Google Stock Make Masseuse Millionaire


In 1999, Bonnie Brown answered an ad in the paper for a new company called “Google,” and became the new company masseuse.

She was offered the part-time job, which started out at $450 a week but included a pile of Google stock options that she figured might never be worth a penny.

The stock touched an all-time high of $747.24 on Tuesday before falling more than $83 a share during the week to close at $663.97 on Friday. But even after that sell-off, the stock has risen more than 44 percent, or $203 a share, this year.

The days are long gone when people like Ms. Brown were handed thousands of Google options with the exercise price, or the pre-determined price that employees would pay to buy the stock, set in pennies.

At Google, the sensibility is more nuanced, they say. “It isn’t considered ‘Googley’ to check the stock price,” said an engineer, using the Google jargon for what is acceptable in the company’s culture. As a result, there is a bold insistence, at least on the surface, that the stock price does not matter, said the engineer, who did not want to be named because it is considered unseemly to discuss the price.

When Ms. Brown left Google, the stock price had merely doubled from its initial offering price of $85. So Ms. Brown is glad she ignored the advice of her financial advisers and held onto a cache of stock.

As the stock continues to defy gravity, Ms. Brown, whose foundation has its assets in Google stock, can be more generous with her charity. “It seems that every time I give some away, it just keeps filling up again,” she said. “It’s like an overflowing pot.”

The wealth generated by options is giving a lot of people like Ms. Brown the freedom to leave and do whatever they like.

Not without a happy sense, she’s naming her book Giigle: How I Got Lucky Massaging Google.”


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