In the spring of 2004, as SpaceX worked to build its first rocket, founder Elon Musk wanted to hire a brilliant Turkish engineer who was taking graduate-school classes at Stanford. The problem was that the engineer, Bulent Altan, enjoyed living in the San Francisco Bay Area, and his wife, Rachel Searles, had a great job there at Google. So when several of Altan’s friends who worked at SpaceX prodded him to visit, Musk was ready. During an interview, Musk said, “I heard you don’t want to move to L.A., and one of the reasons is that your wife works for Google. Well, I just talked to Larry, and they’re going to transfer your wife down to L.A. So what are you going to do now?”

Altan sat in stunned silence for a moment. Then he replied, given all of that, he supposed he would come work for SpaceX. The next day Searles went into her job at Google, and her manager said the oddest thing had just happened. Larry Page had called to say she could now work from the company’s Los Angeles office if she so desired.