First, a point of order: there seems to be no true consensus on the exact date of Google’s “birthday.” This ambiguity is actually pretty common for corporate entities, for whom “birth” is not a single event but several events in sequence: inspiration, incorporation, registering the domain, and so on.

To pick apart some of Google’s birth dates:

🌐 The domain was registered on September 15, 1997.

📜 Google was formally incorporated on September 4, 1998.

🤨 They celebrated the first few birthdays on September 4, but then abruptly “changed” their birthday to September 27 for boring, esoteric reasons.

Whatever. Google’s big enough. Its birthday is just “September” now.

But since we’re being specific, here’s a really specific Google anniversary: the signing of Google’s first data-center contract. Barry Schwartz offers an intro and then shares a Twitter thread from Urs Hölzle, one of Google’s primordial hires (Employee #8) and the person who helped Larry and Sergey physically build the first data center used by Google.

Hölzle goes into a painstaking level of detail—we don’t understand most of what he says—but we love that it all boils down to “Google started at Square One and here’s the super-concrete proof of it.”

Like Sergey helping set up a 7×4′ Virtual Data Center:

Google's Anniversary Sergey setting up Virtual Data Center

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