Larry Page and Sergey Brin's fans will be disappointed as they leave Google. So will Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, but for different reasons.
In their farewell letter, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin reiterated the fact that the technology giant that they founded is unconventional. Compared to other tech billionaires who made their fortune in the sector, Page and Brin aren’t conventional either in at least one aspect – neither one’s name is on the philanthropic Giving Pledge list.
Though they are under no obligation to put their names under that exclusive list that screams “I’m one of the world’s wealthiest people” in a less decadent way than purchasing an island, Page and Brin are now a minority among Silicon Valley’s wealthiest.
Will this be their legacy as they leave the day-to-day operations of Google’s parent company, Alphabet?
By not signing the Giving Pledge initiated by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the two Google co-founders are diverging from a trend set by their billionaire peers.
As of December 4th, Larry Page is the world’s seventh-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Sergey Brin ranks tenth.
The Google co-founders’ tech contemporaries include the founder of a firm in a subsector they failed to conquer – social media. That, of course, is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the planet’s fifth-richest person with a net worth of over $70 billion.
Alongside his wife Priscilla Chan, his philanthropic areas of interest include education, science, and health initiatives.
Zuckerberg’s co-founder at the social media giant, Dustin Moskovitz, is also on the Giving Pledge list.
Other tech billionaires who have signed the Giving Pledge include Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, Netflix CEO Reed, and Salesforce co-founder Marc Benioff.
‘Sharing economy’ billionaires plan to share their wealth too. Uber co-founder Garrett Camp – along with Airbnb co-founders Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia – has also joined the philanthropic movement.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also signed on, and he was recently joined by Brian Armstrong, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.
Brin and Page should feel no shame by snubbing the Giving Pledge movement. They are in good company, after all.
The list of high-profile figures who have shunned the effort intended to commit the ultra-wealthy into giving away over 50% of their wealth to philanthropy includes Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Interestingly, Bezos was one of the earliest investors in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s brainchild.
The founder of Dell Technologies, Michael Dell, is also a non-pledger.
Snubbing the Giving Pledge initiative is not, however, to say that Google co-founders have stayed away entirely from philanthropy.
Page’s charitable organization, the Carl Victor Page Memorial Foundation, was created 15 years ago.
Besides giving to organizations such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Brin has also started two charitable organizations: the Sergey Brin Family Foundation and the Brin Wojcicki Foundation.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.
Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:41 PM UTC