March Lowell Andreessen was born on July 9, 1971 at Cedar Falls, Iowa, and raised in New Lisbon, Wisconsin by Patricia and Lowell Andreessen (Markoff, 1994). Marc Andreessen’s educational experience included completing a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a summer internship at IBM in Austin, Texas (Payment, 2006). The yearning to discover and explore the many possibilities of the unknown has influenced Marc Andreessen to begin his quest for innovative ideas, which included teaching himself to program computers based on the information he obtained from library books (Payment, 2006). Marc Andreessen’s inventions were marked significantly with the creation of Mosaic, the first widely used web browser that made it easier for an individual to use the World Wide Web (Intruders: Inside Innovation, 2012). Marc Andreessen’s successful creation of Mosaic emphasized his desire to unlock information and to make it readily available for public consumption (Intruders: Inside Innovation, 2012). Marc Andreessen’s different creations provided opportunities for the public not only to access and use available information, but also to transform information into more innovative and productive ideas (Intruders: Inside Innovation, 2012).
Marc Andreessen, together with Jim Clark, co-founded Netscape, which paved the way for the development of Netscape Communications and the flagship Web browser, Netscape Navigator (Rogers, 2012). Netscape Navigator was the name that replaced Mosaic, which was one of the early web browsers that enabled browsing for information in the World Wide Web (Rogers, 2012). The name change resulted from the unfavorable reaction by the University of Illinois, which also prompted the company’s name to be changed from Mosaic Communications to Netscape Communications (Rogers, 2012). Furthermore, Netscape Navigator featured the Netscape Composer that enabled the use of Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) programming and design as part of enhancing hyperlink text, images, and graphics in the Web (Rogers, 2012). The emergence of the browser wars, specifically the introduction of the Internet Explorer by Microsoft, and the lack of immediate updates to address the different technical flaws of Netscape Navigator, led to the falling of Netscape Communications (Businesswire, 1999). Prior to AOL purchase of Netscape, the source code for Netscape Navigator was released that created the Mozilla Organization (Businesswire, 1999). This source code was rewritten based on the Gecko rendering engine, which was later used to develop Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox browser (Rogers, 2012).
Marc Andreessen is extremely knowledgeable not only in the field of innovative technologies, but as well as in establishing highly profitable business with fellow business minded individuals (Intruders: Inside Innovation, 2012). His extreme intelligence and business-savvyness paved the way to the development of more partnerships and technology-based discoveries (Andreessen, 2012). This included co-founding Ning, Loudcloud, Opsware, Twitter, and Qik (Andreessen, 2012). Moreover, Marc Andreessen continued to build his vast business folder by establishing portfolio holdings, together with business partner Ben Horowtiz, which included Facebook, Foursquare, Plazes, Netvibes, CastTV, RockMelt, GitHub, Digg, Pinterest, Skype, Twitter, Jawbone, Groupon, LinkedIn, and Zynga (Andreessen Horowitz, 2012).
Today, Marc Andreessen’s eagerness and aggressiveness continues to propel the emergence of different business start-ups, ventures, and innovative creations (Perlroth, 2012). Instagram is one of business ventures that Marc Andreessen invested for a short period of time (Perlroth, 2012). Instagram was sold to Facebook for a considerable amount, which Silicon Valley market thought could have been worth much more, should Marc Andreessen preserved his investment interest in the said mobile application (Perlroth, 2012).
The many successes of Marc Andreessen eventually facilitated the birth of newer and younger innovators, which included Larry Page and Sergey Brin who are the co-founders of the well-known multinational corporation, Google. Larry Page was born on March 26, 1973 in East Lansing, Michigan to Carl and Gloria Page (Google, 2012). Larry’s parents are both highly educated and recognized in their respective fields (Google, 2012). Larry’s father, Carl Page, obtained his doctoral degree in computer science in 1965 and is considered as a pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence (Google, 2012). Meanwhile, Larry’s mother, Gloria Page, was a computer science professor at Michigan State University (Google, 2012). Larry Page’s educational background included completing a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in computer science from Stanford University (Google, 2012). In 1988, Larry Page co-founded Google with Sergey Brin while the former was pursuing his doctoral degree in Stanford University (Google, 2012). Larry Page became the first Chief Executive Officer of Google in 1988 until 2001, and from 2001 to 2011, he was president of products (Google, 2012).
Meanwhile, Sergey Brin was born on August 21, 1973 in Moscow, Russia to Michael and Eugenia Brin. Sergey was six years old when his family decided to migrate to America (Google, 2012). The Brin family’s life in Russia was filled with many challenges since they are Jewish, which led to lesser opportunities to obtain better standards of living (Google, 2012). The migration to the United States opened the doors for Sergey’s family to obtain a more humane and suitable way of living (Google, 2012). Sergey’s educational background began with homeschooling where Sergey’s father nurtured Sergey’s interest in mathematics and Russian-language skills (Google, 2012). In 1993, Sergey received his bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics with honors from the University of Maryland. Sergey completed his graduate degree in computer science at Stanford University, where he obtained a graduate fellowship from the National Science Foundation, in 1993 (Google, 2012). In the same year, Sergey was an intern at Wolfram Research, who is the maker of Mathematica (Google, 2012). Sergey published many academic papers, which included: (a) Extracting Patters and Relations from the World Wide Web; (b) Dynamic Data Mining: A New Architecture for Data with High Dimensionality (published with Larry Page); (c) Scalable Techniques for Mining Casual Structures; (d) Dynamic Itemset Counting and Implication Rules for Market Basket Data; and (e) Beyond Market Baskets: Generalizing Association Rules to Correlations (Google, 2012).
Larry Page met Sergey Brin at Stanford University in 1995 (Google, 2012). They built a search engine, which was initially called BackRub, in 1996 and featured links that was used to determine the status and importance of individual webpages (Google, 2012). Google, Inc. was founded in 1988, where the name Google was derived from playing with the word “googol”, which is a mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeroes (Google, 2012). Google, Inc.’s initial investment of $100,000 was provided by Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim (Google, 2012).
Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s research on a better system to determine websites’ relevance and importance prompted the birth of Google as today’s significantly used search engine (Google, 2012). The popularity and usefulness of Google’s PageRank mechanism led to the company’s financial growth and development (Google, 2012). Google, Inc.’s financial status led to the establishment of different business partnerships and acquisitions, including (a) Keyhole, Inc. in 2004, which developed the product, Earth Viewer, and eventually was renamed to Google Earth in 2005; (b) GrandCentral in 2007, which was later changed to Google Voice; (c) On2 Technologies in 2009, which was a video software maker; (d) Aardvark in 2009, which was a social network search engine; and (d) Agnilux in 2010, which was a hardware startup (Google, 2012).
Today, Google, Inc. does not only own one of the most popular search engine, but also the development of other innovative and productive technologies, including (a) Google Chrome (Google’s open source Internet browser); (b) Google Plus (Google’s social networking site – a counterpart of Facebook); (c) Google Docs (Google’s free online productivity suite); (d) Google Apps (Google’s mobile and web-based enterprise service offering); (e) Google Goggles (Google’s mobile application for image recognition and non-text-based search); and (f) Google Wallet (Google’s wireless payments) (Google, 2012).
Marc Andreessen, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin share many things in common, which include but not limited to (a) the desire to go beyond the norm of conventional learning and discovery of innovative and ingenious technologies; (b) reaching what seemed to be impossible from what is currently available to public communication, collaboration, and understanding; (c) the development of highly creative and productive ideas that will reap both financial and intellectual rewards; (d) the initiative to contribute to society in the form of philanthropic projects that serve the common good; and (e) the discoveries of innovative solutions that would benefit human society.
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