Fun Facts About Google’s First Employee


Craig Silverstein met Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford before the turn of the century and became the robot car-creating search engine giant’s first employee. Allegedly he is a human. Needless to say, he’s never needed another job and didn’t even finish his doctorate. This weekend, Silverstein sat down with Silicon Valley’s Mercury News for a quick Q & A. And though as an old pro he’s careful not to say anything controversial, there are some interesting, if superficial tidbits. Let’s just say when it comes to worth, he makes Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin look like Ronald Wayne.

For 12 years of service, Silverstein’s net worth is estimated above $800 million. With that in mind, his good natured, jovial interview answers are no surprise. Similarly, his expert toeing of the Google Party Line is not shocking. In fact, he probably co-wrote the book on dealing with media and controversy. So we get answers like this:

Q What were your contributions to [Google’s unique company] culture?

A The M&Ms.

He speaks of positivity at the company and notes diplomatically, “We’ve always been pragmatic. Our goal has always been to get things done. That’s not to say we don’t have ideals.” He’s even humble, saying they owe a lot of their successes to luck.

But it’s the five facts at the bottom of the interview that are worth reading, but noticeably:

1. Huge Muppets fan, even runs a Muppet FAQ online. Once sat in Big Bird’s nest on set at Sesame Street.


5. Loves ampersands and is a fan of

When they lull us into a false sense of security — the thought that these uber-nerds are soft and lovable — that’s when we’re all ripe to be picked off by the robot revolution. Sleep with one eye open, Craig Silverstein’s Muppet FAQ be damned.

Craig Silverstein, Google’s first employee [Mercury News via @jayrosen_nyu]

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