It’s been a while since we’ve seen the original Google boys in a room together talking about the company, so here’s a fireside chat they did with VC Vinod Khosla.
They spend some time talking about when Google almost got acquired. Here’s a snippet from Sergey Brin (via the transcript):
Well, we had developed this technology we called PageRank – sadly, not BrinRank. But anyway, it probably would’ve sold better that way. But we had developed this technology that we found was useful for search. By itself, it wasn’t really a complete search engine. What we had just searched titles of webpages and ranked them quite well. But we showed it to a bunch of the existing search companies back then. Some of you might remember them – Infoseek, Excite, Lycos. And probably, the greatest interest came from Excite, and actually came from you, Vinod. You were the investor in Excite. We spent a while talking to them, and talking to you, Vinod. You remember that. In the end, I don’t think the management team there was quite as excited about it – no pun intended. But I remember, there were four of us at the time – four grad students at Stanford. I remember, we fired off this note to Vinod. It was just a little e-mail that said, “We really don’t want to sell, but for $1.6 million, you got a deal.” And a few minutes later, we got a reply that said, “That’s a lot of dough, but ok we’ll do it.” That’s characteristic Vinod there. So then, ten minutes later, Scott – one of the four of us – comes running in, laughing. Huge grin on his face. He had faked the reply and back then, the ethics around faking emails weren’t quite the same. Anyway, so he had that big joke. The deal obviously never came to fruition, and we went our own way to build search.
Eventually the discussion turns to where Google is headed, the limitations set by governments, etc.
You can find the full transcript here if you don’t want to sit through the whole thing.
Image via YouTube