Preview Case: American Enterprise

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is planning an important new exhibition, American Enterprise, which will open in the spring of 2015. Chronological in organization, the exhibition will use objects, graphics, and interactive experiences to examine how the United States moved from a small dependent nation to one of the world’s most vibrant and trend-setting economies.  Visitors will learn that with few barriers to individual opportunity, a tradition of relentless innovation, an environment of fierce competition, and a widespread commitment to common good, the United States economy has expanded more quickly than other economies over a longer period of time.
 
 
Google "Corkboard" Server, 1999
 
In 1998 Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched Google, a web-search company, in a garage in Menlo Park, California.
 
To maximize searching at the lowest cost, Page and Brian built thirty racks of servers, including this one, from cheap parts. Each server row used corkboard insulating pads—hence the name—and had eight 22-gigabyte hard drives and four personal computers. Because components frequently failed, the system required effective fault-tolerant software.
 
From this modest, but highly innovative, beginning, Page and Brian built one of the largest and most influential information companies in the world.