Google's Organizational Culture
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Case Code : HROB041
Case Length : 11 Pages
Period : 1996 - 2004
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Google Inc.
Industry : IT
Countries : USA
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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.
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'So Far So Good' Contd...
Larry used his dormitory room as a data center, while Sergey used his room to
set up a business office. By now, they knew that their search technology was
superior to any other technology available. They started looking actively for
potential partners interested in licensing their search engine technology.
Larry and Sergey contacted many people including friends and family. One of the
people they got in touch with was David Filo (Filo), the founder of Yahoo, a
leading portal2. Filo complimented them
for the 'solid technology' they had built, but did not enter into any agreement
with them. Instead, he encouraged them to start their own company.
The owners of many other portals also refused to invest in their technology.
The CEO of one such portal told them, "As long as we are 80% as good as our
competitors that is good enough. Our users do not really care about search."3
During the late 1990s, 'dotcom fever' was at its peak in the US, and almost
everyone was opening a dotcom company. Though Larry and Sergey were not very
keen on opening their own company, they decided to set one up, since they
were unable to attract any partners.
However, they first had to clear off the debts they had accumulated
to buy the memory disks and to move out of their 'dorm office'. The
duo put their PhD plans on hold, and began looking for a prospective
investor in their business.
Help came in the form of a faculty member from Stanford University
who introduced them to Andy Bechtolsheim (Andy), one of the
co-founders of Sun Microsystems. Andy saw their presentation and was
very impressed. He knew that it had a lot of potential and handed
over a check of $100,000 in favor of Google Inc.4,
an entity that did not yet exist.
Since Larry and Sergey could not deposit the check in their accounts, they
decided to set up a corporation named Google Inc.
After collecting another $1 million from their families, friends and
acquaintances, Larry and Sergey opened office on September 7, 1998. The office
was located in the garage of a friend's house in Menlo Park, California. The
name Google, though chosen by accident, indicated the company's mission to sort
out and organize the immense data available on the web. The website www.google.com became operational and the duo recruited their first employee
fellow Stanford student Craig Silverstein (Silverstein), who later became
Google's Technical Director.