Larry Page is an internationally recognized entrepreneur. He is best known as the co-founder and former CEO of Google and Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company.
Page co-founded Google with Sergey Brin using funds from friends, family, and faculty members from Stanford University.
Creating Google enabled Page to amass massive amounts of wealth.
As of January 2023, he was the 11th richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $75.8 billion.
The Life Story of Lawrence Edward Page
Larry Page’s interest in technology and business developed from a very young age, partly due to his upbringing environment and his parents’ influence.
Page knew he would one day create a computer company.
This article will connect the dots in Larry Page’s story, from where he was born to how he met Sergey Brin to how they started and grew Google to what this company is today.
Childhood and Early Life
Lawrence Edward Page, popularly called Larry Page, came to the world on March 26, 1973, in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. He was the middle child and had two other siblings, Carl Victor Jr. (older brother) and Beverly (younger sister).
Page’s parents, Carl Victor Page and Gloria Page, were computer and technology experts.
His father was a computer professor and pioneer in artificial intelligence at Michigan State University, and his mother was a computer programming lecturer at Lyman Brigs College.
Inspiration and Influences
Being raised by two computer experts moved Page to become highly interested in technology.
He started reading computer magazines and tinkering with tech gadgets brought home by his parents.
Page became the first kid in his school to submit an assignment typed using a word processor.
Page’s parents also encouraged creativity and invention in the household, which motivated him to try new things. He developed a passion for inventing things and aspired to open a computer company.
Larry Page began his education at Montessori Radmoor School (then called Okemos Montessori School) in Okemos, Michigan.
He then studied at East Lansing High School, where he graduated in 1991.
Page also briefly attended Interlochen Center for the Arts at Interlochen, Michigan. He learned to play the flute and saxophone in this school.
After graduation, Page pursued his major in computer engineering at the University of Michigan and graduated in 1995. He later took his master’s in computer science at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Page met Sergey Brin, another computer science graduate student, at this university.
Page and Brin crossed paths when Page was working on his research project (nicknamed BackRub).
Page undertook this project to analyze how different websites on the World Wide Web link to each other.
His dissertation goal was to come up with a method for determining the number of web pages linking to any one page.
Most search engine facilities of the time could only produce search results based on the frequency of appearance of a search keyword.
This meant that some search results, despite containing the search word, were irrelevant to the user’s query. Page then devised a new page ranking mechanism to ensure users get relevant search results for their queries.
He called on his colleague, Sergey Brin (a data mining expert), to help him write his dissertation paper.
“If we were motivated by money, we would have sold the company a long time ago and ended up on a beach.” – Larry Page
Brin and Page wrote the project dissertation papers Dynamic Data Mining: A New Architecture for Data with High Dimensionality and The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine.
They also created a search engine prototype, which they named BackRub. Word spread within Stanford University and Palo Alto that the two had designed a search engine better than its pioneers.
Page and Brin registered the google.com domain name in 1997 and incorporated the entity as a privately held company in 1998. They derived the term “Google” from the word “googol,” which means a large number that starts with one, followed by 100 zeros.
Page and Brin then set up their office at a friend’s garage in Menlo Park, California. They took a sabbatical from their Ph.D. to focus on building Google.
Fact: The Idea of Starting Google Came to Larry Page as a Dream.
Larry Page became CEO of the newly established Google, while Brin served as president.
The co-founders made it Google’s mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Page and Brin started Google in 1998 using $1 million collected from family, well-wishers, and creative bootstrapping strategies.
In 1999, the company received $25 million from venture capitalists, and Google had grown to process 500,000 search queries per day.
Working at Google
Page served as Google’s CEO until 2001, when he stepped down and became president of products. Eric Schmidt replaced him as CEO.
Even though neither Page nor Brin was CEO of Google, they were both actively involved in running the company. By 2004, Google was processing 200 million queries per day.
Page and Brin took Google public in 2004 and raised $1.67 billion from the company’s initial public offering (IPO). This IPO made many Google employees instant millionaires.
As for Page and Brin, they became multi-billionaires overnight. Page’s net worth soared to approximately $3.8 billion from the IPO.
“Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.” – Larry Page
Page and his two sidekick executives, Brin and Schmidt, reduced their annual salaries to $1 per year without bonuses. Their personal wealth tied directly to Google’s performance.
By 2006, Google had more than 10,000 employees and earned approximately $10 billion in annual revenues.
Page and Brin were among the wealthiest individuals in the world, thanks to the rise in Google’s market cap value. Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion and DoubleClick for $3.1 billion.
Larry Page once again took up the helm of CEO of Google in 2011, following the stepping down of Eric Schmidt. His mission as CEO was to make Google a big corporation with the heart, passion, and soul of a startup.
He led Google to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion to accelerate innovation and choice in mobile computing. Under Page’s leadership, Google launched multiple projects and acquisitions, such as Google Glass and the Google Brain Project.
“If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning.”- Larry Page
Becoming CEO of Alphabet
In 2015, Google restructured its assets and interests into a holding company named Alphabet Inc. Larry Page stepped down as CEO of Google to become CEO of Alphabet Inc.
Eric Schmidt became executive chairman of Alphabet, while Brin took up the role of president of Alphabet.
The three executives appointed Sundar Pichai as CEO of Google, which was now the primary subsidiary of Alphabet.
Page and Brin stepped down from their respective roles at Alphabet in 2019. Sundar Pichai became CEO of both Alphabet and Google.
Page’s management style was geared towards creating a good work environment at Google and Alphabet. He considered employees as family and empowered them to perform their jobs well.
Page was also against bureaucracy and job hierarchy. He encouraged Google leaders and executives to stay connected with their teams and be involved in job functions that many may consider below an executive’s payroll, for example, the hiring process.
Page does not conform to traditional management. He believes in empowering employees to be creative and innovative.
Every employee at Google gets 20% time off to work on their personal projects. The time off led to inventions such as AdSense, Google News, and Gmail.
Fact: Larry Page Served As Google’s CEO Twice.
Life Outside Google
Besides Google, Page is also an investor and philanthropist. He donated $20 million to a research program on vocal cord nerve function and $15 million to combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Page is also a lead investor and co-founder in Zee Aero, later renamed Kitty Hark Corporation.
This company partnered with Boeing in 2019 and was renamed Wisk Aero. Wisk Aero focuses on developing self-flying electric aircraft. Page is also an investor in Tesla Motors and Opener.
“You need to get one thing done well, or else you don’t have permission to do anything else.” – Larry Page
Page married Lucinda Southworth in 2007 on Necker Island, owned by Richard Branson. The couple has two children, although their names are unknown.
Page prefers to keep his personal life out of the spotlight. He only appears in the media when it comes to matters regarding Google, Alphabet, or his other ventures and business interests.
4 Lessons Learned From Larry Page
In addition to the many lessons Latry Page teaches, I have chosen four to include and comment on below.
1. Learn From Others’ Mistakes
Larry Page advises learning from other people’s mistakes.
The benefit of learning from others’ mistakes is that you don’t have to make the same ones yourself.
Learning from other people’s experiences can save time and headaches, help you understand a problem, and know how to handle it beforehand.
Another benefit is that you gain experience by studying each case and taking certain steps to avoid making the same mistake.
Fact: The Dorm Room of Larry Page Became a Machine Lab.
2. Listen to Everyone
Another point Larry makes is to listen to everyone. This is great advice, as you can learn a lot from people when you’re open-minded and listen to them.
This is especially true when listening to those on the front lines.
In a manufacturing plant, for example, you need to listen to your managers and employees working in the warehouse and production lines.
It is wise to listen to these people in your organization as they spend countless hours on their job and know more about what’s happening than high-level managers.
Listening to everyone doesn’t mean you should act on what every person has to say.
Some ideas may not be worth your time, but you can act upon those that make sense to you.
Fact: Larry Page’s Best Man Was Richard Branson.
3. Respect Others
According to Larry Page, it is essential to respect others, and they will return the favor by being an asset to the company.
Running and managing a business or department can be stressful, hectic, and fast-paced.
You want to avoid losing your temper and treating others badly during stressful situations.
Respect for coworkers, managers, and anyone you interact with is a very important character trait.
The more you respect others, the more they will respect you back. It doesn’t matter whether you like them or not.
If they don’t respect you, they will be against you or, at the very least, won’t be helpful. But, on the other hand, sometimes you need them in a difficult situation, so it’s good to plan for the unseen.
“Small groups of people can have a really huge impact.” – Larry Page
4. Strengthen Your Strengths
A strong point Larry Page makes is that you can multiply your business growth by focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses.
Focusing on improving your weakness is okay, but you shouldn’t set yourself up for an uphill battle by focusing all your effort on it.
Let’s look at it this way.
If you put most of your effort into areas where you already excel, how much more productive and successful will you be?
Focusing on your strengths will get better results than focusing on your weaknesses.
Take advantage of outsourcing the work required in your weak areas and concentrate on improving your strong points.
Larry Page Timeline
Page is born in East Lansing, Michigan, United States.
Page begins school at Montessori Radmoor in Okemos, Michigan.
Page transfers to East Lansing High School.
Page graduates from East Lansing High School.
Page graduates with a degree in computer engineering from State Michigan University and enrolls at Stanford University for his master’s in computer science.
Page and Brin register the domain google.com.
Page and Brin incorporate Google as a privately held company. Page becomes CEO of Google.
Page steps down as Google’s CEO and hands the reins to Eric Schmidt.
Page and Brin take Google public.
Page becomes Google’s CEO for the second time.
Page becomes CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
Page steps down as CEO of Alphabet but retains board membership and controlling shares in the company
Frequently Asked Questions
The information in this post answers many of the questions about Larry Page. This section provides a summary and any additional information.
1. Why did Larry Page step down as CEO of Alphabet?
Page and Brin felt it best to step down from their respective roles in Alphabet to enable the company to attain a simpler management structure.
The two believe there is a better way to run Alphabet, and it no longer needs two CEOs and a president.
Sundar Pichai became the new CEO of both Alphabet and Google as Brin and Page assumed the role of proud parents or mentors who give advice whenever necessary.
2. How did Larry Page amass his wealth?
Most of Page’s wealth came from his ownership stake in Google, now a subsidiary of Alphabet.
3. What percentage of shares does Larry Page own in Alphabet?
Together, Page and Brin own 85.9% of Class B shares, which gives them 51.4% of the company’s voting power.
4. Between Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg, who is richer?
According to Forbes’s real-time billionaire list, Larry Page is wealthier than Mark Zuckerberg (as of January 2023).
Page ranks 11th on the Forbes list with an estimated net worth of $76.8 billion. Zuckerberg ranks 28th with a net worth of $47.2 billion.
5. How did Larry Page get the idea for Google?
Page got the idea of creating a search engine when doing his research project to determine how websites on the World Wide Web link to each other.
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commons.wikimedia.org – Larry Page