Note: This is part five of a multipart series on getting permission and why now is the best time to start a business (especially if you’re still in college). You can start from the beginning here.
There was a time when search was served along with information. Companies like AOL and Yahoo provided the results people were looking for, but they were more into displaying news and weather than actually giving people the results they needed. Enter Larry Page and Sergey . These two college kids saw the problem with search: people don’t want to wait for busy webpages to load, all they want is search results. Brin and Page delivered. Google took away the news pages and made search faster and more effective. They focused entirely on what they could change.
These two entrepreneurs did it right: I’m sure both of them had hundreds of hobbies they could have worked on, maybe Brin plays guitar and had to practice it every day, or maybe Larry Page is an excellent golfer. Either of these initiators could have worked on thei hobbies instead of trying to change the world, and we would still be stuck with lackluster search and thus a small Internet. By niching down their interests, finding a mutual problem and then committing to find a solution to it, the founders of Google took charge. Sure, it was risky at first. When they first looked for funding, they were passed over by hundreds of investors. In retrospect, all of those people were passing up the chance at hundreds of billions of dollars, but that’s the thing about taking chances: the good ideas only look measurably good in retrospect. What if Google’s founders never went out and did what had to be done?
Sergey Brin and Larry page both went to Stanford, they could have easily taken the safe route, got a good job working at Yahoo or IBM, and made a livable wage, but they didn’t do that. These two people are entrepreneurs, and that means being ballsier than everyone else, and pushing forward when people tell you it will never work.
Perhaps the greatest thing about Google is that they have not lost their entrepreneurial
drive. In Poke The Box, Seth Godin writes about the five year hump: most companies stop innovating after five years, and then slowly fade away or start playing it safe. Not so with Google. Google continues to push further and further forward, coming up with so many new things: free email that was ten times better than Hotmail, a free rival version of Microsoft Office, and even a rival social network. Sure, they have had their share of failures along the way, Google Wave for instance, but each failure taught them something.
Google is helping bring the dreams of futurologists and science fiction writers to reality. Right now the company is working with GM on automatic driving cars; a few years back they laid miles of fiber optic cable all around the US, and they continue to push further. This is the kind of company you need to start. Have a dream and go for it: if you don’t have a dream, go online and read about future predictions, and then dedicate yourself to making one come true, the crazier the better. Even if your try doesn’t work, the important thing is that you are getting out of the constant loop of talking about your ideas, and getting into the habit of taking action. You are leaving your world of infinite options, and actually working on something that might change your life for the better. Every single day is a chance to be like Sergey and Larry. Each time you wake up and check your email or play Eve instead of changing the world is a day wasted. Write a book, put your ideas down on paper. Just start something. Imagine if instead of starting Google, Brin and Page just got drunk and fought each other in StarCraft. It’s time to stop consuming and start creating.
Why can’t you be more like Google???