Fortunes 2020: Larry Page, Co-founder, Alphabet

A visionary already assured of his place in computing history, thanks to Google, Larry Page still has many irons in the fire.

A visionary already assured of his place in computing history, thanks to Google, Larry Page still has many irons in the fire.


When we think of the Gafa, typically the first name that springs to mind is Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. Ironically, the average man on the street would have to Google the name Larry Page to find out who he is. Yet his impact on early 21st century life has arguably been greater.  

Bona-fide geek
Born in 1973 into a Jewish family in Michigan, his parents were part of the first generation of IT ‘geeks’. His father, Carl Victor, who died in 1996, was a professor of computer science and AI at the University of North Carolina. His mother, Gloria, was a programming teacher.  

So it was logical, then, that the young Larry Page was inculcated in a tech universe made up of lines of code, scientific journals and discussions of a highly intellectual nature. Nikola Tesla was one of the idols of the young Page, who was the first student at his school to hand in his homework computer typed.

"Nikola Tesla was one of the idols of the young Page, who was the first student at his school to hand in his homework computer typed"
 

Slowly, Page began to deviate from his parents’ career trajectory: he wanted to put his IT nous into practical, rather than academic, use. A computer science graduate from the University of Michigan, Page moved to the Tech-Mecca of California and joined Stanford, a breeding ground for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. There, in 1995, he met Sergey Brin. At first, they were not close, but a passion for all things computer and a shared vision for a post-college business drove them together. In 1998, in the favored domain of tech startuppers, the suburban garage, they created Google.


Transhumanist
As a web engineer, Page occupies a lead role in the Google story. He is the inventor of the famous webpage ranking system which consists of bringing up the most popular search results to the top of the search engine page.

Alphabet has grown to such a size that bankruptcy or financial trouble is not on the agenda, even in these trying economic times. Many states do not dare attack an entity that has become, in some respects, as powerful as them. On the financial side, things continue to go well for Larry Page, who owns 26.1% of the group's shares and has a fortune of around $80 billion. Freed from some of his operational tasks, Page plans to focus more on his family, which includes his wife, the biologist Lucinda Southworth, and his two children, born in 2007 and 2009.

CEO of Google then of the parent company, Alphabet, Page vacated the position in December 2019 in favor of Sundai Pichar. Now mainly occupied with research on transhumanism, like other Californian billionaires such as Peter Thiel and Elon Musk.

The quest to extend the life of mankind through technology might sound far-fetched, but as the co-founder of Google likes to repeat, "anything you can imagine is probably achievable."
Especially if you have almost unlimited means at your disposal.

 

Read the full Special Report: Fortunes 2020

Covid ravaged the world economy in 2020, but as our Fortunes rankings prove, it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good.
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