I remember distinctly the first time I saw Google Earth, which was called Keyhole at the time (pre acquisition). It was 2004, and I was in a conference room with Larry, Sergey, Eric, and other Google execs. Megan Smith was trying to make the Picasa acquisition happen, which I was a supporter of. It had been a few weeks without giving them a definitive offer, and we were feeling some urgency to get approval.

In the middle of that meeting, Sergey brought up Keyhole on the projector and said something like "I think for about the same amount of money we could acquire this." I remember thinking that was an annoying distraction but oh-my-gosh, also very cool. People started giving him addresses to enter to watch it zoom to different places. I don't remember if we ever got back to discussing Picasa in that meeting.

Of course, Google ended up buying both.

CEO of Medium, partner at Obvious Ventures, co-founder of Twitter, curious consumer of ideas

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