In just fifteen years, Google’s journey has been extraordinary. Founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have driven the wheels of the company to an uninhabited peak that no one thought existed. Commemorating this journey, Fortune has chronicled the journey of CEO Larry Page and have spoken to several executives and employees, including Page himself to get an insight on how the most ambitious CEO in the world behaves in his everyday life managing the search giant.
The feature begins with an inside joke on Page that often is made in the corridors of the Google offices.
“A brainiac who works in the lab walks into Page’s office one day wielding his latest world-changing invention-a time machine,” as author Miguel Helft tells it. “As the scientist reaches for the power cord to begin a demo, Page fires off a dismissive question: ‘Why do you need to plug it in?'”
The general sentiment that comes across the article is that Page is looked upon as a visionary, with attention to detail and a long-term planner. He sets high expectations and challenges employees every step of the way. Head of Google X Astro Teller says, “He wants to make sure there was a moon shot after the moon shot, reminding us that his ambitions are this high,” he says, raising his hand well above his head, “helps people aspire to more.”
Andy Conrad, who leads the lab’s newest futuristic project—ingestible nanoparticles that would monitor people for diseases—says discussing ideas with Page is a singular experience: “You feel terrified, inspired, and nurtured at the same time.”
Alex Gawley, who is the director of product management for Gmail, says that Page brags about Google products at every chance he gets.But internally, he is just as critical about them and does not shame from voicing his worries. Gawley says that he often finds himself on the receiving end of Page’s grousing. He frequently finds missives from Page in his inbox with very focused questions. “Sometimes it comes in flurries,” says Gawley. “He gets in this zone, and he spots two or three things.”
The report states that in his three years as CEO, he has single-handedly pushed the entire company to put mobile first, making Google more powerful than ever. His focus is always on expanding core businesses—search, ads, maps, Gmail, apps, Chrome, YouTube, Android, and more—and growing it at a healthy clip and touching every area of computing, that has in the end earned him the title of Fortune’s 2014 Businessperson of the Year.
Page himself tells Fortune about his vision of making a broader impact in the world. “I used to have this debate with Steve Jobs, and he would always say, ‘You guys are doing too much stuff.’He did a good job of doing one or two things really well.” While the formula worked wonders for Apple, we’d like to have a bigger impact on the world by doing more things,” he said.
Google’s original mission—“to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”—once seemed preposterously audacious. Today that vision “is probably a bit too narrow,” Page says. He wants the company he co-founded as a Stanford grad student to continue altering the world in ways unimaginable to most.
With Google’s upcoming projects that include driverless cars, high-tech balloons, nanoparticles and robots, Page’s long term vision to impact the world sure does looks promising.