What is Craig Silverstein's Net Worth and Salary?

Craig Silverstein is an American businessman, technology guru, and writer who has a net worth of $900 million. Craig Silverstein has the distinction of being the very first employee hired by Google. Craig left his doctoral studies at Stanford University in 1998, to join his fellow grad students Sergey Brin and Larry Page to build Google in a friend's garage.


Craig attended Harvard University for his undergraduate degree. While at Harvard, in 1993, he was the captain of the team that won the Association for Computing Machinery Annual International Programming Contest. That same year he was Phi Beta Kappa and the recipient of the Microsoft Technical Scholarship.

Between 1992 and 1993, while a student at Harvard, Craig worked on several projects for Microsoft. In 1992 he conceived of a game for Microsoft involving the works of composer Igor Stravinsky. The next year he developed a communications interface for a handled computer.

Craig graduated from Harvard with honors in June 1994 with an A.B. in Computer Science.


After receiving his undergraduate degree, Craig enrolled in Stanford's Ph.D. Computer Science program. His original intended focus was information retrieval and data mining. Silverstein was particularly interested in how to cluster large data sets and creating super-efficient data structures. These specific areas of focus were exactly what two of is fellow Ph.D. students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, needed for their nascent search engine.

While at Stanford, Craig and Sergey co-authored several publications.

For about a year starting in the summer of 1997, Craig worked at Verity, Inc, in Sunnyvale, California. At Verity he worked in the Advanced Technology Group developing a technique for the company's search engine to process natural language queries. Over his two previous summers he worked at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto, California developing clustering algorithms for large data sets.

One day in 1998, Larry and Sergey convinced a Stanford professor named David Cheriton and a former Stanford Ph.D. student named Andy Bechtolsheim to each cut them a check for $100,000. The $200,000 was the very first venture capital money given to launch what would become Google.

First Google Employee

After raising the money, Larry and Sergey offered Craig a position as the very first employee hired by Google. Wisely, Craig accepted. Craig made sense as the first hire since he had already helped the Google guys develop the first algorithms used by an early version of their search engine while it was still being developed at Stanford.

Craig created many of the original IT components to support Google's deployment and growth. He would go on to serve as the company's Director of Technology, a position he held at the time of the company's 2004 IPO and when he stepped down in 2012.

David Paul Morris/ Getty Images

Khan Academy

In February 2012 Craig announced he was leaving Google for a job at the online education company Khan Academy. He served as the Dean of Infrastructure at Khan Academy.

In 2012, Silverstein left Google in order to take a job at Khan Academy, the web-based learning site using projects, exercises, and videos to help teach. Silverstein stated that he liked the educational methods used by the new company and hopes its tools will help change learning strategies.

Personal Life and Philanthropy

Craig proposed to his long-time girlfriend, iPad app developer Mary Obelnicki, on top of the Eiffel Tower in late 2013.

He serves on the board of trustees of the non-profit San Francisco exploratorium museum.

In 2009 Craig and his wife Mary Obelnicki made a $5 million donation to the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation in 2009, an organization that is dedicated to creating a children's hospital in Gainesville, Florida, where Silverstein grew up.

Craig and Mary are signatories of The Giving Pledge, having announced their intentions in May 2014. The two also co-founded Echidna Giving, a group that supports girls' education in developing countries.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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