76 Steven Levy Quotes on In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition and Google - Quotes.pub

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An integral part of a public offering is a “road show,” during which company leaders pitch their prospects to bankers and investment gurus. Brin and Page refused to see themselves as supplicants. According to Lise Buyer, the founders routinely spurned any advice from the experienced financial team they’d hired to guide them through the process. “If you told them you couldn’t do something a certain way, they would think you were an idiot,” she says. The tone of the road-show presentations was set early, as Brin and Page introduced themselves by first names, an opening more appropriate for bistro waiters than potential captains of industry. And of course they weren’t attired like executives—the day of their presentation of Google’s case to investors was one more in a lifetime of casual dress days for them. Google had prepared a video to promote the company, but viewers considered it amateurish. It was poorly lit and wasn’t even enlivened by the customary upbeat musical sound track. Though anyone who read the prospectus should have been prepared for that, some investors had difficulty with the heresy that Google was willing to forgo some profits for its founders’ idealistic views of what made the world a better place. On the video Brin cautioned that Google might apply its resources “to ameliorate a number of the world’s problems.” Probably the low point of the road show was a massive session involving 1,500 potential investors at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York. Brin and Page caused a firestorm by refusing to answer many questions, cracking jokes instead. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Some investors sitting in the ballroom began speculating with each other whether the executives had spent any time practicing the presentation, or if they were winging it.” The latter was in fact the case—despite the desperate urging of Google’s IPO team, Page and Brin had refused to perform even a cursory run-through.