In this month's GQ, there's an article giving some background of the startup of Google. Some of you may know my respect for Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google, for using the rational and ethical Dutch auction process to bring Google public. Also, they have given more than one nod to Warren Buffett, a student of Benjamin Graham, a hero of mine. But my eye was caught by a passing mention of the Google founders' interest in commercial space launch.
[Eric Schmidt] found himself frequently occupied with grounding Larry and Sergey’s flights of fancy. There was the time the boys suggested having Google enter the business of low-cost space launchings. And the time Larry reportedly tried to ban telephones from a new Google office building.
I don't particularly like the way this is mentioned by the writer -- a "flight of fancy" rather than merely a difficult thing to do. Have we lost all imagination in this country for working to set the old order on its head? But of course I can see where space launch is well outside the core business of Google. ;-)
This gives us another picture on Larry Page's recently-announced involvement in the X-Prize Foundation, but also it demonstrates that there is something of a critical mass of serious independent iconoclasts interested in the problem of extreme U.S. launch costs. It also heartens me to see this group skewing to my generation of young 30-something Gen X'ers without direct memory of the Apollo Program. The money that this group potentially brings to the table is important, but I find the fact that these folks didn't earn the bulk of their money from working as a contractor for the government to be of special importance. (NB: As I recall, Brin's mother works at the Goddard Modeling and Assimilation Office here in the D.C. area.)
My mom might be interested in knowing that both Page and Brin went to Montessori schools.