Google is, by far, America’s most powerful and popular search engine. Driving some 60+% of the Internet’s traffic and enjoying market values as high as $600/share, Google is at the top of the search game. Today’s fun fact from Montessori for Everyone is that Dr. Montessori stands at the heart of the Google empire.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin credit their Montessori education as a crucial factor in the creation of their search engine. Montessori taught them to be self-directed, independent thinkers with the confidence to turn a garage-based business into a company with over 13,000 employees, and a major influence over world commerce.
When people visit Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters, they are stunned not only by its size, but also by the constant buzz of diverse activity that seems to be the hallmark of this company. Employees whiz around the Googleplex on scooters, ride exercise bikes in the hallways, eat for free in one of the many campus restaurants, and spend their break time playing ping pong, video games, or piano. During the past year, Google has attempted to show its concern for the environment by beginning to convert 30% of its energy consumption over to solar power – constructing one of the United States’ largest corporate solar power systems. It is little wonder, then, that Forbes magazine voted Google the nation’s #1 place to work in 2007.
It is when you begin to examine the actual working arrangements within the Googleplex that the Montessori atmosphere becomes most apparent. Throughout the campus, there are different work stations for different types of tasks, much like the environment of the Montessori classroom. Google employees are encouraged to spend 20% of their time each week (1 day a week) working on whichever projects interest them most. A new Google employee recently wrote of the exhilaration he feels about this arrangement. He can show up at any of the work stations where he feels he has something useful to contribute, or where he wants to learn about something new, and find himself welcome there. Again, this freedom of choice of work has a very familiar ring to any Montessori parent or teacher.
Google’s continuous acquisition and development of ever new technologies means that Google workers are never bored in their environment. Creativity, innovation, and a self-starter mentality are highly prized traits in this unusual corporate culture. One can certainly think of how so many of our country’s corporations and systems would benefit from adopting Google’s imaginative approach to doing business.
For more info on famous Montessori students (or supporters), please check out my previous post on the subject: Famous People Who Were Montessori Kids.
A very happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours from me and mine!