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Google's garage
Google's garage
Google used to rent the garage of this house in Menlo Park, Calif., for $1,700 per month.

The story of Larry Page and Sergey Brin founding Google in a Menlo Park garage is so well-known that the company bought the garage in 2006 as a historical artifact.

History, though, tells a somewhat different story. By the time they set up shop in the garage, Page and Brin had been running Google for two years and had obtained about $1 million in startup capital. The garage move was made in part to help out a friend who needed help paying her mortgage, and was also an homage to Hewlett-Packard's own beginnings.

These "founded in a garage" stories are ubiquitous in America because they indicate that "regardless of how humble your beginnings are, you can turn something into an immense success story if you work hard," Dartmouth business professor Pino Audia, who's extensively studied the garage myth, told NPR in 2009.

The truth, he says, is that even self-starters usually begin on the corporate ladder: "If you want to become an entrepreneur, the obvious thing to do is to first go get a job in an industry you're interested in."

NEXT: Facebook's offscreen story
LAST UPDATE: Mar 24 2011 | 9:51 AM ET
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