15 thoughts on “Just Saying: Google Didn't Start In a Downturn”

  1. The dotcom crash started in March 2000, not 2001. AdWords was started three months later, in June 2000, and launched three months after that. So while you are right that Google didn’t actually start in a downturn, it did achieve profitability during a downturn.

  2. Extreme innovations have not much to do with downturns. Most of the time it is need based. In silicon valley, most of the companies are just to expensive .. I have seen so many startup having 10-15 million dollar pumped in .. All they develop is widgets for facebook or some small game for i-phone. I don’t think startup needs so much money to innovate whether in good time or bad time. I really endorse view of Paul Graham who stress on keeping operating cost as low as possible.

  3. @Ron

    You can nitpick on the details but it is clear that the myth of google being this great thing that started in a downturn is just that — a myth. the idea of adwords well, i don’t have the precise date on when it became live, but the idea wasn’t “downturn” inspired. It just happened to coincide with the bad times and it was the only ad-model people were willing to experiment with.

  4. Om,

    Good point about Googke, but Oracle was founded in 1977, between recessions. While it’s true the economy was far from terrific and the sock market was going sideways in 1977, that’s not the same as saying it was founded in a downturn. A list of recessions can be found here:


    I mention this because it came up in a recent thread here ( http://gigaom.com/2008/09/30/how-wall-street-can-hurt-silicon-valley/#comment-902306 ). Some tech giants were founded in recessions and downturns, but just as many weren’t.

    More important, the ones that were had their starts at the end of recessions or depressions. Many economists are expecting this downturn to last several years, so if you follow this logic – and I don’t think you should – one should wait three or four years to found a start-up.


  5. The write-up is quite logical and real in the backdrop of facts presented by you. While the Oracle success story certainly seems to be of the “genre” that you want to highlight and the Google success story may not be actually that of a startup getting success in downturn.

  6. The ‘myth’ is pretty much a feel-good statement from the industry, so people will keep trying.

    And BTW, both Microsoft and Apple were founded in the mid-70s, just a couple years after the oil embargo and right during some of the worst days of that crisis.

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