In the Beginning would Google have advertised on Google?

WSJ has a book excerpt about the Beginning of Google

The Beginning

An insider recounts the early days: the bizarre job interview, April Fools' pranks that enraged users, roller hockey, platters of sushi—and the uneasy leap to the mainstream.


[google10]Getty Images/Michael Grecco; Google Type: Vault 49

Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 2002.

In November 1999, Douglas Edwards became fledgling Google's first "brand manager," making him employee No. 59. In this excerpt from his new book, "I'm Feeling Lucky," Mr. Edwards gives an inside view of the company's early days, starting with his job interview with co-founder Sergey Brin, then 26 years old.

One sentence that got me laughing with the irony is.

Saving lives was a better use of our budget than running ads, which just annoyed people to no effect—and were therefore evil.

The context of this sentence is the idea of spending the million dollars to save lives with medicine for brand awareness.

"I have a good idea," Sergey informed marketing manager Susan Wojcicki a couple of weeks after I started. "Why don't we take the marketing budget and use it to inoculate Chechen refugees against cholera. It will help our brand awareness, and we'll get more new people to use Google."

Our company was barely a year old at the time. We had no real revenue. Spending a million dollars of our investors' money on a land war in Asia would indeed be a revolutionary approach to growing market share.

Another piece of irony is the author discusses how he didn't feel good selling something he didn't believe in.  But, his worked at Google probably enabled way more sales of things he didn't believe in than if he had taken a different job than at Google.  It's kind of like I don't like being the guy who drops bombs in a war, so I am going to work on the Manhattan project.

I started my career working at ad agencies. It was fun, challenging and potentially well-paying. I quit because I didn't like the idea that I might have to sell something I didn't believe in. I worked in public broadcasting and then newspapers, where I found co-workers who sacrificed material rewards to be part of something more connected to the common good than selling someone else's products. I got that same sense at Google, but with greater intensity and urgency. And stock options.