When billionaires asked for help in forums: these were the mythical messages of Larry Page, Linus Torvalds or Jeff Bezos

early 1996 appeared a question from a guy named Lawrence on comp.lang.java, a Usenet forum dedicated to the Java language. The boy had a technical question and asked for help. Then he signed: “Thank you, Larry Page”.

It turns out that Lawrence was the co-founder of Google, and like him, other great entrepreneurs and living legends of technology turned to the internet to seek help or simply to share their idea of ​​the future. Linus Torvalds, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg or Brian Armstrong did too. The rest, as they say, is history.

Even the big ones were little ones once

Obviously hardly anyone knew who Larry Page was or that his project (which he was developing together with Sergey Brin) would end up leading to one of the greatest tech empires of all time.


Larry Page asked in forums because of course, Google didn’t exist yet. He would take care of creating it.

As indicated in this discussion started by Paul McKellar On twitter, he wasn’t the only one who asked for help or opinion when starting their project and getting it up and running.

We have one of the most famous cases with Linus Torvaldsthe creator of Linus, who on August 25, 1991 wrote a message on comp.os.minix (another Usenet forum) that has also become historical:

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Here Linus Torvalds told how he was creating an operating system as a hobby. “It won’t be big and professional,” he said. Ha.

Another mythical message is the one published by Jeff Bezos in the ba.jobs.offered forum (also on Usenet, which was the Reddit of the time). In it, Bezos was looking for “extremely talented” programmers to help him “pioneer internet commerce.”


You only had to send your CV and cover letter to Jeff Bezos, who even left the postal address of the company. By the way: at that time it was not called Amazon, but Cadabra.

Those stories demonstrate how business builders of all kinds seek help and input like anyone else. They are not the only cases, of course, and it is curious to remember how Mark Zuckerberg created FaceMash, predecessor of Facebook.

That controversial website for Harvard University students allowed you to vote on whether or not a girl on campus was attractive. That caused the Harvard board of trustees to submit him to a third degree of which came out unscathedand that would end up giving rise to the creation of his social network, Facebook.


At that time Zuckerberg had his blog on the Live Journal platform, and although those posts were lost, someone rescued them and has published them. In them you can see how the creator of Facebook was telling how on the night of October 28 to 29, 2003, he created FaceMash because “I need something to keep my mind busy“.

Many others share their ideas online before launching them to seek validation and suggestions. One of those who told Recently it was Brian Armstrong, who in 2012 public a post on Hacker News discussing your idea and looking for a co-founder for your project.


This was Brian Armstrong’s message in March 2012. Most of those who replied did so criticizing his idea. Who laughs last…

Despite the criticism it received, Armstrong ended up making that idea a reality. Its objective was to propose a way to facilitate transactions with “digital currencies, such as bitcoin or some derivative of it.”

He believed in the future of cryptocurrencies: he founded Coinbase and ended up going public a few weeks ago. Today he is a billionaireand when he told the story of those beginnings, he also made an important reflection: “I knew I didn’t have to take negative feedback too seriously.“.

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When billionaires asked for help in forums: these were the mythical messages of Larry Page, Linus Torvalds or Jeff Bezos