What Happened To Google's Early Employees?

Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page or Sergey Brin and whilst it seems incredible now, at the time Google only another technology company with just another revolutionary product. The world is different now - many times over - and Business Insider recently published an article taking a look at the company's first twenty one employees. If we include Larry and Sergey, nine of these twenty one still work for the company and this in itself is quite the achievement. As we know, Google have gone from strength to strength and in this relatively short period of time, now when we wish to search the Internet, many of us will simply state that we wish to "Google something." When we think back to the business landscape in 1998 and 1999, so many things have changed. Many of the things we take for granted today didn't exist in their current state, or indeed far from it. For example, houses and businesses didn't have broadband and Apple hadn't invented legal downloadable music, instead we relied on peer to peer services such as Kazaa and Napster yarrr (hey it's "talk like a pirate day"). Hard drive space was still very expensive. Many of us listened to music on CDs or maybe cassette tapes (if you're too young to remember cassette tapes, Google it). The Apple iMac wasn't released until August 1998 and if you wanted a Microsoft powered portable device, it was usually a clamshell device running Windows CE 2.0. We feared the return of flared trousers, the Y2K bug and a worldwide shortage of coffee beans.

Getting back to Google, a number of these early employees have become entrepreneurs. Some have retired and others are angel investors, that is an investor providing financial backing for small startups or entrepreneurs. Some appear to be all three rolled into one. And some, like Marissa Mayer, are famous in their own right. Marissa joined Google as a software engineer where she worked from June 1999 until July 2012, moving on to become the Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo after resigning from her position of Vice President of Local, Maps & Location Services. Steve Schimmel started with Google in 1999 and worked on their business development side of things, leaving in 2004. Steve is somewhere between retirement and angel investment. Another former employee now dabbling with angel investment is Heather Cairns, the human resources manager responsible for hiring Google's first two hundred employees.

Of those that remain, many occupy senior positions in the business including Susan Wojcicki, now the Senior Vice President of YouTube. Susan joined Google in April 1999 but before then, she and her husband rented out their garage and several rooms to the fledgling Google company. Omid Kordestani is now a senior adviser to both Larry Page and Sergey Brin and also the interim chief business officer after Nikesh Arora left the company in July 2014. Salar Kamangar joined Google in 1999 and is now the Senior Vice President of products, where he took over from Susan Wojcicki.

How many of our readers have been with the same business since 1998? Okay, sure; some of you won't have been working in 1998 (that doesn't make me feel very good, but anyway. And it looks like taking the risk and joining what was a small and relatively insignificant technology start up business was definitely worth the risk. Google survived the 2000 collapse in the technology markets and since then, has broadened its horizons in ways we never envisaged. Long may it continue.

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.
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