He’s a Computer Scientist and Internet Entrepreneur. He’s ranked 19th on Forbes Billionaires List, with an estimated net worth of 33.4 billion dollars. He leads a company with over 57,000 employees in over 40 countries. He’s Google co-founder Larry Page, and here are his Top 10 Rules for Success.
Larry Page’s Top 10 Rules For Business and Success
Rule #1: Set Big Goals
A lot of times, my issue is people are not setting goals that will be something that… Somebody just becomes rich, or could do anything. You got to be excited about working on that for 10 years. So you got to have a big enough goal.
That, you know, you attract the best people and you retain them, and you keep them focused. In my experience, you don’t go wrong, you know, maybe you don’t hit it next year, or maybe you fail entirely and you discover something more exciting to work on with the same set of people.
Rule #2: Don’t Be Afraid Of Failure
One of the the things that I’d been through as a student was some leadership training, and one of the things they taught us was to have… To not be afraid of failure, and instead have the goal to fail a lot quickly, and then eventually you’ll succeed. And I sort of took this to heart, and they also had a slogan called “Healthy Disregard for the Impossible.”
They actually made you write down, sort of, the things you would do that were kind of impossible but you thought you might really accomplish. And that’s really stuck with me in everything that I’ve tried to do, and I think, you know it was very, very close that we wouldn’t have started the company, and I think there are many of you out there in sort of similar situations.
You know, do you want to take a little bit more risk? Do you want to try something else? And, you know, even if you don’t succeed… We actually many things that didn’t work. Google happened to work pretty well, but there are many things we did that didn’t. But we don’t worry about those, right? ‘Cause we tried many things. So I just encourage you to take a little more risk in life, and I think if you do it often enough, it will really pay off.
Rule #3: Stay Organized
This is how we keep our innovation running. I think, usually, as companies get bigger, they find it really hard to have small innovative projects. We had this problem, too, for a while, and we said, “Oh, we really need a new concept.” The Google Ads, that’s a small project that we’re not quite sure if it’s going to work or not, but we hope it will.
And if we do enough of them, some of them will really work and turn out such as news. But then we had a problem because then we had over 100 projects, and I don’t know about all of you, but I have trouble keeping 100 things in my head at once.
And we found that if we just wrote all of them down, and ordered them, and these are kind of made up. Don’t really pay attention to them. For example, the “Buy Iceland” was from a media article. We would never do such a crazy thing, but we found if we just basically wrote them all down and ordered them, that most people would actually agree what the ordering should be.
And this was kind of a surprise to me, but we found that as long as you keep the 100 things in your head, which you did by writing them down, that you could do a pretty good job deciding what to do and where to put your resources. And, so that’s basically what we’ve done, Since did that a few years ago, and I think it’s really allowed us to be innovative and still stay reasonable well-organized.
Rule #4: Concentrate On The Long Term
You know I talked a little bit about focusing the company. And you know, I think that I want to talk a little bit about making some big bets. We always try to concentrate on the long-term, what we’re doing for the long-term, and I think that many of the things we started up that are really big now, like Chrome, were seen as kind of crazy when we launched them.
And, so how do we decide what to do? How do we decide what’s really important to work on? Well, I like to call it the “Toothbrush Test.” So, the Toothbrush Test is, do you use it as often as you use your toothbrush? For most people, I guess, that’s twice a day. Raise your hands, twice a day? Yeah, okay, most people.
So I think, you know, we really want things like that and I think things like Gmail, obviously you use much more than twice a day, and YouTube, you know, I think that those things are amazing, and I think that. We look at things like YouTube, people thought, “Oh, you guys are never going to make money with that.
You bought it for $1.4 billion, you’re totally crazy.” We were reasonably crazy, but it was a good bet. And we’ve actually been doubling revenue every year on YouTube for four years. Actually, if you’re doubling things, it starts to add up pretty quickly. Even, no matter where you start from.
So, I think that’s a good example of the, how it’s sort of our philosophy, is that we see things that people use a lot that are going to be really important to them, and we think that usually, you can make money from those things over time, you know, A well-run technology business can be monetized over time.
Rule #5: Have A Good Idea
I think a lot of companies, not so much these days, but still got started because some space is hot. And honestly, I don’t think that’s a very good reason to start a company. And, in fact, we see hundreds or thousands of people come to us who want to commercialize something, or want us to collaborate with their business, and we actually look at these, I look at quite a few of them, and my guess is like, one a year we are interested in.
So, you know, the trick is to have the one that somebody’s going to be interested in ’cause it’s a good idea, and not to, you know, be one of the thousands that come through all the time. And I think, you know, if you’re the one good deal, or if you have a good idea, or you really understand the area you’re in, you know, the funding environment doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a hot area. I guarantee you you’ll be able to get people interested in helping you out.
Rule #6: Solve Bigger Problems
I think for all of you, there are many areas where there’s leverage available in the world… Where one or two people, a good idea, a lot of hard work can really make a difference. There’s many, many things like that. And it’s good not forget that, but it’s good to look for those things.
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, and one of the things that surprised me. That’s a very broad mission. It’s a lot of work. We’re not going to achieve it anytime soon, right? It’s almost an impossible task, but it’s an exciting task and one that you can get other people excited about, and they can help you.
And of the things that also surprised me is it’s sometimes easier to do something that’s harder because other people get excited about it, and you can get much more resource. You can get tremendous resources to solve a hard problem, whereas you might only get minor resources to solve a small problem.
Rule #7: Take On Challenges
You know, anything you can imagine probably is doable, right? You just have to imagine it and work on it. And things that we thought were almost impossible… So, we were interested in machine translation. There were services on the web, we had licensed one that could translate between different languages.
And, obviously, for Search, you know, if you can’t… If the information’s not in your language, we can’t find it for you, and most information’s not in your language, right? That’s just sort of by definition. And, so we thought, “Well, it’d be great if we could provide search results from any language for any query.”
And so we really focused on that problem. We focused on it and we developed Google Translate. We found some machine-learning researchers, and we said, “Do you think you can translate, you know, between any languages, and do it better than an average human translator,” and they said, they laughed at us.
They said, “No, we can’t possibly do that,” but they actually were willing to try. Six years later, we can translate between 64 languages. And it’s amazing, actually, we’re better. Many languages were better than an average human translating. We can do it instantly and for free.
And between those 64 languages, we can translate between any two of the languages, so we have something like 4,000 languages we can translate between. So I’m just trying to give you… I guess I’m tremendously optimistic that whatever things we try to challenge, whatever challenges we try to take on, we can solve with a little bit of concerted effort and some good technology, and I think that’s a really exciting place to be in the world.
So I think we want more people working on it, we want to have more ambitious goals, and I think with that we could easily double human progress and the rate at which we’re developing.
Rule #8: Don’t Settle
So, I’m going to switch gears and talk really briefly about entrepreneurship. So, I’ll try to give you some of the things I think are really important that other people won’t tell you, or won’t stress as much. One of those is really just, don’t settle. It’s very, very, very important if you’re starting a company to have the right people involved.
I can’t stress that enough. I’ve been enormously happy with the people we’ve had involved at Google, with my co-founder and with Eric. We took a long time to find these people, actually. I’d been working with Sergey for a really long time, but Eric, took us over a year to hire Eric, and, just generally, having great people involved that you really like and that are compatible with you and all those things, is tremendously important.
You’re never going to question the equity you gave up, or any of the other things. So I can’t stress that enough. The other thing I think we really benefited from is being real experts. We worked on Google for many years at Stanford before we started the company, and that was a pretty nice position to be in.
We understood sort of all aspects of Search, we talked to all the Search companies for many years. We really knew a lot about what was going on, and you can do that pretty cheaply, right? It’s just your labor, right? You can invest a year or two, or three years, and really learn something very, very well before you start having hundreds of people working on the problem.
Rule #9: Adopt To Changes
Recently, I reorganized a bit to focus on product areas, and I think, you know, in any company, as it grows, if the company’s not static, which it shouldn’t be, as it grows and it changes you need to reorganize it and just question, you know, are you keeping ahead of that? Looking at our business was pretty complicated.
We have all these different products, we have advertising, we have Search, we have Chrome, we have Andriod, we have YouTube and so on, and those things are actually relatively different and have different things going on. So I think, you know, I kind of moved that up a level in the company, and made sure that we were super focused in each of those areas, on what our user experience was, and I think that’s helped.
Which, just generally, as you switch to a company. As we got more offices, you know, as we got time zone differences, we had to change how we did our meetings, change how we do our employee communications and so on. So, I just think, you know… In a technology business growing rapidly, you just need to make sure you’re changing everything. You’re being responsive to that change and changing everything every year, or else you’re just not keeping up with it.
Rule #10: Follow Your Dreams
I want to talk about dreams for a second. And in my case, literally a dream. When I was in college, I was sure that I’d been admitted by a clerical error. Probably a computer error. And because of that, I had an irrational fear I’d be sent home on the bus. And Sergey is here and knows this is true.
But it turns out because of that anxiety, I woke up literally with a dream, and it was kind of a strange dream. It went like, “I think I could download the entire web onto some old computers that were lying around.” And that probably seemed pretty crazy to most people, but I stayed up a couple hours in the middle of the night doing some math, and it seemed actually pretty plausible.
While assuming you actually didn’t keep any of the web pages, you only kept the links. And then, sort of figured out, given all that data, I thought it would take a couple weeks, and I told my advisor that, and he just sort of laughed to me. And, of course, it took a year or two.
But at the end of that, we had a way to rank web pages, and no thoughts to Search at all, but eventually Search entered the picture. And you know the rest, and that became Google. So I’d like to encourage everyone to follow their dreams.
Thank you guys so much. I made this because SickNick95 asked me to, so if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it in the comments below, and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know which of Larry Page’s Top 10 Rules meant the most to you, is going to have the biggest impact on you.
Leave it in the comments below and I’m going to join in the discussion. Thank you guys. Continue to believe, and I’ll see you soon.
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