Thursday, November 14, 2013


Larry Page -- 40, is the successful, much admired respected CEO and co- founder of Google -- one of the most successful, ubiquitous and increasingly strange companies on the planet. I am bowing to Larry Page -- not reverentially -- my fingers are crossed.

How did this powerful guy come to be what he is? His dad is considered a pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence. His mom is a computer science professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, where he was born. As a wee child, on into boyhood and teenager years, he was hugely encouraged by Dad to have fun with inventing, and playing with technological things.

For fun, at the University of Michigan, Larry created an inkjet printer made of Lego Bricks. After graduating with a BA degree, while trying to get his MA degree at Stanford University, and also working on his PhD dissertation, he pursued more of what he loved. Nicknaming his project "BackRub," exploring the mathematical possibilities of the World Wide Web, he focused on links. And bumped into fellow student, Sergey Brin. In 1998, Brin and Page founded Google.

Undoubtedly you've heard of Google, and used it. Google is essentially in the search business, but so much more. It is in the online-advertising business, mobile-operating-system business, the Web-browser business, the free-e-mail business, the driverless-car business, the wearable-computing business, (eye glasses), the online-map business, the renewable-energy business, and the business of providing Internet access to remote areas via high-altitude balloons. Google's corporate strategy is mainstream services, and risky long shots.

(It's not the risky long shots that get me.)

Anyway, as Google has grown, Larry Page has grown -- wiser, more important, bolder, richer.

Incidentally, not much is known about his private life -- he's married to Lucinda Southworth, who continues to work as a research scientist -- they are have two very young children, and live in Palo Alto, California. Larry has had a vocal cord problem for 14 years that makes his voice soft -- sort of toneless, unemphatic. Maybe that's why, when he's making a speech, (and I've listened to a lot of them before writing this), I find it difficult to concentrate on what he's really talking about -- be it a complex idea or his philosophical concerns with it. But being a Google user, oh boy, I feel the affect of Larry's philosophy -- it's a passion -- Larry Page wants to explore areas that have not been explored.

Yep. this guy likes to head ahead of the trend. He sees far, far into the future, and it pays off. As of October 2012, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index lists Page as the 27th richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $21.1 billion. (Forbes in September said his net worth was $24.9 billion).

Okay, so why are my fingers crossed?

He screws me up with what he's doing with Google tools. For weeks, I've been adapting to the "new, better, more efficient, faster" -- new way of doing gmail. I have adapted. It is not better, more efficient, faster -- there's a new looking page that's got lighter print, not stronger larger easier to read print, and now a bunch of similar, boring icons (no words) to tell you how to save, print, insert links, etcetera. (In the Google help forum where people discuss their problems, many other Googlers, like me, are annoyed with the new gmail.)

Google blogger -- everything I learned to do and have been doing for five years -- space, insert, embed, save-copy-share -- all my safe practical routines have had to be relearned. Dammit Larry, I feel like a sheep led into the pen -- shorn -- naked -- back in beginnersville.

Meanwhile, as I keep dodging Google Circles (Google's latest attempt at social networking -- a waste of time like Google Buzz, that, thank God, has disappeared).  And I'm suffering on YouTube -- new owner Google has new ways, new displays -- each time I sign on, Gooigle suggests a new name, insists I explain why I don't want to change my name, or advertize, or amalgamate my channel with other Google channels.

And now there's this on the cover of Time. Google has announced Calico.

The latest new thing -- (out there, far beyond Google's driverless cars, and eye glasses) -- Google is digging in and around and under and below why and when we wither, wane, wizen and die.

Will Calico soon be watching, nagging, sneaking into my daily routines of everything that has to do eating sleeping breathing, so that I can maybe grow older and older for an extra 10 or 20 years?

 Scoogled was a word used by Microsoft in their ads, attacking Google for answering search questions with "facts" that were ads for Google products.

I'm inventing a word for what super creative Larry Page will be Lego-stacking up around me, while he's Larroogling my life.

Here's  a brief look at Larry addressing a crowd September 20 of this year.


Ameer S. Washington said...

People like Page don't scare me. They don't have me crossing my fingers. I try to ignore everything else around me, and do what I like. That seems to be what Larry Page is and isn't do. He's in business, so he has to pay attention to his competitors, but his forward thinking allows him not to. There is a world that all of us geeks dream about and want to see. Flying car that can drive, glasses that change with the weather, a bio suit that keeps you warmer than a pea coat and all the other nooks and crannies you can think of.

All people, no matter how faithful, religious, un-or-comfortable with death, wonder about the next stage. Will we learn that there is nothing, or will we be solidified in our notions God, or just fade out into what has been called a long sleep. The question is, when we're dead will we even care. But there are some of us that want to live forever, and be forever young, and see all the new cool movies that come out in a hundred years (yeah guilty).

I guess the problem I have is one that you have or perhaps it is simply the question many of us ask. Am I in control? If I'm not, then who is. Is it God, or this little guy named Larry Page who looked likes he can't handle himself in a bar fight, who may perhaps be the most dangerous man in the world, with 6 muscular SEALS who'll snap your neck and shoot you in the face at the same time.

But with everything, like the new gmail, we'll either adapt to it, or use something else. I still use my yahoo mail account. I've had it since I was 14. The good thing about America is that there is always an alternative. It's just a question of how many there will be down the line.

Nice post. Great questions.

Carola said...

I love to use Google search; I depend on it daily. I do hate the way it keeps wiping out my settings and inflicting toolbars on me that I don't want, but that's minor. But Larry and Sergey founded their company with the slogan "Do no Evil," and I think their disrespect for privacy is, if not evil, very bad. I refused to get a gmail account because I don't trust them.

Rod Davis said...

Very interesting peek at the man, the company, that complicates what I do daily.

Anonymous said...

Larroogling. Super word, Em. I confess I didn't listen to the vid. But another name for Larry Page could be Pandoro. One the box is invented, there is no going back. Good or bad, we will all be pulled, kicking and screaming, into the future.
Louise Sorensen
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