Born: August 21, 1973, Moscow, Russia | Successful For: Online Entrepreneur (Google) | Zodiac Sign: Leo
“I feel there’s an existential angst among young people. I didn’t have that. They see enormous mountains, where I only saw one little hill.”
– Sergey Brin
Inner Keys to Success:
- PASSION FOR “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER”: Sergey Brin and his family were born in Moscow, where they were looked down upon for their Jewish descent. He recalls that his father was not allowed to pursue his dream (which was to become an astronomer) solely because he was Jewish, and this drove his father to move the family to the US. Brin’s father was gifted in math and taught him everything on the subject after school. He would also learn data-mining at home and enjoyed puzzles, maps and math games. Regardless of beginning school with an accent, Brin soared through high school, and then attended the same university his father taught at, and achieved a Bachelor’s of Computer Science degree with honors. Being eager for knowledge, he used his scholarship funds for tech savvy Stanford, after being rejected by MIT. He met his future business partner, Larry Page during an orientation for new students where he was introduced to the idea of a search engine based on back-links, and Brin was fond of the idea. As a research project for school, they created a search engine called PageRank which was based on ranking sites due to popularity. Today, as a result of his findings and inventions, he has been awarded for many accomplishments including being referred in The Economist magazine as an “Enlightenment Man”. Battling through Parkinson’s, he contributes funds and his passion driven expertise with programming to the cause, he believes “knowledge is always good, and certainly always better than ignorance”. His curiosity for learning has made him a very wealthy man and a problem solver on a global scale.
- GOOD ETHICS AND GOOD INTENTIONS MEAN GOOD FORTUNE: Surprisingly, as the idea of Google became evident, Sergey and Larry would disagree on just about everything. However, Brin quotes they “became intellectual soul-mates and close friends” as they put their differences aside and kept moving forward. Sergey Brin was focused on data-mining, as Larry Page was focused on citations and links; they combined their ideas together and filled their room with computers. Sergey Brin believes that ethics brings rewards. His partner and him are more concerned about Google being a project making the entire world’s information “universally accessible and useful” then making money, and as a result became multi-billionaires. Through all the aquired success, he remains completely humble and modest saying “From my parents, I certainly learned to be frugal and to be happy without very many things,”. Google’s motto and catch slogan that is certainly always practiced is “Don’t be evil”. The pair help make the most amounts of people’s lives easier with finding information simply each and every single day as google is searched roughly 5.9 billion times a day. “To me, this is about preserving history and making it available to everyone” .The two also do large amounts of philanthropy work trying to better the world through Google, such as trying to stop the world’s energy and climate problems, and offering free advertising to many charitable groups. Google has given over $33 Million in free advertising as its way of giving back.
- TAKE CHANCES AND FOLLOW YOUR GUT INTUITIONS: Alongside Larry Page, Sergey Brin took an educated risk. After seeing some success in Google, they took a lot of investment money, suspended their PhD’s and went full forced into the project. After maxing their own credit cards along with family members cards too, they would go on a lengthy search for investment capital, upon many failed attempts, they got $25 million. The two were able to scrape enough money from friends, family, and faculty members to buy enough servers to build the program. The two used the computers to test the program on the internet, and realized they created a successful and powerful search engine on the web while crashing Stanford’s systems. Google became a global phenomenon and in 2006, Google made one of the biggest moves in internet history by purchasing the largest video-sharing community in the world, YouTube for $1.3 Billion. Brin is also big on investing and trusting his nudges in other ventures the same way he did with google; he has invested in such projects as Virgin’s Space Adventures, and Tesla Motors. His mother states “Sergey wasn’t a particularly outgoing child but he always had the self-confidence to pursue what he had his mind set on.”
“Obviously everyone wants to be successful, but I want to be looked back on as being very innovative, very trusted and ethical and ultimately making a big difference in the world.”
– Sergey Brin
Extremely non conforming in his ways, Sergey and even partner Larry Page always change the game and how it’s played, automatically making themselves the leaders in innovation while every one else imitates. They called the search engine Google after the mathematical term “googol,” which is a 1 followed by 100 zeros, to reflect their mission to organize the almost infinite amount of information available on the Web. They rarely even follow ordinary business practices, as their buildings sometimes offer meditation sessions, rental cars, large buffets, and even recreational activities. “The kind of environment we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the web was so open. Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation.” Even when it came to doing his first interview, Sergey decided to come out of the closet about google’s success on playboy magazine. Google is today, bigger than Disney, GM and McDonald’s combined partially due to the strong ideologies behind the company, the famous phrase around Google headquarters is “maintain a healthy disregard for the impossible.”
“I would like to see anyone be able to achieve their dreams, and that’s what this organization does.”
– Sergey Brin