Google guys: plane crazy and underwear obsessed

Since we’re on the subject of Google, I might as well mention what is likely the single best Google story to cross my desk in as long as I’ve been writing this column (Thanks, Frank). Recounted by Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff TM at the 2005 SIIA Information Industry Summit in New York in February, it’s off-putting for all Wolff’s self-aggrandizement, but it’s really too amusing not to pass on. Plus it lends credence to my conviction that as much as Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page insist they’re not distracted by their new wealth, they are. There’s a large aircraft in each of their heads. And someday it will taxi out. Onward … Early last year, Wolff attended a conference here on the West Coast. No idea what the theme was, but apparently it was the sort of event where you run into folks like the Google guys and someone Wolff likes to refer to as “the mysterious billionaire.” Invited to travel to L.A. on the private jet of said billionaire, Wolff encountered Page and Brin. “And I said, ‘Are you going out to L.A.?’ And they said, ‘No, we’re just going out to see the plane ’cause we’re going to get planes.’ So we all go out and see the plane. They run through the plane: ‘Isn’t this cool, isn’t this great? Can you do this? Can you do that?’ And I suppose it’s exactly how I would react if I were in the position to buy a 767.” At some point the conversation turns to business, and the mysterious billionaire begins to question Brin and Page about theirs. If he was sniffing about for pre-IPO insights though, he didn’t get any. What he got instead was was either a momentary brainstorm or an unsettling insight into the right brains of the Google guys. “Larry Page and Sergey Brin didn’t want to really talk about the Google business,” Wolff continued. “They wanted to talk about another idea that they had. And the idea was — this is an appropriate pause — for Google underwear. And we spent the next hour sitting in this plane talking about the underwear business. We talked about Google boxers and Google briefs and the fortuitous circumstance that Google with the two ‘Os’ would make an incredible bra.”

 
 

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  • Brian Y

    I Have Google underwear. Back when Google was ramping up, they were promoting their University search on campuses, perhaps as a way to get a toehold with the tech savvy younger crowd. If you went to, say, http://www.google.com/Princeton and jumped through some hoops, you’d get Google boxers sent to you. Maybe it’s time to put those things on eBay…

 
 
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