Page had a change of heart and said, “We actually think we can run the company between the two of us.”

Page was known for wanting to always be control of his environment. After being advised by several big investors, Page agreed to meet with other big tech CEO’s.
That meeting convinced Page that Google could use a CEO.

Eventually their search for candidates lead them to Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Novell, an American multinational software and services company. After hiring Schmidt, the company grew even more into a global business. He hired a team of executives, built a sales force and took Google Public.

Google launched the Gmail service in 2004 and acquired web-video hosting giant Youtube in 2006.

In 2005, one of Page’s visions was to have handheld computers that were able to access Google available to every person on the planet. Later that year, Page directed Google corporate development to start work on Android.

Android was set up as a separate entity that even other Google employees were not aware of. Android had its own building that members of Google could not enter with their ID cards.

At first it was seen by some as a knock-off of Apple’s iPhone device and in the second quarter of 2009, Android phones only made up 1.8% of phone sales. The following year it would hold 17.2% of the market share and eventually, Android would go over Apple as the world’s most popular operating system.

Larry Page would retake his position of CEO in January of 2011 after Schmidt stepped down and knew that Page was ready for the job.

An executive was making a pitch for a new product that would help users find offline stores to do their shopping. Page stood up during the pitch and said, “No. We don’t do this.”

“We build products that leverage technology to solve huge problems for hundreds of millions of people. …Look at Android. Look at Gmail. Look at Google Maps. Look at Google Search. That’s what we do. We build products you can’t live without.”

Google would later launch their own laptop, the Chromebook, a wearable computer that users could wear like glasses called Google Glass and launched their own social media network to compete with Facebook called Google+.

Larry Page runs what could be considered the most influential company in the digital era. In 2012, Google began installing fiber-optic cables in Kansas city, providing the townsfolk with free Internet connection that is 100 times faster than broadband. In 2014, his family foundation gave $15 million to help the fight against Ebola. He believes strongly in clean energy and his network of homes use fuel cells, geothermal energy and rainwater capture.


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