Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gordon S. Murray, Daniel C. Goldie: The Investment Answer

In January 2011, Ron Lieber posted “Gordon Murray, Former Investment Banker, Dies at 60” on a blog for The New York Times. Gordon Murray, the investment banker whose conversion to passive investing was the subject of my Your Money column last Nov. 26, died on Saturday at his home in Burlingame, Calif. He was 60 years old and had suffered from glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. I first met Gordon when a close friend of his, a financial planner named Dan Goldie, got in touch with me to tell Mr. Murray’s story. Mr. Murray had spent decades at the highest levels of Wall Street, including Goldman Sachs, selling bonds. Many of his clients were managers of active mutual funds or other investors who seek to outperform various market indexes.
“It was six months ago that I was told I had six months to live. One of the good things about having one of these malignant glioblastomas is that you do get some time to get closure, to plan and to spend so much great time with your family and friends.”

- Gordon S. Murray, author of the book: The Investment Answer

“When I entered the business, illegal and unethical were the same. Now there’s a huge difference. Wall Street got much more skilled about crossing the line of illegality.”

- Gordon S. Murray, author of the book: The Investment Answer
In January 2011, Elizabeth MacBride wrote “Reflecting On A Talk With Gordon Murray, Investors’ Advocate and Publishing Phenom” for Forbes Magazine. Gordon Murray died on Saturday in his Burlingame home after a two-year battle with brain cancer. His passing came after years of advocacy of sensible investing, culminating in a book that has become a publishing phenomenon. The 60-year-old began writing, The Investment Answer in earnest this summer after he was given six months to live, in the wake of a scan that revealed his glioblastoma had advanced. He was prodded along with help from his friend and financial advisor, Dan Goldie, 47, who helped organize the project and write the book. See: Two DFA advisors win big book contract after ‘Dying banker’ article in NYTimes.
“You go through an initial period of sadness, but then you realize, ‘Okay, I can't do anything about it, so let's just make the most of what we have.’ I could have a great, quality six months, or I could take the risk with the chemo, the radiation, and all these other drugs they throw in you, but it might actually make things worse.”

- Gordon S. Murray, author of the book: The Investment Answer

“I basically wanted to do this for him because he's wanted to write this book for so long and he never did it, so this was my gift to him.”

- Daniel C. Goldie, author of the book: The Investment Answer

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Siddhartha Mukherjee: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

In November 2010, NPR’s Fresh Air featured a story, “An Oncologist Writes a Biography of Cancer.” Oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee was treating one of his patients, a woman with advanced abdominal cancer who had relapsed multiple times, when she asked him what seemed like a simple question. "She said, 'I'm willing to go on, but before I go on, I need to know what it is I'm battling,' " Mukherjee tells NPR's Terry Gross. But, as Mukherjee explains, describing his patient's illness wasn't so simple. Defining cancer, he says, is something doctors and scientists have been struggling to do since the disease's first documented appearance thousands of years ago. Mukherjee's new book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, grew out of his desire to better understand the disease he treats, through examining the way cancer has been described and treated throughout history. He chronicles the ways therapies evolved, particularly in the 20th century, as more treatment options became available and scientists worked to understand the underlying genetic mutations that caused the disease.
“A breast cancer might turn out to have a close resemblance to a gastric cancer. And this kind of reorganization of cancer in terms of its internal genetic anatomy has really changed the way we treat and approach cancer in general.”

- Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the book: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

“What does it mean to be an oncologist? It means that you get to sit in at a moment of another person’s life that is so hyper-acute, and not just because they’re medically ill. It’s also a moment of hope and expectation and concern. It’s a moment when you get to erase everything that’s irrelevant and ask the most elemental questions — about survival, family, children, legacy.”

- Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the book: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

In November 2010, The Economist published “With hope, farewell fear: The long struggle to understand cancer.” It is said that when the good burghers of Amsterdam were first presented with a rhinoceros—armored, horned, three-toed, with a prehensile lip—spectators shook their heads in disbelief. Cancer provokes a similar bafflement. So protean are its forms and so varied its features that even specialist prognoses of aggressiveness, invasion and response to treatment have typically generated more exceptions than rules. Apparently, identical cancers in two patients may behave so unlike as to appear utterly different diseases. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s “The Emperor of All Maladies” tells of the search for a “unifying theory” of cancer, the common attribute of all types of malignant cell growth that might reveal its cure. The arc of this rich and engrossing book matches Mr. Mukherjee’s personal evolution as an oncologist, beginning on the first day of his hospital residency. It seems that the diversity of this implacable, shape-shifting foe will defeat him. He is faced with dead-end discoveries, therapeutic disasters and revelations that lead only to more mysteries. But with the perceptiveness and patience of a true scientist he begins to weave these individual threads into a coherent and engrossing narrative.
“If there's a seminal discovery in oncology in the last 20 years, it's that idea that cancer genes are often mutated versions of normal genes. And the arrival of that moment really sent a chill down the spine of cancer biologists. Because here we were hoping that cancer would turn out to be some kind of exogenous event — a virus or something that could then be removed from our environment and our bodies and we could be rid of it — but as it turns out, cancer genes are sitting inside each and every one of our chromosomes, waiting to be corrupted or activated.”

- Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the book: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

Alan Brinkley: The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century

In April 2010, Janet Maslin wrote “A Magazine Master Builder” for The New York Times. When Henry Luce graduated from the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut in 1916, he received not a single vote in the “most likely to succeed” category. That oversight remains amazing, not only because he would attain such eminence as Time Inc.’s founder and long-reigning autocrat but also because of what Luce, at 18, had already accomplished. At 14, the son of American Protestant missionaries in China, he had overweening ambitions. He had none of the advantages that his classmates’ money could buy, yet he was prepared to struggle past every social, financial and intellectual obstacle that stood between his schoolboy realities and grandiose dreams. By graduation he had found a wealthy mentor, become editor of a campus publication and boastfully labeled it “First in the Prep School World.” Luce’s success story would be sheer romance if it could surmount one basic problem: Luce himself. On the evidence of “The Publisher,” Alan Brinkley’s graceful and judicious biography, Luce began as an arrogant, awkward boy. He made up in pretension what he lacked in personal charm, and he was “able to attract the respect but not usually the genuine affection of those around him.”
“Henry Luce wanted to create the most beautiful and riveting picture magazine ever published, and it was that. It was a magazine that could project a vision of what America was like, or at least what he wanted America to be like. Luce believed that under everything else there was a united America. There was a single culture that everyone was part of. And that’s what Life Magazine projected into the world, a sense of a kind of consensual America. That was not an accurate picture of what America was like.”

- Alan Brinkley, author of the book: The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century

“Henry Luce believed that Chiang Kai-shek was one of the great figures of history. And Luce cared so much about the future of China and of making China a sort of modern democratic nation, he saw Chiang Kai-shek as the only hope for that. But he ignored or dismissed all of the things that Chiang Kai-shek did badly, and there were many such things. Teddy White, the famous Time Magazine editor in China - they both believed in Chiang Kai-shek, but Teddy White lost that belief and began to write about Chiang Kai-shek as someone who had failed. And Luce was furious, and that led to his departure from Time, Inc.”

- Alan Brinkley, author of the book: The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century

In May 2010, Maureen Corrigan wrote “A Publishing Titan’s Life and Time” for NPR. The weirdest — and maybe even the most revealing — episode in Alan Brinkley's teeming biography of Henry Luce occurred in 1960 when Luce — a publishing potentate who reigned over an empire that included Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Life magazines — experimented with LSD. Luce's second wife, the playwright, congresswoman and loose cannon, Clare Booth Luce, had already dabbled with the hallucinogen under a psychiatrist's supervision. Clare later claimed she had cajoled her husband into trying LSD to provide him with the same "serenity" the drug had given her and, thus, save their troubled marriage. Whatever the reasons, Luce took a dose and then, according to the psychiatrist's diary, sat down at his desk and began calmly reading Lionel Trilling's biography of Matthew Arnold. Even LSD couldn't whisk Henry Luce off on a magic carpet ride! No matter how much he may have yearned to attain freaky visions, Luce was always tethered to late Victorian ideas about duty and ethical culture.
“Well, to the left, in particular, especially in the '40s and '50s, when the Communist left was still a significant force, they hated these ideas that America would be the great capitalist leader of the world. But equally infuriating to readers of the magazine, who just wanted a magazine that would sound fair in the treatment of politics, in much of the '40s and '50s, Time Magazine was not fair. By 1952, there hadn't been a Republican president in 20 years, and Luce was desperate to see a Republican elected president. And he loved Eisenhower, and through the whole eight years of his presidency the magazine was constantly supporting and admiring Eisenhower. And it infuriated many readers, although not too many gave up their subscriptions.”

- Alan Brinkley, author of the book: The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century

Apple CEO Steve Jobs Going on Medical Leave from The Takeaway: Early Edition by (Public Radio International and WNYC Radio)

For the second time in the company’s history, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is going on medical leave. A year and a half ago, Jobs underwent a liver transplant, and recovered from pancreatic cancer in 2004. The company's most recent earnings report will also be released today. Both announcements come at a time when Apple is facing some of its toughest competition from smaller tech challengers as well as fellow titans like Google. Thus far Steve Jobs has been synonymous with Apple — an often essential part of the brand. What is the possible future of Apple without Steve Jobs? We talk about the legacy of Steve Jobs and the future of the world's most valued technology company with Ken Auletta, author of the Annals of Communications column for The New Yorker Magazine and author of “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It.” We also talk with Steven Levy, journalist for Wired magazine. The podcast will be posted on this WNYC webpage, shortly.

Michael Moritz: Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs and the Creation of Apple

In April 2010, Owen Thomas reported on the author, Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital and author of the book, Return to the Little Kingdom, for Venture Beat. Tech pundits like to look forward, not back. But at a speaking appearance on Tuesday, Mike Moritz, a partner at Sequoia Capital, admitted to two regrets: passing on Netflix and never repairing his relationship with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Moritz appeared at the Rosewood Hotel on Sand Hill Road, the epicenter of the venture-capital business, at an event sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank to discuss his new book, Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs, the Creation of Apple, and How It Changed the World. The book is actually a reissued and updated version of his original 1984 biography of Jobs, The Little Kingdom. And the reporting for that book, done when Moritz was a reporter for Time magazine, is part of what led him to his unlikely career as a venture capitalist.
“So much of what has happened has been associated with Apple and the tale of this extraordinary company that I find that Apple’s breadcrumbs are strewn across the path of my life. As a correspondent for Time magazine, I had this wonderful calling card.”

- Michael Moritz, author of the book: Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs and the Creation of Apple

“At that point, Steve Jobs had just begun work on a little computer that at that point didn’t have a name, was just a skunkworks project. He was interested in having its evolution documented, and I was interested in telling the story of Apple Computer.”

- Michael Moritz, author of the book: Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs and the Creation of Apple

In December 1982, Andy Hertzfeld recounted incidents that were corroborated by Michael Moritz’s book. Those anecedotes were recently archived on, a collection of first-hand accounts at Apple. The February 15th, 1982 edition of Time magazine featured none other than Steve Jobs on its cover, appearing in an article entitled "Striking It Rich: America's Risk Takers". Instead of a photograph, Steve was depicted in a drawing with a red apple balanced on his head that was pierced by a zig-zag bolt of light emanating from an Apple II. The article inside focused on a number of high tech start-ups, but there was a long sidebar that told the story of Apple's meteoric rise, written by a young business reporter named Mike Moritz. It was a bit critical in places ("As an executive, Jobs has sometimes been petulant and harsh on subordinates"), but in general it was positive about the company and its prospects. Macintosh development was shrouded in secrecy, even within Apple, so we were surprised one day a few months later when Steve appeared in the software area of Bandley 4 accompanied by the Time reporter, Mike Moritz. Steve requested that I give him a demo of the Macintosh, and answer all of his questions. Apparently, Mike wanted to write a book about Apple, and managed to convince Steve to give him total access to the company, including the Macintosh team.
“The previous year, a development team at Data General was immortalized by Tracy Kidder's best selling book, "The Soul of a New Machine", about the ups and downs of developing a new mini-computer. Now it seemed like Mike Moritz was going to do something similar for the Mac team. Over the next few months, Mike spent lots of time hanging around the Mac team, attending various meetings and conducting interviews over lunch or dinner, to learn our individual stories. Mike had grown up in South Wales and attended Oxford before moving to the US for grad school, obtaining an MBA from Wharton. He was in his mid-twenties, about the same age as most of us, and was very smart, with a sharp, cynical sense of humor, so he fit right in, and seemed to understand what we were trying to accomplish.”

- Andy Hertzfeld, former Apple Employee; December 1982

Recent Quotes, by Steve Jobs:

"I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can," Jobs, 55, said in the e-mail.
Jan 17, 2011 BusinessWeek (1479 occurrences)

"The curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well," Jobs wrote in 2009.
Jan 17, 2011 PC World (2528 occurrences)

In a press release announcing the lawsuit, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, "We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it," said Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Dec 30, 2010 Apple Insider (1395 occurrences)

"My doctors think they have found the cause -- a hormone imbalance that has been robbing me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy," he said in early 2009. "The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and...
Jan 17, 2011 AOL News (1252 occurrences)

"With more than 1,000 apps, the Mac App Store is off to a great start," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement on the firm's website... "We think users are going to love this innovative new way to discover and buy their favorite apps."
Jan 6, 2011 Vancouver Sun (138 occurrences)

The US and China: Neither Friends Nor Rivals from The Takeaway: Early Edition by (Public Radio International and WNYC Radio)

As Washington prepares for a visit from Chinese President Hu Jintao this week, we take a look at what lies ahead in the shifting relationship between superpowers. Should we fear the "waking dragon"? We're joined by Gideon Rachman, chief foreign-affairs commentator for the Financial Times and author of "Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety," and Simon Tay, was an Asia Society 2009 Bernard Schwartz Fellow and is Chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. He is also the author of "Asia Alone: The Dangerous Post-Crisis Divide from America." Listen to the podcast.

Monday, January 17, 2011

David Kirkpatrick: The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World

In July 2010, James Harkin wrote a review of the David Kirkpatrick book for The Guardian. Last month Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, stood in front of an industry conference in Las Vegas and announced that email was on the way out. Figures showed that only 11% of teenagers use email on a daily basis, she said; most preferred to send messages via social networks such as Facebook. Even though she herself couldn't imagine life without it, she predicted that email "is probably going away". Sandberg's figures weren't quite right; they referred to data on how many American teenagers were using email to communicate with their friends on a daily basis, not how they were using it in general. Given Facebook's enormous success in colonising our online activity, however, there's every reason to take her hubristic ambition seriously. A good way to understand that ambition is to read David Kirkpatrick's new book.
“Zuckerberg sees the world as moving very rapidly toward transparency and very rapid sharing of data between individuals in all sorts of ways, on and off Facebook. And from the day he first created his system, he had this ethos of sharing that he strongly believed in.”

- David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World

“But to everyone else the episode was a clear sign: Zuckerberg had a knack for making software people couldn’t stop using. That came as little surprise to his roommates. They knew he had even been talking to Microsoft and other companies about selling a program he’d written with a friend as his senior project at Exeter, called Synapse. The software watched what kind of music someone liked so it could suggest other songs. His friends called the program “The Brain” and were especially excited when they heard Zuckerberg might get as much as a million dollars for it.”

- David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World

In July 2010, Don Tapscott wrote “Changing the world, one friend at a time” for The Globe and Mail. It was well known among industry insiders a couple of years ago that David Kirkpatrick's book about Facebook was overdue. Some felt he'd lose the window – that Facebook's 15 minutes of fame, like those of Myspace, were coming to an end. Kirkpatrick ignored them, spending another 18 months researching. Good call; the book appears just as Facebook has become the most popular destination on the Internet. Our obsession is justified, as Kirkpatrick points out in the most meticulous and exhaustive exposition to date. Facebook has gone “from a dorm-room novelty to a company with an unbelievable 500 million users.” Canadians love it most: A whopping 40 per cent of us are users. It defies the conventional wisdom that social networks are here today and gone tomorrow. It has become “a technological powerhouse with unprecedented influence across modern life, both public and private.” Facebook has the capability to do everything from linking us with friends to saving lives in the Haitian disaster. It may “be the fastest-growing company of any type in history.”
“Facebook was still burning tons of cash. It couldn’t keep endlessly pulling in investment money to cover losses, no matter how much contempt Zuckerberg had for ads. Luckily, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo all wanted to talk about a deal to place display ads on Facebook. Zuckerberg authorized his deputies to begin negotiations. To him it seemed like easy money. He wasn’t going to give them much onscreen real estate anyway.”

- David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World

“A couple of Google executives came over to see if there might be a way to work with or even buy Thefacebook. Even at this early date, Google was well aware that something noteworthy was gong on in Palo Alto. Zuckerberg and Parker were leery, though, because the risk of becoming subsumed by Silicon Valley’s Internet giant was real. If they wanted ot do their own thing, they had to stay independent, they believed. Anyway, what they were trying to do was very different from what Google did. Their site was about people; Google was about data.”

- David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World

In June 2010, NPR’s Morning Edition did a feature on the David Kirkpatrick book, “Author Explores The Evolution Of Facebook.” The site, which essentially began as an online student directory, went live on Feb. 4, 2004. Thefacebook, as it was then called, became popular almost instantly. Within four days, more than 650 students had registered. After one month, the number had reached 10,000. And now, more than six years later, close to 500 million people worldwide actively use the site. Author David Kirkpatrick spent a considerable amount of time with Zuckerberg while writing his new book The Facebook Effect. Zuckerberg, Kirkpatrick tells NPR's Deborah Amos, is adamant in his belief that the world is becoming more open.
“As costs mounted, Zuckerberg mused to the Crimson, which had taken to idolizing him, that “it might be nice in the future to get some ads going.” By the end of March, with the active-user number surpassing 30,000, Thefacebook was paying $450 per month for five servers from Zuckerberg and Saverin each agreed to invest another $10,000 into the company. Meanwhile, Saverin had begun selling a little advertising and had secured a few small contracts with companies that sold moving services, T-shirts, and other products to college students. These ads began to appear in April.”

- David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World

Recent Mark Zuckerberg Quotes:

"Before we do anything there, I'm personally spending a lot of time studying it and figuring out what I think the right thing to do is,"
he said, adding that he spends an hour a day studying Chinese.
Dec 22, 2010 Herald Sun (100 occurrences)

...founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who calls the social network's interactions-centered concept as the "social graph", said during an interview with the "60 Minutes" CBS show: "I think what we've found is that when you can use products with...
Dec 29, 2010 TopNews United States (50 occurrences)

On his Facebook page, Mr. Zuckerberg said it was "a real honor and recognition of how our little team is building something that hundreds of millions of people want to use to make the world more open and connected."
Dec 26, 2010 Washington Times (24 occurrences)

"Privacy and making sure people have control over their information is, I think, one of the most fundamental things on the Internet," Zuckerberg said in a 60 Minutesinterview on Dec. 5.
Jan 12, 2011 WBIR-TV (8 occurrences)

At a talk this fall to aspiring entrepreneurs in Palo Alto, Calif., Zuckerberg said he was hoping to figure out the "right partnerships that we would need to do in China to succeed on our terms."
Dec 22, 2010 Herald Sun (10 occurrences)

"People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people," he told TechCrunch this month."That social norm is just something that has evolved over time."
Jan 17, 2011 New York Daily News (377 occurrences)

"The Farm Bureau agreed to sell us and we in return have agreed not to sell farm subsidies," Zuckerberg said in an account on
Jan 11, 2011 Reuters Blogs (blog) (15 occurrences)

"Most applications are going to become social, and most industries are going to be rethought in a way where social design and doing things with your friends is at the core of how these things work," he said.
Jan 2, 2011 Warc (27 occurrences)

"I don't care about the money," said Zuckerberg. "I just want my old life back."
Jan 9, 2011 (blog) (10 occurrences)

Alone Together from WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show by (WNYC, New York Public Radio)

MIT professor Sherry Turkle discusses her new book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, in which she examines how technology is diminishing our face-to-face contact and why that matters. The podcast will be available shortly, on this webpage.

Today: Tiger Mother from BBC Podcast - Best of Today

The award for controversial book of the year so far for concerned parents has to be Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The author is a Chinese American academic at Yale and it plots her "tough mothering" style of parenting. Evan spoke to the writer Amy Chua to explain her thinking. Listen to the podcast.

David A. Vise, Mark Malseed: The Google Story

In November 2005, David A Vise wrote “What Lurks in Its Soul?” for The Washington Post. Google doesn't need all that computer power to help us search for the best Italian restaurant in Northern Virginia. It has grander plans. The company is quietly working with maverick biologist Craig Venter and others on groundbreaking genetic and biological research. Google's immense capacity and turbo-charged search technology, it turns out, appears to be an ideal match for the large amount of data contained in the human genome. Venter and others say that the search engine has the ability to deal with so many variables at once that its use could lead to the discovery of new medicines or cures for diseases. Sergey Brin says searching all of the world's information includes examining the genetic makeup of our own bodies, and he foresees a day when each of us will be able to learn more about our own predisposition for various illnesses, allergies and other important biological predictors by comparing our personal genetic code with the human genome, a process known as "Googling Your Genes."
“Soon after moving into their new offices in Palo Alto, Google expanded to eight employees and struggled to keep up with the growing number of daily searches. Its unique system of computing, which adapted cheap PC parts and custom software into a small supercomputer, gave it the power to handle a rising number of search requests and ever larger downloads of the Web.”

- David A. Vise and Mark Malseed, authors of the book: The Google Story

“We have been wrong on lots of occasions. It was the quality of the service that Google provided that was demonstrably better than you could get anywhere else. That is why we invested. And as the Internet developed, we thought search would be more important, not less important.”

- Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital

The Googleplex  
In November 2005, Janet Maslin wrote “Sorting the World by Design” for The New York Times. "The Google Story," by David A. Vise and Mark Malseed, describes the lava lamps, AstroTurf, beach volleyball, celebrity-caliber fried chicken and touch-pad-controlled toilets that have given Google's cloistered Googleplex campus in Mountain View, Calif., its much-vaunted Peter Pan atmosphere. On a different note, "The Google Story" also includes an aerial view of the Googleplex taken from a B-24 bomber, with a machine gun visible in the foreground. Sunny or sinister? Either is a way to describe Google's fast, unstoppable rise from humble academic beginnings at Stanford University to (in the words of the author of "The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture," John Battelle) "holding the world by the thoughts."
“Moritz had first met Brin and Page through Yahoo’s David Filo back when they were stil students at Stanford. Moritz and his firm, Sequoia Capital, and backed Yahoo with $2 million and reaped a big gain from Yahoo’s $32 million IPO in 1996. Around that same time, Brin and Page were gathering information about starting a company, including valuation methods and other techniques, so they could work out an agreement with Stanford that would facilitate the patenting of PageRank and enable them to license it from the school.”

- David A. Vise and Mark Malseed, authors of the book: The Google Story

“With tech-savvy early investors such as CEO Jeff Bezos to provide them with advice, Brin and Page decided to reach out simultaneously to two of the most established and prestigious venture capital firms in Silicon Valley: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Sequoia Capital. If Things went well, their goal was to get both firms to pump cash into Google while leaving neither in charge of the company.”

- David A. Vise and Mark Malseed, authors of the book: The Google Story
In January 2006, John Lanchester wrote “Engine trouble” for The Guardian. Google is the only multi-billion-dollar company in the world that is also a spelling mistake. Back in the palaeolithic era (that's the palaeolithic era in the internet sense, i.e. autumn 1997), its co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were graduate computer science students at Stanford. They were working on an insanely cool new search engine, wanted to incorporate it as a company, and needed to find a name. David Vise, in his breezy book The Google Story, tells how they came up with one. A fellow graduate student suggested to Page and Brin that they use the name given to what is sometimes, erroneously or metaphorically, called the largest number, 10100: google. They looked up the name on the internet, found that it wasn't taken, and registered their brand-new brand, The next morning they found that the reason the name hadn't been taken was because it should be spelled googol - and that had, of course, already been bagged. Lesser men might have considered that a bad omen, but Page and Brin are not bad-omen kind of guys. A little more than eight years later, Google is the fastest-growing company in the history of the world - with, at the time of writing, a market capitalisation of $129bn. Page and Brin, the Wallace and Gromit of the information age, are worth more than $10bn each.
“Brin and Page were persuaded that they had found the path toward a Ph.D. thesis by applying PageRank to the Internet. By early 1997, Page had developed a primitive search engine that he named BackRub because it dealt with the incoming—or “back”—links to Web pages. Ever thrifty, Page put his left hand on a scanner, converted the image to black and white, and the new BackRub site had its logo. Page, Brin, and Motwani all contributed ideas to the evolving project. Motwani said that it would soon become clear that what they had created together was more than just a way to further their academic research. Without intending to, the trio had devised a ranking system for the Internet.”

- David A. Vise and Mark Malseed, authors of the book: The Google Story