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Four famous business garages mapped out


No matter what your job is, the chances are that you’ve daydreamed about the day you can leave the rat race behind and do your own thing, changing the world as you go. It’s easier said than done, of course, and for every solo venture that becomes huge, there’s plenty that never get out of the garage. But that’s no reason to stop dreaming, and there’s businesses out there that are now worth billions that were once just a dream needing the amount of inspiration, perspiration and good luck.

So what does a garage look like that grows a billion dollar business inside it? HomeAdvisor wanted to find out, so they created these stunning floorplans of four of the most famous business garages in the world to show what they looked like when they housed desperate entrepreneurs hoping for a big break. They all got that break and changed the way we live, so there’s bound to be some inspiration to be taken from their workspaces.


When you think of Disney, a million images come to mind of theme parks, cartoon mice and ducks and elephants and deer, Star Wars, the Avengers, Anna and Elsa… the list goes on and on. What you don’t tend to think about is a nondescript-looking garage in Hollywood, owned by Robert Disney and used by his nephews Roy and Walt to work on their early animations. Everyone has to start somewhere, and this is where the mighty Disney started.

Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio was the company’s name at this point and they worked on Alice In Wonderland cartoons and others starring Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, without making even a fraction of the kind of money that, say, Avengers: Infinity War made for Disney in its first day at the cinemas this year. But it was a start and the business went from strength to strength once Mickey Mouse was created to be its own star product. The garage meanwhile, is now a museum and had Mickey and Minnie on hand to celebrate its grand opening to the public, though it’s no longer to be found at Uncle Robert’s house, as it was moved to Stanley Ranch in the 1980s to save it from being demolished. What a loss that would have been!


While the story of how the Disney brothers started out in a garage is one less often told, we’re all well aware of the birth of Apple in Steve Jobs’ garage. Silicon Valley is packed full of tales of entrepreneurs cramming into someone’s back room or shed to build the latest THING, and there’s even a TV show about it (called Silicon Valley of course) and so much of that spirit of optimism and dedication comes from the legend of how Steves Jobs and Wozniak built Apple up from nothing to become a major player in the fledgling personal computer market.

From there, the last couple of decades have seen Apple become even more powerful and influential, with Jobs there to oversee the company’s rebirth in the late 90s with a string of incredible product launches. Who of us has never had an Apple product, or indeed doesn’t have one within reach right now as we read this blog? It all came from this unassuming-looking garage in Los Altos, California, complete with a ladder on the wall (we’re not sure why) and some very uncomfortable-looking chairs and stools. Maybe if they’d had comfier furniture, they wouldn’t have worked so hard building the Apple I computer?


Another big Silicon Valley success story, the tale of how Hewlett and Packard got together and hyphenated themselves pre-dates Apple by several decades. Indeed, Steve Wozniak got his idea for the Apple I while actually working for HP and tried to get them to buy into it before giving up and going his own way, all the way to Steve Jobs’ garage. That’s how close Hewlett-Packard got to being the company to invent the iPhone, but it’s still had a huge footprint on the world we live in today, and it all started in a garage.

The garage belonged to Dave Packard and his wife and the back yard contained both a garage and a shed, which both played their part in growing a billion dollar company. The shed became home to Dave’s Stanford buddy Bill Hewlett and the two of them worked together in the garage creating products like audio oscillators. They’d been encouraged by their lecturer at Stanford to stay local to try and make it big and they certainly managed that, possibly creating the whole Silicon Valley culture in the process.


Google’s headquarters today are the Googleplex, which takes up 2,000,000 square feet in Mountain View, California. In 1998, Google’s headquarters was a garage owned by a lady called Susan Wojcicki in Menlo Park, California, which did not take up 2,000,000 square feet. It seems incredible that it was only 20 years ago that Google was just a couple of guys in a garage they didn’t even own, but these Stanford students really did take on the world, beat it, rank it and index it.

Their hard work in Ms Wojcicki’s garage (we’re not sure who owned the bike) changed the way we search for information and offered another remind of how you really can build something in your garage (or someone else’s garage) that makes you a billionaire several times over. Now Google runs almost everything in our lives to a frightening extent and the two guys in a garage could probably hold us all to ransom with the mountains of incriminating and embarrassing information they have about us, so we’ll keep on saying nice things about them here.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best.We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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