5.2. THE REQUISITE GARAGE
The story of a high-tech company starting in a California garage is a cliché for sure. Perhaps it is a required step on the path to success. As far back as 1938, Stanford graduates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard began their company in a Palo Alto garage. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built their first Apple computer in a garage in the nearby community of Los Altos.
When Google had to move out of Gates 360, their Stanford graduate school office, and Larry's Stanford dorm room, Page and Brin rented a spare bedroom and garage space in the home of Sergey's girlfriend's sister, Susan Wojcicki. Wojcicki insisted that they enter the house through the garage.
"It's a very humble house, less than 2,000 square feet," Wojcicki said of 232 Santa Margarita Avenue. Wojcicki bought the Menlo Park residence shortly after earning her MBA in 1998. The purchase price was about $600,000. She rented part of it to help cover the mortgage. The four-bedroom ranch-style house on a tree-lined street proved convenient for the young entrepreneurs, since it came with a washer, dryer, hot tub, and parking spaces.
Just eight years after its beginning on Santa Margarita Avenue, Google purchased the now-historic property. Google did not reveal the price it paid, but the value of the truly modest house by 2006 was estimated at $1.2 million.
A nice profit on real estate isn't all that Susan Wojcicki got from being the landlady. She took an early job at the company and now is one of Google's ...