Multi-billion dollar tech businesses, from Microsoft to Amazon, had interesting origin stories: most of them from inside a rented garage space.
Microsoft, Google and Amazon have become such prominent companies that any announcement by them makes headlines worldwide. If their owners or Chief Operating Officers visit a country, the head of state will make time to meet with them personally. Top technocrats angle to get a permanent job in such firms. Unlike Rockefeller or Trump, who inherited businesses from their forebears, companies like Microsoft, Google or Amazon had humble beginnings. They were started at rented accommodation, and many of them in garages.
Here we take you through 5 interesting Silicon Valley Success Stories of how the global giants started their journeys with limited resources.
1) Hewlett Packard – Making The Garage a Part of Pop Culture
Silicon Valley has the headquarters of some of world’s biggest tech companies. It’s a dream for any software engineer to have a job there. But, do you know that the birth place of such a high-rated place was a garage? In 1938, two college friends Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started their dream project – HP — in a 12X18 foot garage near Stanford University in Palo Alto. Their hard work and high-level of imagination bore fruit as the company went on to establish itself as the behemoth of Silicon Valley.
The garage was officially dedicated as the birthplace of Silicon Valley in 1989. The HP acquired the place in 2000 and converted it to a heritage property.
Watch: Hewlett Packard – The Original Garage Monster
2) Apple – A Tale of Two Steves
Steve Jobs changed the face of computers, laptops and mobile phones through his visionary ideas at Apple. He not only converted the organization into a multi-billion entity, but also established Apple tech brands to a level of a status symbol. Jobs built his first computer at his parents Silicon Valley home. Jobs and Steve Wozniak used a garage to produce the first 50 Apple computers in 1976. The house was later designated as a historic resource by the Los Altos Historical Commission.
Jobs and Steve Wozniak used a garage to produce the first 50 Apple computers in 1976.
Just two years later, the company went public and by 1990, Apple’s share was at its peak. Six years later, the company was about to be doomed, but Jobs took over as CEO in the late 1990s and with products like Mac, he changed the course of history.
Watch: Steve Wozniak retells Apple’s Origin Story
3) Microsoft – Bill and Paul go to a Motel
In 1975, when most Americans were using typewriters, Bill Gates and Paul Allen came up with a revolutionary idea as they established Microsoft which would lead Gates to the become the youngest ‘world’s richest person’ at 31 in 1987.
The interesting part of the giant firm was that it was established in a motel called Sundowner in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The company moved to Washington in 1979 and took little time in becoming one of world’s biggest companies.
Microsoft was established by Gates and Allen in a motel called Sundowner in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
4) Google – Unheard Superwoman Wojcicki
The company is so famous that the unofficial name for an internet search is Google. Its search engine Hummingbird provides consumers with the best available search about anything they ask.
Google was built out of a garage belonging to Susan Wojcicki, who went on to become YouTube CEO.
However, in 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin paid employee no. 16, Susan Wojcicki $1,700 rent a month to work from a garage facility in her Menlo Park home. The idea clicked magnificently as just in a few years, Google became one of world’s most prominent companies.
Watch: What you didn’t know about Google and Susan Wojcicki
5) Adobe – Snubbed by Xerox, Solace by a Creek
Like Google and Amazon, Adobe would also start from a garage. John Warnock and Charles Geschke were working for XEROX PARC where they were developing a software called PostScript, a page description language. Xerox refused to take the product to the market.
The name Adobe came from a creek running behind Warnock’s home in Los Altos, California.
Frustrated, Warnock and Geschke left the job to start working more on the project. Short of funds, they established the company’s first office in Warnock’s garage. The company name came from Adobe Creek in Los Altos, California, which used to run behind Warnock’s home.
6) Oracle – The Miracle of 3 Engineers at Ampex
The company, initially known as the Software Development Laboratories, was established in 1977 by Larry Ellison and Bob Miner, computer programmers at the American electronics company — Ampex Corporation, and Ed Oates, Ellison’s supervisor. It was also known as the Relational Software Inc. (1979–82), and Oracle Systems Corporation (1982–95).
Watch: How Oracle’s Larry Ellison changed the World
The company is best known for its Oracle database software, such as Solaris and Java. Oracle is based in Redwood Shores, California.
7) Amazon – Sleepless in Seattle
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest person. In August, he became the first person to cross the $200-billion barrier in personal wealth. Amazon has established itself as the world’s biggest e-retail and cloud computing company. But the beginning of Amazon’s extraordinary origin story has an interesting incident behind it.
During the early days, Amazon employees had desks made out of Home Depot doors.
Bezos and his wife MacKenzie moved to a rented house in Seattle in 1995 only because it had a garage. The reason – because Bezos wanted to say that his company also started in a garage like HP and many other companies that followed.
For half a century, global technology landscape has been dominated by these titans. Perhaps, in the present day, some plucky entrepreneurs are bustling away in a garage of their own, developing the next revolution in computing.