May 25, 2024



Coincidences That Made Google Successful

Over 25 years ago, IBM’s *accidental* visit to Microsoft ultimately ended up making Bill Gates the richest person in the world [1]. Was luck the only reason attributed to his success? No way. Though without it, Bill Gates might have been working for Apple today. I have a theory; for something to be successful a large series of coincidences must sum up exactly right…at least, such was the case with companies such as Microsoft and Comprar avaliações Google. In that regard, the difference between Microsoft and Google is that Microsoft’s luck ran out while Google’s luck continued to flourish. Indeed, God worked in mysterious ways for Google; ever since its emergence in 1998, Google has repeatedly scored high on luck [2]. That is not to say that Google didn’t deserve its dramatic rise to success; on the contrary, a successful company seeks out opportunities. Taking advantage of an opportunity means recognizing that there is an opportunity to take advantage of. For the purpose of this article, I will reveal a few unpredictable events that led Google on its road to riches but were, more or less, a coincidence.

I thought Sergey was pretty obnoxious. He had really strong opinions about things, and I guess I did, too
– Larry Page

– It was out of a chance meeting that Sergey Brin met Larry Page at Stanford University in the summer of 1995. Sergey had volunteered to show Larry, a newcomer, around the campus. Both found the other obnoxious. Though it was not love at first sight, the stars had already begun smiling on them; the two gradually developed a mutual friendship based on their common interests. So it is true; successful people have to be born at the right time, in the right place, meet the right people, and go to the same university 🙂 [3]

– Interestingly enough, neither co-founders had any intention on creating a search engine, yet alone a business! Crawling the web was simply an interesting research project for Larry, and a mathematical challenge for Sergey. It was only later that the two hacked up a search application that would query the sites they had been indexing for research purposes. The first version of Google was released on Stanford University’s website, not as a separate domain.
Google Early Days

Sergey and Larry had a sloppy grip on HTML; not surprisingly, the search interface they hacked up for barely contained any HTML. Google’s homepage turned out to be remarkably simple. Today, simplicity has become the prevalent theme in all of the the company’s products. Certainly, a major attribute attracting millions of surfers to its search engine roots from the fact that even our grandparents can use it. Had Sergey or Larry known fairly decent HTML skills, the two would’ve ended up mimicking the cluttered interfaces of other web portals (i.e Excite, Lycos, Yahoo, Infoseek, etc). Their lack of HTML knowledge unexpectedly resulted in an interface so simple that its simplicity alone made Google remarkable enough.

– Due to their academic upbringing, the co-founders preferred academic life over starting and running a business. It didn’t help that, by 1997, the consensus view held that there were already tons of search-related business thriving on the web. Yahoo, Alta Vista, Excite, HotBot, Infoseek, the list went on. Considering these facts, the co-founders reasoned that the safest course would be to license their PageRank technology to another company and go back to finishing their PhD’s.

In a sense, Google happened unexpectedly. The PageRank algorithm that put the relevancy in Google search was the child of academic curiosity. Later on when Larry and Sergey realized its potential, they improvised their search algorithm so that it may be sold to existing companies like Yahoo, and Altavista. Well known venture capitalist, Vinod Khosla, came very close to persuading Excite to buy out Google’s technology. Over the course of 18 months, the co-founders gave demonstrations of PageRank to nearly every search company in the Silicon Valley. Had Excite or any of the other companies shown interest in the PageRank, neither co-founders would’ve felt it necessary to leave their PhD’s behind to start Google.

We probably would have licensed it if someone gave us the money…but they were not interested in search…We said to ourselves, ‘We don’t care, we’ll work on it some more. Maybe it’ll turn into a company, or maybe it’ll just be great research”
– Larry Page recalls

Rejection by other search portals forced them to form their own company. Two programming geeks with PhD’s on hold probably never seriously considered starting a company. What started out as a research project coincidentally turned into a multi-billion dollar business.

– Around this time, Microsoft was occupied with a PR nightmare involving anti-trust lawsuits filed against the company as a result of its monopolization of Internet Explorer during the browser wars [4]. Partly due to this reason, the software giant, instead, chose to keep its focus on the desktop while Google passively stretched its legs over the web. Google was not a giant then; neither was it generating any revenues. To their fortune, Google did not have to face Microsoft until very late.

– Unlike other companies at the time, Google chose not to receive excessive investments from venture capitalists. As a result, at the height of the unforeseeable dot-com burst, while other startups were packing their bags, Google continued to flourish. At the peek of the dot-com boom, while other companies were losing market share, Google’s growth remained unaffected. In fact, the dot-com burst forced the best developers to leave other bankrupt companies to join Google. Tens of thousands of young technology workers became unemployed overnight and no one was hiring. No one, that is, save Google. Had it not been for the dot-com burst, Google would’ve found it quite difficult to hire many key engineers it needed early on.