Wired magazine Senior Editor Steven Levy is our single guest for this podcast, talking about his new book In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives.
Levy has also written two books about Apple and in the 1980’s wrote Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. In this conversation, we talk about the early days of Google and how founders Page and Brin did things their own way, starting with 2 lead venture capital firms. We talk about the company’s culture of hiring only the brightest people, pampering them with free food and other amenities to maintain the atmosphere of a college campus. Levy relates how a Playboy interview almost derailed the IPO, conducted as an auction over the objections of the bankers. He talks about wins and losses, the latter including Google’s foray into China and the flop called Google Video that was corrected with the acquisition of YouTube. We talk about the ambitious plan to digitize all books, the ongoing emphasis on innovation, and the battle with former ally Apple over smart phones.