The career rise of Susan Wojcicki, who rented her garage to Google's founders in 1998 and is now the CEO of YouTube

Susan WojcickiGetty

  • In 1998, Susan Wojcicki rented her Menlo Park, California, garage to Sergey Brin and Larry Page for $1,700 per month.
  • The next year, she would join Google as its 16th employee.
  • Below is a glimpse at the life of Susan Wojcicki and her rise at Google, from an early employee to YouTube's chief exec.

Most landlords only hope their renters pay on time, keep a tidy space, and don't disturb the neighbors.

But for Susan Wojcicki, her renters ended up offering up a bit more: the chance to become employee number 16 at a young search engine startup called Google.

Of course, it's taken more than this incredible circumstance for Wojcicki to rise the ranks at Google. From expanding the company's ad business to convincing founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to purchase an up-and-coming video sharing service called YouTube, Wojcicki has played a vital role in Google becoming one of the world's most valuable companies.

Here's a glimpse at the life of Susan Wojcicki and her rise at Google, from employee number 16 to YouTube's chief exec:

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Susan Wojcicki (pronounced whoa-jit-ski) is 50 years old and a Silicon Valley native.

Susan Wojcicki (pronounced whoa-jit-ski) is 50 years old and a Silicon Valley native.

Source: Forbes

Wojcicki grew up on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California, where her father, Stanley Wojcicki, was chair of the physics department.

Wojcicki grew up on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California, where her father, Stanley Wojcicki, was chair of the physics department.

Source: USA Today

Wojcicki's mother, Esther Wojcicki, has taught journalism at Palo Alto High School for more than two decades, where she's mentored notable students like Steve Jobs' daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, and actor James Franco.

Wojcicki's mother, Esther Wojcicki, has taught journalism at Palo Alto High School for more than two decades, where she's mentored notable students like Steve Jobs' daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, and actor James Franco.

Source: Business Insider, SF Gate

Wojcicki is the oldest of three sisters. Her youngest sister, Anne Wojcicki, is cofounder and CEO of the genetics company, 23andMe.

Wojcicki is the oldest of three sisters. Her youngest sister, Anne Wojcicki, is cofounder and CEO of the genetics company, 23andMe.

Anne would go on to marry and later divorce Sergey Brin.

Wojcicki attended Harvard University for her undergrad, where she studied history and literature. Years later, she said an introductory computer science course she took her senior year "changed how I think about everything."

Wojcicki attended Harvard University for her undergrad, where she studied history and literature. Years later, she said an introductory computer science course she took her senior year "changed how I think about everything."

Wojcicki also received a master's degree in economics from UC Santa Cruz and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Source: Business Insider, Mercury News

Upon completing her MBA in 1998, Wojcicki moved back to the Bay Area, where she bought a 2,000-square-foot house in Menlo Park for $600,000. To help pay her mortgage, she rented out her garage to two Stanford Ph.D. students — Larry Page and Sergey Brin — who were working on their new search engine company called Google.

Upon completing her MBA in 1998, Wojcicki moved back to the Bay Area, where she bought a 2,000-square-foot house in Menlo Park for $600,000. To help pay her mortgage, she rented out her garage to two Stanford Ph.D. students — Larry Page and Sergey Brin — who were working on their new search engine company called Google.

Wojcicki charged Page and Brin $1,700 per month to rent out the garage space.

Source: USA Today

In 1999, Wojcicki joined the Google team as its 16th employee. Wojcicki was brought on as the company's first marketing manager.

In 1999, Wojcicki joined the Google team as its 16th employee. Wojcicki was brought on as the company's first marketing manager.

Source: Mercury News

One of her early marketing projects was to liven up the Google logo for holidays and special events. Today, Google Doodles appear daily and are beloved by users.

One of her early marketing projects was to liven up the Google logo for holidays and special events. Today, Google Doodles appear daily and are beloved by users.

Source: USA Today

In 2003, Wojcicki came up with an idea that drastically increased Google's advertising potential: She suggested that Google's ad offering not only be available within search but also on websites and blogs across the Internet. The product became known as AdSense.

In 2003, Wojcicki came up with an idea that drastically increased Google's advertising potential: She suggested that Google's ad offering not only be available within search but also on websites and blogs across the Internet. The product became known as AdSense.

Today, more than 11 million websites use AdSense. In 2017, Google's total ad revenue was over $95 billion.

Source: USA Today

By 2006, Wojcicki was running Google Videos. But another free video-sharing website, YouTube, was generating buzz at the time and attracting millions of users.

By 2006, Wojcicki was running Google Videos. But another free video-sharing website, YouTube, was generating buzz at the time and attracting millions of users.

Wojcicki had seen how strongly her own children reacted to user-generated videos and knew there would be huge potential in such a platform.

So she "worked up some spreadsheets" to justify the purchase with Page and Brin. Ultimately, she convinced the Google cofounders to buy YouTube for $1.65 billion.

By 2018, Morgan Stanley valued YouTube at $160 billion.

In October 2010, Wojcicki was promoted from vice president to senior vice president overseeing ad products. At the time, there were only eight SVPs at Google.

In October 2010, Wojcicki was promoted from vice president to senior vice president overseeing ad products. At the time, there were only eight SVPs at Google.

Source: Business Insider

By February 2014, Wojcicki replaced Google's ninth employee, Salar Kamangar, as the CEO of YouTube.

By February 2014, Wojcicki replaced Google's ninth employee, Salar Kamangar, as the CEO of YouTube.

Source: Business Insider

In her first year as YouTube CEO, Wojcicki went on maternity leave for the birth of her fifth child. The chief exec wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal at the time, advocating that the US become a leader in maternity leave benefits. "Support for motherhood shouldn't be a matter of luck; it should be a matter of course," she wrote.

In her first year as YouTube CEO, Wojcicki went on maternity leave for the birth of her fifth child. The chief exec wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal at the time, advocating that the US become a leader in maternity leave benefits. "Support for motherhood shouldn't be a matter of luck; it should be a matter of course," she wrote.

Wojcicki was four months pregnant when she joined Google in 1999 and became the company's first employee to go on maternity leave.

It "was a bit of a leap," she told Glamour in a 2014 interview, describing her decision to join the 15-person startup while pregnant. "But sometimes you have to do the right thing for you right now."

Source: Wall Street Journal

Over the years, Wojcicki has been an outspoken proponent for closing the gender gap in the tech industry. "Tech is an incredible force that will change our world in ways we can't anticipate. If that force is only 20 to 30% women, that is a problem," Wojcicki told Forbes in a 2018 interview.

Over the years, Wojcicki has been an outspoken proponent for closing the gender gap in the tech industry. "Tech is an incredible force that will change our world in ways we can't anticipate. If that force is only 20 to 30% women, that is a problem," Wojcicki told Forbes in a 2018 interview.

In 2017, she wrote a piece in Vanity Fair entitled, "How to Break Up the Silicon Valley Boy's Club."

Later that year, Wojcicki wrote an op-ed for Fortune where she described having to explain to her daughter that there are no biological reasons why fewer women are in tech.

Source: Forbes

Under Wojcicki's leadership, YouTube has grown to 1.8 billion monthly users — just shy of Facebook's 2 billion user mark. It has also become the most popular social network among teenagers.

Under Wojcicki's leadership, YouTube has grown to 1.8 billion monthly users — just shy of Facebook's 2 billion user mark. It has also become the most popular social network among teenagers.

Major products released during Wojcicki's tenure include YouTube Gaming, YouTube Music, YouTube Premium, and YouTube TV.

Source: Business Insider, Pew Research Center

In 2018, Wojcicki was ranked No. 7 on Forbes' Power Women list. Her net worth is estimated to be $480 million.

In 2018, Wojcicki was ranked No. 7 on Forbes' Power Women list. Her net worth is estimated to be $480 million.

Source: Forbes

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