Chapter #1: Where Wizards stay up late: The Origins of the Internet

Source: Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet

Authors: Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon

Chapter #1: pages 9 – 42


In chapter 1, Katie discusses the early players along with the plight to organize the government and gain funding on/for the new field of digital technology.  President Eisenhower took a very active role in brining some of the brightest scientific minds of America on board. The first director of ARPA, Advanced Research Project’s Agency, was Roy Johnson who was recruited by President Eisenhower’s main man Niel McElroy. He convinced Johnson to leave $160,000 job to go work for him making only $18,000 dollars (1).  The early people involved came from very different backgrounds to include Proctor and Gamble, a soap company, General Electric, and Lockheed to name a few; however, they all had one important goal in mind: convincing, no showing America the need and place of advanced technology. This amazing drive we can kindly thank the Russians for because the had launched the first satellite, Sputnik, into space proving to the world their superiority.

The more interesting part of chapter 1 is the peek into the early 1950/1960′s mindset on technology. Bob Talyor talked about how it dawned on them very early on that is was “that we ought to find a way to connect all these different machines” (2). This concept that everything is networked and easily works together from Macs to Windows to Android to printers was just a foreign concept at the time. It’s really a shame that we take for granted the ease of bumping our phones together to share our images. Another interesting part was when Katie described McElroy’s research model taken from his time at Proctor and Gamble and applied to ARPA. He felt that collecting the most talented and letting them work to produce amazing things: “He believed in the value of unfettered science, in its ability to produce remarkable, if not always predictable, results.” (3). This is very similar to the attitude Google used to build it’s empire of talent and can still be found in it’s core hiring policy:

We’re looking for our next Noogler – someone who’s good for the role, good for Google and good at lots of things.

Things move quickly around here. At Internet speed. That means we have to be nimble, both in how we work and how we hire. We look for people who are great at lots of things, love big challenges and welcome big changes. We can’t have too many specialists in just one particular area. We’re looking for people who are good for Google—and not just for right now, but for the long term.

This is the core of how we hire. Our process is pretty basic; the path to getting hired usually involves a first conversation with a recruiter, a phone interview and an onsite interview at one of our offices. But there are a few things we’ve baked in along the way that make getting hired at Google a little different.


The book: I’m Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 by Douglas Edwards, is an excellent look at the early process Google used to find and motivate some of the brightest people in tech to build the new accessible internet through search.



  1.  page 21, 2nd paragraph
  2. page 13, 3rd paragraph
  3. page 17, last paragraph

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