Google currently employs about 55,000 people around the world, but there’s one thing that CEO Larry Page started asking himself way back in the early days.
“I’m always asking the question, as the company has grown from a hundred people, ‘Would I want to work for Google?'” Page told Fortune’s Miguel Helft.
Page says a big part of his focus and duty at the company is making sure Google is a good environment for people who are curious, entrepreneurial, and looking to have an impact on the world. Page is a big believer in moonshots — ideas that push technology forward by 10x.
“If I look at most of the tech companies that I felt have kind of reached a plateau or have generally atrophied or something like that, I would say ‘no,’ they weren’t a good home for people who wanted to do those things,” he said. “In general they kind of kept doing the same thing, kind of eking out a little bit more scale but not really being a place where people want to continue to really do impactful things.”
In the book “How Google Works,” former CEO Eric Schmidt and SVP Jonathan Rosenberg write that hiring “smart creative” employees and creating an environment where they can thrive is one of the most important things a company can do to become successful.
By having Google work on big moonshot projects like smart contact lenses, self-driving cars, internet-bearing balloons, and humanoid robots, Page hops to keep the answer to his question, “yes.”
Page doesn’t want Google to stop being innovative, bold bets, and when discussing ideas with him, Google X exec Andy Conrad said “you feel terrified, inspired, and nurtured at the same time.”
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