- Larry Page is an American entrepreneur and computer scientist born in 1973.
- He is most famous for co-founding Google.
- He also co-invented PageRank, a search algorithm that gives Google its power.
Larry Page, One of Google’s Co-founders, has made quite a remarkable living as a business magnate, a computer scientist, and an internet entrepreneur. But who is he, exactly? What did he accomplish? What is he known best for? Not to mention, what does his personal life look like? We’ll delve into all these more in the sections below. But first, let’s first explain who Larry Page is.
Who Is Larry Page?
Larry is the co-founder of Google alongside fellow business magnate, entrepreneur, and computer scientist Sergey Brin. They have served the company in different capacities, earning themselves a tremendous amount of wealth. Beyond his work with Google, Page has also spent time in Alphabet, Inc. — the multinational tech conglomerate and Google’s parent company.
- Full Name
- Lawrence Edward Page
- March 26, 1973
- Net Worth
- $111 billion (October 2022)
- “Businessperson of the Year,” Fortune “Most Popular Chief Executive,” Forbes #6, Forbes World’s Billionaires List
- Place of Birth
- Lansing, Michigan
- Fields of Expertise
- Computer science, business, entrepreneurship
- Google, Alphabet
- Co-founding Google; revolutionizing the search engine; heading Alphabet
Unlike Elon Musk or the late Steve Jobs, Larry Page is a computer scientist. So, he wasn’t just the company’s face while others worked behind the scenes developing Google’s products. No, Page and his friend Sergey Brin were both the brains and the brawn. This know-how has played a direct part in Page’s other ventures.
Larry Page: Early Life
Before heading Google (and later Alphabet), Larry Page was an ordinary guy from Lansing, Michigan. Born in the spring of 1973, Page is the son of Gloria Page and Carl Victor Page Sr. Remarkably, his parents were computer savvy. Gloria was a computer programming instructor at the Michigan State University’s Lyman Briggs College, while Carl was a professor of computer science. With this background, it’s easy to see why Page developed an interest in computers from an early age.
Gloria and Carl were incredibly supportive of Page and all his endeavors (both educational and creative). In interviews, Larry has recalled growing up in a home littered with popular science magazines and computer parts. He would spend his days at home thumbing through the periodicals, tinkering with the random tech, and even receiving music lessons on the side. This combination of loving, encouraging parents and a near-constant immersion in the world of computer science clearly had quite the impact on Page’s future accomplishments.
His older brother Carl Victor Page Jr. was of a similar breed. As Page grew older, Carl Jr. would join him in assembling and disassembling computers and parts. Page has said he knew he would eventually start a computer company. After graduating from East Lansing High School in 1991, he went on to receive a degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan and a master’s in computer science from Stanford University. During this time, Page was fixated on innovations such as solar cars, driverless vehicles, and music synthesizers.
The Career of Larry Page
While his academic endeavors would suggest a future career in transportation, automation, or even music production, these collegiate side projects were merely side projects. A vision of Page’s actual future could be seen in his master’s dissertation. Focused on the exploration of the World Wide Web’s mathematical properties, Page’s thesis set out to describe the Web’s structure of links as an enormous graph. Professor Terry Winograd — himself an innovator of artificial intelligence — pushed Page to take this idea further.
Though Larry Page had interest in other fields of computer science — such as automation, telecommunications, holograms, and electric self-driving cars — Winograd’s encouragement pushed Page toward the exploration of web pages and backlinks. What’s more, Winograd paired Page with a fellow Sanford student named Sergey Brin. As we know, this would be a match made in computer heaven. The two linked up on a research project they dubbed “BackRub.” The rest, as they say, was history.
Now working under the name BackRub, Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s first order of business was to co-write a research paper: “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine.” The gist of it argued that the World Wide Web was nothing more than a series of loosely connected citations, a.k.a. links. If one could establish a way to track, organize, and index these citations, then Web users could hypothetically browse the entire internet easily.
Secondly, they defined what’s now known as the PageRank algorithm: a way to count and qualify the number of links on a page in an effort to determine the website’s importance. (The logic being that the more links and backlinks a website has, the more important it likely is.) This thinking helped the two create the most advanced search engine the world had seen thus far.
In constructing BackRub, Page and Brin filled filled both of their rooms with computer equipment. Their project was so powerful, it actually began interfering with Stanford’s entire computing infrastructure. Taking any and every spare computer part available, the two assembled a search engine strong enough to handle multiple searches by multiple searchers at once. By 1996, BackRub — still rooted on Stanford’s computing infrastructure — was ready for public Internet use. By 1998, BackRub saw 10,000 searches a day.
By the fall of 1998, it was clear that BackRub’s true potential was outgrowing BackRub’s actual capabilities. As a result, Larry Page and Sergey Brin took their search engine to the next level. It was then that they incorporated incorporated Google, Inc. Page named himself CEO, while Brin was named president of the newfound company. The goal of Google was to go far beyond the limits of Stanford’s infrastructure. They wanted to go global, hoping to organize the entire planet’s online information and make it both useful and accessible for all. With $1 million and a dream, they headed to Mountain View.
Page and company’s biggest hurdles were twofold: To reduce the size of the search engine’s physical hardware, and speed up the computing power of the search engine’s virtual software. By 1999, Page and co. found a way to fit their servers into a number of square meters in rented third-party warehouses. By 2000, Google had indexed more than a billion sites. It was now the most comprehensive, most thorough search engine in history.
The following year, at the pressure of much-needed investors, Page stepped down from his position as CEO to allow a more experienced person to steer Google in the right direction. He obliged, and Novell CEO Eric Schmidt took his place. Page then became President of Products. The move proved to be the right one, as Schmidt led Google through an era of profound growth and massive expansion. Even with Schmidt in his former spot, Page was still viewed as the boss to Google employees. He gave final approval on almost everything, including the decision to go public in 2004. Page was now a billionaire.
In 2011, Schmidt stepped down as Google CEO and allowed Page to resume his post. (Despite the fact that Page had essentially been acting as CEO all those years regardless.) Schmidt’s leadership was nevertheless vital to Google’s success, lifting the company up to a $180 billion valuation and nearly 25,000 employees in all. Still, while Page was able to exert significant control over Google’s product development throughout the 2000s, the former CEO still found himself feeling more and more disconnected from his greatest accomplishment.
Page spent the early 2010s consolidating, redesigning, reorganizing, and overhauling the company from the top down. More autonomy for Google executives, more collaboration between the development teams, new looks for several of the company’s main products and features… Seemingly nothing was immune to Page’s companywide rejuvenation efforts. By 2013, more than 70 of the products and services at Google had been shut down. Even more had been consolidated. Page’s work during this time helped to establish Google as the clean, simple, refined company we know it as today.
Still, Page suffered from that same disconnect he was feeling at the start of the decade. When the opportunity arose for Page to restructure Google and establish a parent holding company above the search engine, he took it. In August of 2015, Page left his post as CEO of Google and became CEO of Alphabet, Inc. He described the move as an effort to make Google even cleaner and hold the company even more accountable and transparent than ever before. With this move, Page could keep control of Google without having any day-to-day tasks there. He stepped down as CEO of Alphabet in 2019.
What Did Larry Page Do?
Between the years of 1996 and 2019, Larry Page did more (and accomplished more) than many CEOs will ever do in an entire lifetime of work. His greatest successes boil down to these two points below.
Alongside fellow Stanford student Sergey Brin, Larry Page co-founded Google in 1996. After several years of tinkering with a proto-Google called BackRub, Page and Brin moved to Mountain View, California and used a borrowed million dollars to turn their rudimentary search engine into a full-blown global empire. Above all else, Page’s work as co-founder of Google remains his crowning achievement. While not the first nor the last search engine, Google is undoubtedly the best in history.
Secondly, Larry Page helped to co-create PageRank. While some debate whether the company derives its name from Page’s last name or simply the fact that it deals with webpages, PageRank is the first and most important search algorithm used to give Google its power. It works by tallying the number and the quality a page’s links in an effort to roughly determine the site’s overall importance. (The thinking here is that the more backlinks a site has, the more significant that site will be.) After the actual founding of Google itself, this co-creation of PageRank is Page’s other magnum opus.
Larry Page: Marriage, Children, and Personal Life
Obviously, Larry Page is more than just a businessman, computer scientist, an entrepreneur. He’s also a real person with a real family and real value. Let’s take a look at Larry Page’s life outside of the office below, paying close attention to net worth, marriage, children, and any personal struggles.
According to the latest World’s Billionaires List from Forbes, Larry Page’s net worth is a staggering $111 billion. (Sergey Brin is actually behind Page at $107 billion.) After Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, Page sits just outside the top five richest people on the planet at #6. As with several of the world’s richest tech billionaires, Page’s net worth has more than doubled since the onset of Covid-19. This is thanks to an increased amount of online activity during lockdowns. His total value has risen from $50.8 billion in 2019 to more than $111 billion today.
Larry Page married research scientist Lucinda Southworth in late 2007. The two wed on fellow billionaire Richard Branson’s Caribbean property Necker Island, then returned to their California home. It’s a nine thousand square-foot Spanish Colonial Revival located in Palo Alto and designed by Pedro Joseph de Lemos, an American artistic polymath. (Page’s interest in such a designer obviously goes without saying.)
Page and Southworth purchased up properties surrounding their home in 2009, at which point they constructed an ecohouse: an environmentally friendly home complete with eco-conscious elements such as permeable pavement, organic building materials, paint made from organic compounds, and plenty of trees. The couple still reside there to this day along with their children (which leads us to the next point).
Larry Page and Lucinda Southworth have two children. The first was born in 2009 and is approximately 13 years old. The second was born in 2011 and is approximately 11 years old. Not much else is known about the two siblings outside of their birth years and their shared parentage, which is understandable considering their young age and their familial wealth. The only real detail known about Page and Southworth’s children (apart from their birth years) is that their oldest is male. The sex of their youngest child remains unknown, even more than a decade after their 2011 birth.
It hasn’t all been sunshine for Larry Page, which just goes to show that money cannot truly solve all problems. In Page’s case, this proves to be true in the form of paralyzed vocal cords as a result of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It’s an autoimmune disease that left his left vocal cord paralyzed in 1999 and his right vocal ford paralyzed in 2013. As a result, Page has not been heard on an earnings call since 2013 and has not attended a press conference since 2015. He continues to give money to Boston’s Voice Health Institute, a research program dedicated to better understanding vocal cords and nerve function.
Additionally, Page and family faced another crisis in January of 2021. While temporarily residing in Fiji during the Covid-19 pandemic, Page’s oldest child required a medivac flight to New Zealand for an unknown emergency treatment. Details beyond this are not currently known, due to the respect of the family’s privacy surrounding heath and other personal details concerning the children. Despite our curiosity, Page and family have remained hush on whatever it was that happened at the time.
Larry Page: Awards and Achievements
- Entrepreneur of the Year, EY (2003)
- Golden Plate Award, American Academy of Achievement (2004)
- Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2005)
- Honorary Doctorate, University of Michigan (2009)
- “Businessperson of the Year,” Fortune (2014)
- “America’s Most Popular Chief Executive,” Forbes (2015)
- #6, Forbes World’s Billionaires List (2022)
Larry Page Quotes
- “You never lose a dream, it just incubates as a hobby.”
- “Ideas are more important than age. Just because someone is junior doesn’t mean they don’t deserve respect and cooperation.”
- “Always deliver more than expected.”
- “The worst thing you can do is stop someone from doing something by saying, “No. Period.” If you say no, you have to help them find a better way to get it done.”
- Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.”
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