The journey from a garage to a Googleplex might seem like an impossible one to take but it’s exactly what Sergey Brin and Larry Page did just 20 years ago.
They’re not the only to have achieved it, with several of the biggest companies in the world today having started out as friends in a garage working on a dream. Whether it was the Disney brothers drawing cartoons or Mr Hewlett and Mr Packard inventing and tossing a coin to see whose name came first in the company branding.
So, right now, you might be at that stage, with barely enough money in the company coffers to have a coin to toss, but, courtesy of HomeAdvisor here’s the floorplans to four garages that changed the world to show you that it can happen to you too:
The Garage Where Google Was Born
Today, a Google Garage is a workshop that travels around the world teaching businesses how to get the best out of their digital marketing and their websites. But twenty years ago there was only one Google Garage and it contained everything that was Google, including founders Brin and Page, two Stanford Ph.D students.
They rented it from Susan Wojcicki, who can’t have even imagined what kind of lasting global impact was being made in her garage.
Today it’s owned by Google as a lasting tribute to the inspiration of those early days in the late 1990s, when Brin and Page worked on creating a search engine that they believed would be the world’s best.
When they launched it, the world quickly agreed with them and soon searching for something on the internet became widely known as ‘Googling it’.
In January 2018 it had almost 75% of the search engine market share and 98% of it on phones and tablets, and Brin and Page are both billionaires.
The HP Garage
Today, we all know Hewlett-Packard for its impact on the world of technology. Once, however, it was just two guys working in a small garage in the back yard of a house owned by Dave Packard and his wife.
Bill Hewlett lived in a shed also on the property, to demonstrate how sophisticated and glamorous this arrangement was.
Like Page and Brin, they were from Stanford University and had a dream to change the way we use technology, in their case their first invention was an audio oscillator.
They were eager to look like a company that wasn’t based in their own back yard. So when they completed their first oscillator, they gave it the name HP200A, thus giving themselves the illusion of being more established than they were.
It was enough to convince Disney to buy some of them to use in Fantasia. HP’s ‘fake it til you make it’ approach helped them to grow out of their garage to become one of the world’s leading technology companies.
That’s a position HP still holds today, while the garage itself is a private museum and on the US National Register of Historic Places.
Here’s Where Disney Was Born
We’ve mentioned Disney already for the part they played in the growth of Hewlett-Packard, but it was a company that wasn’t long out of the garage itself at that point.
Walt Disney had made some animations back home in Missouri but things weren’t working out. So he followed his brother Roy to Hollywood, where they lived with their Uncle Robert and used his garage as a lo-fi studio to work on their early attempts to hit the big time.
These included drawing Oswald The Lucky Rabbit for Universal. The garage was a perfectly fine location for two talented brothers to hone their storytelling craft before moving on to their own Mickey Mouse cartoons, which paved the way for Silly Symphonies and Snow White on the path to world domination.
The famous garage is now a small museum to those early Disney days, having been moved to the Stanley Ranch museum in the 1980s when it looked like it would be lost to history.
The Garage Apple Started In
We end our look at these famous garages with the most well-known of all. The story of how Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs (and Ronald Wayne for a time) created the company we know and love today as Apple is one of America’s great success stories.
Wozniak had worked for Hewlett-Packard. When he was inspired to build his own computer he turned to his friend Jobs to get it done and turned into something they could sell, so they worked on it in Jobs’ family garage.
Those early buccaneering days were followed by tougher times for Apple and its founding duo, with both Wozniak and Jobs leaving in the 80s while the company floundered.
It wasn’t until Jobs returned in 1997 that the magic returned to the brand and it launched hit after hit with the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad all revolutionizing the way we live and work.
He died in 2011, but left a legacy of inspiration and success that most of us can only dream of.
And it all started in this garage, which begs the question, what could you be doing with yours?