How Google Becomes an 18-Bagger From Here

Don't ever let it be said that Larry Page doesn't think big. In a wide-ranging interview with Wired writer Steven Levy, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) co-founder and chief executive wondered aloud whether it would be possible for the search king to have a million employees.

Levy, who in the interview comes across as incredulous at the notion that Google could grow to such lengths, pushed Page on the subject. His reply: "Doesn't Wal-Mart have more than a million employees? OK, maybe it's not important for us to have a million employees, but I like to think that we could build companies that are really scalable to that size."

Anyone else wondering if that's a threat? Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) , concerned as it is with efficiency and gross margin, is unlikely to scale in the same way Page is thinking. IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) has long pursued big ideas -- "moon shots," as Page refers to them -- but the chances that Big Blue, now home to more than 440,000 employees worldwide, could reorient any significant portion of its business around a single idea are slim at best.

Yet Fool contributor Tim Beyers says that if he's reading these comments correctly, Page seems willing to do exactly that to Google if the idea (or opportunity) warrants it. Talk about rule breaking.

Even so, the odds that Google will become a million-person company are long indeed, amounting to an 18-bagger increase from today's levels. Is Page right to be concentrating on "moon shots" like this? Or is he simply tilting at windmills? Tim answers these questions and more in the following video. Please watch and then leave a comment to let us know what you think.

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  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:16 PM, deasystems wrote:

    My take? Thanks for asking, Tim.

    My take is that the only thing Google has ever created that has been commercializable and profitable is its search engine. Everything else—including Android—has been nothing but a drain.

    I don't expect Google's unfocussed and undisciplined efforts to ever produce anything new that's worthwhile.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 7:06 PM, fauxscot wrote:

    We can all dream big. However, what does google have? Data, algorithms, data centers.

    Do you think anyone else has them, too? How many do you think Apple could build with $100 billion? Do you think there's room for competition and do you really think the rest of the world will sit idly by if there is a market that big? Do you think DOC will let a company get THAT big without a little concern? What about the Page effect? (That's a snide reference to the Jobs effect.... isn't Page the only genius capable of growing that behemoth? It is just a one person company, right?)

    I think google will fail long before Apple. I think it much more likely it's another 10 bagger than google.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 9:13 PM, applefan1 wrote:

    Google didn't have a very good quarter last year and the stock got halted. I don't much faith in any of the people heading up Google. I think they are a little into themselves. Android is becoming a drain on their resources and not much ROI on the platform. I don't know how much the population really wants or needs augmented reality glasses.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 9:56 PM, techy46 wrote:

    Google's not a technology company so why compare them to Apple, IBM or Microsoft. Google;'s an advertising spam company that was first to algorithmically search the web indexing others content owners property. Google used their advertising revenue to buy Android after stealing Apple's mobile business while Eric Schmidt sat on Apple's Board of Directors. Google's revenue moat is one click wide if everybody would just click and switch to Bing or Yahoo for search. That would result in Google having 500 employees and being a -12 bagger.

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