Some Google megacorp faceless bureaucracy combat drones (that was their initial approach) were trying to force me to give up a domain name, and implying they would take legal action and "prevail". I couldn't afford a lawyer, and I had better things to do with my time, but...
I wasn't yet using the domain name, and probably would've let it expire if they'd never contacted me, but their heavy-handedness raised a moral concern. At the time, Google was considered good, and clearly it was very important to humanity at the time that Google be good and stay good.
The whole "don't be evil" seemed to come from recognizing that Google would likely be very powerful (this was pretty clear earlier, as soon as you used their prototype, and realized it was not only better than everything else, but that they were more competent than almost all other dotcommers). They were declaring upfront that they took the responsibility seriously, and wouldn't abuse their position. And there was some early evidence that they believed in that (such as in objectivity of rankings, and being very clear about what was sponsored messages and not).
The domain name in question had been intended for a social commentary parody, of some social media manipulation behavior that had just started to emerge on a lesser Google property. I told the threatening lawyer-types that. I also pointed out that the domain name obviously would never be mistaken for a Google brand, and that I'm pretty sure that the bit of intentional similarity to one of their brands would be considered protected use in the US.
When they still wouldn't back off -- and since I couldn't afford a lawyer to argue the points, but I was concerned -- I looked for the founders' old email addresses, and used Brin's (IIRC) to initiate a domain name transfer to him. Then I told the lawyer-types (and a PR contact there) something like, if they wanted the domain name, they'd have to talk to him about it, and maybe have a "don't be evil" discussion. IIRC, they said they'd wait for the domain to expire.
A large office, good pay, and very little work.
Frequent expense-account trips to exotic lands would be a plus.-->
Another hidden comment on that page of historical interest:
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I have recently acquired an interest in data mining and started up a meeting group.<P>-->
EDIT: While looking for more information on the data mining link, stumbled onto a 2015 HN thread in which the same two hidden comments were cited by two different users.
> Research on the Web seems to be fashionable these days and I guess I'm no exception. Recently I have been working on the Google search engine with Larry Page.
And they say, always proofread your resumes! :-)
> to extrapolate how much the you will like some other movies
I'm bloo if I was green I would die
Most of my computer friends and I were decent programmers by the time we entered college in the early 90's.
This was 10 years ago but I doubt it’s changed significantly. I think there’s also lots of people who don’t enroll because they think prior knowledge is required, which is a hard barrier to overcome.
Ironically, my second “better” Seattle-area high school had given up on programming as something to teach, I’m sure they’ve changed their tune now :).
Like most educational institutions they used June fiscal years, so they would buy technology near the end of the fiscal year with leftover money. Those computers would sit unopened in their boxes until September, unless you offered to take it home for the summer. I'd guess that I had a brand-new IBM PC (that cost 25-30% of our family income) at least half of the summers. You were kind of doing the school a favor - they didn't need to worry about storing it somewhere and you did the work to set it up and make sure it worked. And if a kid wanted to learn over summer vacation, they certainly wanted to help facilitate if they could.
Despite all that, I can remember going to the state programming contests in Indianapolis in 5th, 6th, 7th grades and being blown away by how much better than me all the other kids were.
The students who had programming experience from other than just their classes had a big advantage for systems work, compared to other students.
Though there were also a lot of students who had only undergrad programming experience, and had a lot more learning to do. Which is perfectly fine, so long as they know they have something to learn, and want to keep improving.
(The only annoying ones are those who treat professional and collaborative work like they're only trying to pass a class -- including the analog of only trying to get a homework assignment past the TA -- and think this is what everyone does. I suspect the ones I've seen would pass a leetcode CS101 interview just fine, because it's pretty similar metrics as getting into and passing CS classes.)
In the rest (of the western world), it’s just always meh. They’re optimizing for different things.
The US as a country is also just bigger, so it will have more successes in absolute terms than other smaller countries. The same thing is happening in China now and India will soon follow.
You do a simple k-means calculation of your friends or closest matches (if you have clustering or svm, I guess he didn't have) and then get predictions for free. Something like the Netflix recommender system, just very primitive.
...but this is kind of a Google thing. Page was the same (and somehow still didn't know how to code Backrub despite having a BSc and MSc in comp sci and the link idea came from Robin Li...made quite a career out of claiming the genius of other people as your own).
(Not saying this matches my personal worldview, but just analyzing the commentary)
This is true of all groups, though, so doesn't give us any information.
I mean, he still needed to get a job
(1). Larry not knowing how to code Backrub (sounds like you don't just mean that at first you don't know how to code something that has never been done before).
(2) Larry claiming other's ideas as his, particularly "the link idea".
Scott Hassan (a Stanford research assistant) coded Backrub. Page took a run at it but it didn't work. And it had actually been done several times before (again, it just sounds like you have no idea you are just assuming these guys were geniuses...several mining applications already existed, the largest came from DEC).
What were the "several times" backrub had been implemented before?
A "mining application" is a very general concept, and does not imply a specific algorithm.
I was not assuming but requesting information; and not "again" but once.
FWIW I'm intrigued by the school of thought that Google's success was largely due to just giving people what they want. Instead of crowded portals, just search, fast search, and search that's relevant. When I tested it at the time, I found competing search pretty similar for relevance. But google was faster.
Of course, adwords has similarities (and copied from overture/goto), but don't masquerade as search results (though becoming less distinguishable over time...).
It is obvious that you need to also be lucky, but you need to be more than lucky to sustain a business for decades. Adding here the Microsoft case, where Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer bought the DOS from Tim Paterson but they built a sustainable business since the 70s while hundreds of competitors died. So, it was not just one hit.
Which is why they were successful. When they first had to monetize Google, they didn't want to fill it with the large intrusive banner ads popular at the time. They put small unobtrusive text ads instead, since they didn't want to suffer the experience.
I think it is safe to say that if they were what you call a "business genius", Google would have been filled to the brim with flashy ads, netting them tens of thousands of dollars early on, and leaving them as company worth thousands.
It's a good thing they were steered by higher motives than business sense.