Thursday, November 15, 2007


Ms Brown was not in a position to haggle. She was recently divorced and living with her sister, so when a small technology start-up offered her a job in 1999, she welcomed it with open arms. The post paid $450 a week, plus a pile of what were then worthless stock options. She was the 41st employee of the organization, which, like many other startups, was incorporated in a garage by two students.

Today, nine years later, the company has 15,916 employees, sports a revenue of $10.6 billion (2006), has a stock market worth of $207 billion, and is the most popular name on the internet—Google. Ms Brown is one of the 1000 employees who have accrued fortunes of at least $5 million apiece from the web-giant.

Oh, did I tell you about Ms Brown's job profile? She was hired as a masseuse. After five years of kneading engineers’ backs, she retired, cashing in most of her stock options, which were worth millions of dollars. Phoebe, are you listening?

Google shares recently hit an all-time high of $747.24, up nearly 900% from their debut. “I saved enough stock for a rainy day, and lately it’s been pouring,” Ms Brown said. “Every time I give some away, it just keeps filling up again,” she told The New York Times of the fortune that she reaped from her former employer in the course of just five years. She now owns a large house of her own and spends time travelling the world overseeing the charitable foundation that she founded with her windfall.

She is also looking for a publisher for her memoir—"Giigle: How I Got Lucky Massaging Google". And as you would expect, these days, at least once a week, she splashes out on her own private masseuse.

PS: The Google search engine was originally nicknamed "BackRub" (because the system checked backlinks to estimate a site's importance). I wonder whether that was Ms Brown's suggestion.


Anadi Misra said...

Seems Like I am the 1st one commenting on your blogs of late...Amongst other things, it also indicates boredom and vellapan...

Khair, pretty informative post...wish I had that kind of luck...:)

ashes said...

Yes, you are a true friend! A lot of other people read it, but do not comment, or comment using the wrong means of communication...

To have that kind of a luck, you will first have to join a startup :)

Cuckoo said...

Am I late ? Was away traveling. Hmmm... I can see you've done two posts in my absence. :-)

This one is quite an informative post. She was just plain fortunate one. When I buy stocks, sometimes the company wraps up leaving me in lurch.

ashes said...


There is no denying the credit to Ms Brown's fortune, but she also had a large risk appetite, and the courage to work for such an unknown name. are talking about buying stocks of companies which are anyways no longer startups by the time they get listed; she had received them as ESOPs. But if you have that kind of a luck with stocks, please let me know what all do you buy, I'll never try my luck there. ;)

Animesh said...

Comment nahi karne walo pe potshot!
ye le comment :)

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