Google's IPO 10 Years Later

Anniversary of landmark Stock Offering

It was a company known for lava lamps, dogs hanging out under desks, and big bouncy balls for employees to sit on.

As co-founder Sergey Brin said, "The important thing is to be serious in your business, but foolish in your culture."

Then, on August 19, 2004, Google went public, and changed Silicon Valley, and the tech industry along with it.

You may not remember, but many were skeptical about Google's IPO: There already was a Yahoo, an Amazon, and an Ask Jeeves. Was search really a long-term business plan?

Google proved everybody wrong, except their investors. Those men and women became very wealthy, as Google shares move steadily upward. Now, after gains of 1,300% over a decade, Google's market value is the third largest in America, trailing only Apple and Exxon.

The co-founders are worth about $30 billion each, and many Googlers have gone on to start new startups, or help run giant companies, like Yahoo, Twitter, and Facebook.

Google, meanwhile, is putting lots of that stock money to use: In addition to the wildly profitable search business, the company has rolled out cars to map the planet, cars to drive themselves, and the popular and controversial "Glass" project. And, don't forget the money spent to buy YouTube and Nest.

Google has its eye on the future, and will no doubt continue to make money, deal with privacy concerns, and push the technology envelope.

Scott can be searched on Twitter: @scottbudman

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