I think one thing that Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin] have in common, and they’re both the children of academics, is a real intellectual curiosity. They want to understand how the world works.
They come to that with a very scientific approach, a very logical approach to understanding what happens if you do A, what is result B going to be. And so I think that’s the basis for the connection that they have. It’s a common pursuit of knowledge. And the differences between them—Larry, I think—well, they’re both very bright. Larry is more of a visionary. Larry is always looking far down the road—five years, ten years—to what technology has the potential to deliver. And so he constantly amazed me with his insights into where the industry was going way before things were generally recognized as going to be important.
That doesn’t mean he’s infallible. I think certainly social networking was something that was not on his radar for a long time. But Sergey is more, I think, attuned to business opportunities and is more of an entrepreneur and possibly more of a traditional manager. He understands the business side.
Again, there are shades of grey there because Larry is certainly very astute when it comes to business as well. Sergey has a much more direct sense of humor. He is a jokester and he loves to play practical jokes on April Fools; a very sly sense of humor and very quick witted. Larry is a little more reserved and quieter in public settings.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think’s studio.