Sergey says that luck played a big part in the early success of the company: "We became profitable just as the market (for Internet stocks) tanked. If we had started six months later, it might have been a different story."
Rajeev Motwani, the Stanford professor who advised graduate students Larry and Sergey, remembers how it all happened. The World Wide Web, he said, was coming into its own:
Sergey Brin and Larry Page were running a search engine out of Stanford. These 21-year-olds would come in and make demands on me—we need more disk space because we're crawling the Web and it's getting bigger, we need to buy more disks.... I'd give them more money and they'd go buy more disks. At some point these guys said, we want to do a company. Everybody said, you must be out of your minds. There are like 37 search engines out there and what are you guys going to do? How are you going to raise money, how will you build a company and these two guys said, we'll just do it and they went off and did it.
The next thing Motwani knew, the pair had built a global enterprise. "It's just amazing, just feels like a part of a little bit of history and I contributed a little bit to that history. Now I have become a start-up junkie."
At first, they tried and failed to sell their technology. At that point, Page and Brin gave up and returned to their research. They knew there was still life in the idea and followed David Filo's advice to begin their own company.