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- 03/28/14--12:32: _Look At This Amazin...
- 03/28/14--17:12: _Another Year, Anoth...
- 05/06/14--10:03: _Emails Show Google ...
- 05/27/14--18:41: _Google Cofounder Se...
- 06/14/14--05:30: _QUIZ: Can You Recog...
- 07/06/14--05:39: _Google Cofounder Se...
- 07/14/14--09:30: _Google's Board Of D...
- 07/23/14--06:39: _10 Little-Known Fac...
- 07/23/14--11:31: _11 Influential Quot...
- 07/24/14--13:35: _This Is Where The T...
- 08/14/14--14:36: _The Most Successful...
- 08/18/14--12:27: _Larry Page And Serg...
- 08/29/14--07:00: _Google's Sergey Bri...
- 08/29/14--07:01: _So This Is Why Serg...
- 09/10/14--14:54: _Here's A Photo Of G...
- 09/23/14--09:40: _Google's Eric Schmi...
- 09/30/14--15:01: _Here's One Of Googl...
- 11/11/14--10:23: _Keira Knightley Was...
- 11/14/14--12:58: _Early Fans Are Aban...
- 01/12/15--05:34: _Google Cofounder Se...
- 03/28/14--17:12: Another Year, Another $1 For Google Co-Founders
- 05/06/14--10:03: Emails Show Google Secretly Met With The NSA
- 05/27/14--18:41: Google Cofounder Sergey Brin Answers Hard Questions (GOOG)
- 07/23/14--06:39: 10 Little-Known Facts About Google (GOOG)
- 07/24/14--13:35: This Is Where The Tech Giants Are Spending Their Money In DC
- 08/14/14--14:36: The Most Successful Stanford Alumni In Tech
- 08/29/14--07:01: So This Is Why Sergey Brin Is Obsessed With Flying Trapeze
- 11/11/14--10:23: Keira Knightley Was Freaked Out By Sergey Brin's Crocs
- 11/14/14--12:58: Early Fans Are Abandoning Google Glass In Droves
Google co-founder Sergey Brin is the mastermind in charge of Google's moonshot projects like Google Glass and smart contacts for diabetes.
When Google first announced Glass, it showed off its computerized glasses by having a bunch of people wear them and jump out of a blimp.
Now it looks like Brin has followed suit. Earlier this week, Brin posted a photo of him jumping out of a helicopter.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google paid co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin their customary $1 salaries last year while Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt's compensation more than doubled to $19.3 million.
Most of Schmidt's raise stemmed from stock grants valued at $11.4 million. Google issued them to make up for an administrative error in the handling of another large award given to Schmidt in February 2011, according to regulatory documents filed Friday.
If not for the mix-up, Schmidt's pay package last year would have risen 4 percent from the $7.6 million that he got in 2012.
Page, Google's CEO, and Brin, another top executive, have insisted on capping their salaries at $1 annually since Google Inc. went public nearly a decade ago. It's a symbolic gesture that many other Silicon Valley executives have made after amassing fortunes through the stock that they held in their respective companies.
Page, 41, and Brin, 40, each own Google stock currently worth about $26 billion.
Schmidt, 58, has accumulated wealth estimated at $9 billion by Forbes magazine. He also limited his salary to $1 annually while he was CEO.
The pay scale has changed dramatically since Schmidt turned over the CEO's job to Page three years ago. In 2011, Schmidt received compensation valued at $101 million, with most of the money tied up in restricted stock designed to keep him working at Google. Last month, Google disclosed that Schmidt is receiving another stock award valued at $100 million this year.
As Google's executive chairman, Schmidt primarily deals with regulatory issues, government relationships and company acquisitions. The Mountain View, Calif., company thought Schmidt did such a good job last year that he received his maximum cash bonus of $6 million to supplement his $1.25 million salary.
None of the other Google executives listed in the proxy statement qualified for their maximum bonuses last year.
Google and its stockholders fared well last year. The company's earnings climbed 20 percent from the previous year to $12.9 billion and its stock price gained 58 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index increased by 30 percent last year.
The Associated Press formula calculates an executive's total compensation during the last fiscal year by adding salary, bonuses, perks, above-market interest that the company pays on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock and stock options awarded during the year. The AP formula does not count changes in the present value of pensions, a benefit that Google and most other technology companies don't provide.
Google executives Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt met with the NSA, according to leaked email exchanges obtained by Al Jazeera.
The emails, which were obtained by Al Jazeera under the Freedom of Information Act, show that the head of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, asked Schmidt and Brin to meet to discuss potential cybersecurity threats from other countries.
The meetings themselves don't sound too crazy, but they do raise questions as to how the NSA used the information it learned from Google and other tech companies in order to spy on people, especially considering that the NSA had secretly gained access to the main communications links connecting worldwide data centers of Yahoo and Google.
At the time, Google was "outraged" that the NSA was snooping on its networks. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt even said at the time:"It's really outrageous that the NSA was looking between the Google data centers, if that's true."
On June 28, 2012, Alexander sent an email inviting Schmidt to a "classified threat briefing" at a "secure location" in San Jose, California, on Aug. 8, 2012.
According to the email, Alexander met with industry execs earlier in the month, but now wanted another meeting.
"About six months ago, we began focusing on the security of mobility devices," Alexander wrote. "A group (primarily Google, Apple and Microsoft) recently came to agreement on a set of core security principles. When we reach this point in our projects we schedule a classified briefing for the CEOs of key companies to provide them a brief on the specific threats we believe can be mitigated and to seek their commitment for their organization to move ahead … Google’s participation in refinement, engineering and deployment of the solutions will be essential."
Al Jazeera says:
The classified briefing cited by Alexander was part of a secretive government initiative known as the Enduring Security Framework (ESF), and his email provides some rare information about what the ESF entails, the identities of some participant tech firms and the threats they discussed.
Alexander explained that the deputy secretaries of the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and “18 US CEOs” launched the ESF in 2009 to “coordinate government/industry actions on important (generally classified) security issues that couldn’t be solved by individual actors alone.”
But, according to the emails, Schmidt did not attend this second meeting. "General Keith.. so great to see you.. !" Schmidt wrote. "I'm unlikely to be in California that week so I’m sorry I can’t attend (will be on the east coast). Would love to see you another time. Thank you !"
Brin attended previous meetings of the ESF group, but he couldn't attend the Aug. 8 briefing in San Jose because of a scheduling conflict, according to the emails.
Still, there likely isn't much to worry about. As Engadget notes, "wild conclusions" shouldn't be drawn from the email exchanges, and that "Google's emails with the security agency hardly implicate the company in any wrongdoing."
Read the full text of the emails below:
This evening, Google cofounder Sergey Brin gave rare interview at the Code Conference in Southern California. He was interviewed by Code editors Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. We were on site, taking notes.
Before they managed multimillion-dollar companies and created some of the most influential products in the world, the biggest leaders in tech were really adorable children.
We've uncovered old childhood photos of some of the most iconic figures in tech.
Can you tell who is who?
Can you tell who this suspender-wearing blonde toddler is?
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Can you name this high school grad?
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin sat for an interview with venture capitalist Vinod Khosla.
During the interview, Brin was asked about machine learning and artificial intelligence. He says that so far, we haven't come close to replicating human intelligence. However, he thinks it's only a matter of time before that changes:
In the machine learning realm, we have several kinds of efforts going on. There's, for example, the brain project, which is really machine learning focused. It takes input, such as vision. In fact, we've been using it for the self-driving cars. It's been helpful there. It's been helpful for a number of Google services. And then, there's more general intelligence, like the DeepMind acquisition that — in theory — we hope will one day be fully reasoning AI. Obviously, computer scientists have been promising that for decades and not at all delivered. So I think it would be foolish of us to make prognoses about that. But we do have lots of proof points that one can create intelligent things in the world because — all of us around. Therefore, you should presume that someday, we will be able to make machines that can reason, think and do things better than we can.
You can watch the interview here. The stuff about artificial intelligence starts at 12:02:
Two members on Google's board of directors wanted founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to personally try to poach Facebook employees, according to newly released documents from Silicon Valley's high-profile wage collusion case, as noted by The Wall Street Journal.
The case — which accuses Google, Apple, Intel, and Adobe of conspiring not to recruit each other's talent — had previously released emails showing Google execs started getting concerned about Facebook recruiting its employees around 2007.
The latest emails, sent in 2010, suggest Google board of directors member Paul Otellini, Intel's CEO, and venture capitalist John Doerr thought Google needed to step up its own recruiting game.
This is from an email sent by Prasad Setty, Google's VP of compensation:
"Paul/John asked who was reaching out to the target Facebookers. They suggested that we have Larry/Sergey and Eng execs reach out rather than the Staffing leads."
Here's the reply from Google security executive Shannon Deegan:
"I don’t agree that we should be asking Larry and Sergey to reach out to Facebookers. That will quickly be leaked and I believe won’t look great."
The court files show no evidence that Brin or Page ended up personally recruiting any Facebook employees.
Three years prior, a Google engineering had also manager sounded the alarm that employees were emailing about Google "providing counter-offers within an hour to Googlers who give notice about getting a Facebook offer," according to the Wall Street Journal. Google apparently didn't want that information publicized: The company's then-CEO Eric Schmidt emailed the company at the time, saying, "Since I announced our 1 hour policy exactly 24 hours ago we should be embarrassed and disgusted by this leak."
Both sides in the suit — the 64,000 tech workers suing and the four tech companies — approved a settlement of $324 million, but U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh is yet to approve it.
I made the worst decision in venture capital history in late 2000. I was a partner at a venture firm called 212 Ventures. What? You never heard of it?
We had $100 million from Investcorp, $5 million from CS First Boston, $5 milion from First Union (which became Wachovia) and $5 million from UBS. I had a few partners but I won’t soil their names with this story. Because what follows was completely my fault.
Dan came into my office where I was playing the classic 80s arcade game “Defender”. I spent a good 2-3 hours a day playing “Defender” and probably reached a high score of about 120,000. “A friend of mine is VP of Biz Dev at this search engine company,” he said. “We can probably get 20% of the company for $1 million. He sounds desperate.”
“Wait? What?” I had a lot of mutants after me on Defender and it's pretty hard to defend humanity, manage $115 million, and listen to a pitch about a company called Oingo at the same time.
“They make some kind of software for search engines. They help search engines find pages with synonyms on what you search, I think.”
I stopped playing. “Search engines? Aren’t they all dead? What’s the stock price on Excite these days? You know what it is? Zero!” Excite was in the process of going bankrupt. Lycos (see my story on my experience with Lycos) was quickly disappearing. Yahoo’s stock was in the gutter. And now this was a random search engine software company that was probably going to go bankrupt. “No thanks.” I was very quick with my decisions back then.
Dan went back and made something up. “The opportunity is too small for us,” he told his contact..
Well, Oingo somehow managed to raise some money and stay afloat. They changed their name in 2001 to Applied Semantics. In 2003, a little search engine company called Google bought them.
Within Google they changed their name once again from Applied Semantics to AdSense . Google needed the Oingo software in order to generate 99% of its revenues at IPO time.
Google paid 1% of the company in stock to acquire Applied Semantics, a stake that would now be worth $1.5bb. So our one million dollar investment could’ve been worth about $300 million, give or take.
Sometimes I’m not very bright.
Some other unusual things about Google that I didn’t know (well, I did know the above story but the rest of these things I wasn’t aware of):
Family. Larry Page’s brother, Carl, helped start eGroups, a dot-com company in the 90s that was acquired for almost half a billion dollars in 2000 by Yahoo. So even if this Google thing hadn’t worked out for Larry, he probably could’ve done alright being part of his brother’s entourage.
Patents. The genealogy of the Google patent is interesting. Here’s the link to the patent filed with the US Patent Office. It refers to another patent owned by Dow Jones that was very similar to the Google patent and was developed by a guy named Robin Li when he worked for a company owned by Dow jones.
Both patents used similar ideas of ranking a page not necessarily by using the text on the page but also by counting how many links referenced the page. Dow Jones wasn’t really sure what to do with the patent (called RankDex) so Robin Li left the company and went to China. While there he licensed the patent from Dow Jones for almost nothing and started (and is still CEO of) a little company called Baidu.
Here’s Robin Li’s patent on RankDex. Its interesting that the same basic idea inspired both Google and Baidu.
Stanford. The Google algorithm is called PageRank. You would think it was named after its ability to rank pages but Google claims its named after Larry Page. But that’s not the interesting thing. The interesting thing is that Stanford holds the patent.
They were given 1.8mm shares which they sold in 2005 for $336 million. Basically, colleges should encourage the actual developers of their patents to start companies. It pays off.
Species Extinction. The PageRank algorithm can not only rank pages for search engines but the exact same algorithm can be used to determine which species are about to go extinct. This paper describes it in detail. But basically, a “back link” is similar to “species that another species can eat to survive”. The more “back links” in this sense that a species has, the more likely it is to NOT go extinct. Interesting.
Politics. Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the two richest guys in the country to not make any political contributions. The 20 or so billionaires richer than them all make political contributions. I guess they don’t want to get anyone upset. Google spent more on lobbying last year than Yahoo, Facebook, and Apple combined.
Backrub. The original name of Google was Backrub. They called it that because the algorithm ranked pages based on how many “back links” a page had.
Yahoo. Larry Page and Sergey Brin originally wanted to be academics. They didn’t want to build a business. They developed their initial search engine and then tried to shop it around. They were actually willing to sell it for $1 million in 1997. They went all over Silicon Valley to try and sell their search engine. They went to Yahoo, who turned them down. Later, in 2002, Yahoo tried to buy them for $3 billion but at that point Google turned them down. Now Google is worth $150 billion.
Luck. The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button probably costs Google about $110 million a year. When you click on that button it just takes you to the top search result. In other words, you skip all the ads that Google makes money on. So why don’t they just take that button off? Focus groups apparently show that people feel more comfortable with the button on there. Worth noting that @Google’s first tweet on twitter was: “I’m 01100110 01100101 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 01111001 00001010” which means “I’m feeling lucky” in binary.
Employee #1. Google’s first employee was a guy I never heard of until today. Craig Silverstein. He left recently to join the Khan Academy. He’s a lowly programmer there but has a billion in the bank. I love stuff like that.
I came across a weird anti-semitic site that I’m not going to link to. It referred to him as “the jew Craig Silverstein” (it also referred to Sergey Brin’s wedding as “jewgle” wedding) and it was about how the jews control Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, etc. The funny thing about this particular site is that it had Google Ads all over it.
Beauty. Beautiful Google Earth photos. This is not necessarily an unusual thing but I find Google Earth to be a work of art. Here’s a site that has a collection of amazing photos taken by Google Earth.
As for the “Defender” game in my office, one of my partners at 212 Ventures had a bad game, smashed the screen with his fist in frustration, and walked out of the office saying to me, “Have a nice life.” I never spoke to him again. Which is a shame, because he was the best negotiator I ever knew.
Who knows what would’ve been different if I had invested? How my life would’ve changed. But maybe I’m just telling myself these things so I can feel better about myself. I often do that.
Sergey Brin helped build one of the most successful technology companies in the world: Google.
Today, Google does a little bit of everything — from email, to wearable technology, and smartphone software.
But that wasn't always the case. When Brin and CEO Larry Page built Google, they focused on one specific problem: revolutionizing the way people search the web.
Here are a few quotes from Sergey Brin that provide some insight into Google's origins and the general mindset behind the company.
"To me, this is about preserving history and making it available to everyone."
"We believed we could build a better search. We had a simple idea that not all pages are created equal. Some are more important."
"Obviously everyone wants to be successful, but I want to be looked back on as being very innovative, very trusted and ethical and ultimately making a big difference in the world."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Google, Apple, and all the other tech giants have a vested interest in many of the decisions coming out of Washington, DC.
Whether it's how immigration policy will affect the pool of talent HR can pick from, or laws on data and privacy, the rulings coming out of the Capitol can have a huge impact on the tech world.
And so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that these companies are spending lots of money on lobbying efforts.
According to Consumer Watchdog, Google led the way, spending a whopping $5.03 million on lobbying in the second quarter of 2014. In comparison, Microsoft spent $2.34 million, Facebook spent $2.12 million, Amazon spent $1.06 million, and Apple spent $840,000.
What's really interesting, though, is to look at where this money is going.
Recently, Google has been working really hard to fight bans on Google Glass. According to Reuters, the company has been lobbying officials in at least three states to prevent restrictions on wearing the device while driving.
Google has also focused its money on issues like healthcare, patent reform, consumer privacy issues, government surveillance, and telecom policy, according to The Wall Street Journal.
And while Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the richest people in the country to not make any political contributions, their company sure is spending a lot in DC. Google gives money to almost 140 business trade groups, advocacy organizations and think tanks, according to The Washington Post. This reportedly came in handy when the company was facing issues with the FTC antitrust investigation into its dominance in search.
Facebook got an earlier start at lobbying than Google, having had staff in Washington since 2007. The giant social network giant tends to focus its energies on net neutrality, online privacy (especially for children), immigration reform, and national security. Immigration reform has been particularly important to Mark Zuckerberg leading to his creation of FWD.us.
Microsoft has its own PAC fund from which it donates to many political campaigns. It tends to focus on areas like immigration, taxes, patents, and telecommunications.
Amazon spends its money on issues like internet sales taxes, telecom regulations, copyright law, consumer safety, and law enforcement.
Apple has been more on the down-low when it comes to lobbying, but it is expected to increase its efforts with the FDA and healthcare issues now that it's coming out with HealthKit this fall, in time for the release of iOS 8 and its health-oriented wristband.
Stanford University has bred some of the most influential tech entrepreneurs since the beginning of Silicon Valley.
Whether it's due to the top-notch engineering and business programs, extensive alumni network, or university-affiliated accelerator programs, many of the industry's most important figures have earned degrees here, starting with Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in the mid-30s and continuing on to today's startup founders.
We've rounded up some of the most notable Stanford alums in tech.
HP cofounders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard met at football tryouts.
Hewlett and Packard, considered by many to be the founding fathers of Silicon Valley, were Stanford students.
The pair first met in the early 1930s while attending radio engineering classes taught by professor Fred Terman, who would later be essential to the founding of HP.
They both tried out for Stanford's football team, though only Packard would make it.
Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin dropped out of their Ph.D. program.
Perhaps the most well-known founders to come out of Stanford, students Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google while working towards their Ph.D's in computer science.
The pair first met in 1995. Page, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, was considering attending Stanford; Brin was assigned to show him around.
The following year, they began work on a search engine they called BackRub, which operated on Stanford servers for more than a year before it began to take up too much bandwidth.
Sun Microsystems cofounders Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy, and Andy Bechtolsheim named their company after the university's network.
Khosla, McNealy, and Bechtolsheim were Stanford grad students when they founded software company Sun Microsystems in 1982.
The company's name is an acronym for Stanford University Network, the campus' computer system.
Bill Joy, who was a Ph.D. student at Berkeley at the time, is also considered an original founder of Sun.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin decided to take the "Ice Bucket Challenge," the fundraising effort that has now raised more than $13 million for ALS research, after being challenged last week by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella.
Since the challenge started going viral on Twitter and Facebook, a bunch of other tech CEOs have taken it, too, including Elon Musk, Tim Cook, and Jeff Bezos. Bill Gates had the best video we've seen so far, but the Google founders did a good job, too.
Brin and Page said they would be donating money as well as doing the challenge:
The duo called upon a couple "Nooglers"— what Google calls its new employees— to do the bucket-dumping honor:
Tons of Nooglers attended to watch the show:
Page says that it was "quite refreshing," while Brin claims that it was "worse than expected, honestly":
Brin and Page didn't follow tradition and challenge anyone else on their video, which you can check out in full here:
Here's another video, from a different angle:
Sergey Brin isn’t one to shy away from a challenge.
When he and Larry Page created Google in 1998, they would forever change how we use the Internet.
"When Larry and I started the company, we had to get some hard drives to, you know, store the entire Web,"Brin told Wired of Google's early days. "We ended up in a back alley in San Jose, dealing with some shady guy. We spent $10,000 or $20,000, all our life savings. We got these giant stacks of hard drives that we had to fit in our cars and get home."
But Brin doesn’t just like to challenge his mind. In his spare time, he likes to push his body to the limits in any way he can think of, from roller hockey and ultimate frisbee to gymnastics, springboard diving, and even high-flying trapeze. "I like to do a variety of acrobatic things," he has said.
It turns out that athletics have long been a priority for Brin.
Born in Moscow in 1973, he and his family emigrated from Soviet Russia after anti-Semitism made it difficult for his mathematician father to get a job.
After receiving his bachelor's degree in math and computer science at the University of Maryland, Sergey went on to pursue his Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford, where he would meet his future best friend and Google cofounder, Larry Page.
While at Stanford, he tried out a variety of different sports, including in-line skating, skiing, gymnastics, and trapeze. He spent so much time on his various physical activities that his father once asked him if he had chosen any advanced courses of study.
"Yes, advanced swimming," was Brin’s famous response.
Even in the search engine's early days, Brin brought an element of fun and activity to the Googleplex.
There have been plenty of stories of him arriving to meetings in rollerblades, and his go-to outfit appears to be workout clothes and Vibram FiveFingers barefoot shoes. He sometimes walks around on his hands, just for fun.
In "I'm Feeling Lucky," 59th Google employee Doug Edwards describes the beginnings of Google, observing even the tiniest quirks of the famous cofounders.
According to Edwards, at a 1999 company holiday event, Brin tried to address party guests from the top of a giant red rubber ball.
But, according to Edwards' account, Brin "couldn’t maintain his balance despite the trapeze classes he was taking at a local circus."
That local circus was Circus Center, a training facility in San Francisco's Inner Sunset neighborhood, where Brin would bring Googlers for team bonding events in the company's early days.
In 2009, he was spotted in an advanced class at Circus Warehouse, a training facility near the border of Queens and Brooklyn in New York City. Greg Roberts, a San Francisco native who had flown out to New York to participate in an immersive Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatic yoga program at the facility, recognized Brin on the second day of class.
"He was the only other person there who was interested in talking about technology," Roberts told Business Insider. Roberts is an avid acrobat and a serial entrepreneur who is currently working on a 3D-printing company called dSky9. "Though we were both there to kind of get away from tech and work on our bodies."
He was impressed with what he saw from Brin.
"People fly out from all over the world to take this class and learn from some of the masters. I'd say [Brin] was in the top 20% of the class," he said. "He was definitely giving his all."
George Salah, who spent more than a decade as Google's director of facilities before leaving for a startup in 2013, initially joined the company after a roller hockey game with Larry and Sergey.
"They were much better than I expected for a bunch of engineers,"he told Edwards.
Brin’s athleticism is especially obvious in comparison to his sometimes awkward cofounder.
As opposed to Page, whom Edwards describes as having "awkward moves and self-conscious grins," Brin is "more fluid, athletic, acrobatic. Bouncy even. He laughed easily and seemed to always have an eye out for a railing he could vault or a rafter beam he could pull himself up on."
But there's an important motivation behind Brin's ongoing enthusiasm for exercise.
In 2008, he learned that he had a mutation on his LRRK2 gene, a defect that would substantially increase his risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Brin's mother, Eugenia, was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1999. Not everyone with an LRRK2 mutation will get Parkinson's, but it does raise the odds of developing the disease from around 1% for the average American to between 35% and 70% for a carrier.
Brin discovered he carried a defective gene after participating in a program run with 23AndMe, the genetic testing company founded by his wife Anne Wojcicki, from whom he has since separated.
But rather than resign himself to his fate, Brin has decided to take steps to reduce his risk. He estimates that with increased exercise and a healthy diet, he could potentially cut his risk in half, to about 25%.
"I know early in my life something I am substantially predisposed to. I now have the opportunity to adjust my life to reduce those odds,"he wrote in his blog. "I feel fortunate to be in this position. Until the fountain of youth is discovered, all of us will have some conditions in our old age, only we don't know what they will be. I have a better guess than almost anyone else for what ills may be mine — and I have decades to prepare for it."
As a multi-billionaire, Brin also has the means to support research into finding a cure for the disease he might develop some day. As of February 2014, he and Wojcicki had donated nearly $95 million to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, including a $32 million gift in 2013.
"If I felt it was guaranteed to cure Parkinson’s disease, a check for a billion dollars would be the easiest one I have written,"Brin told Bloomberg. "Pretty much everybody in the world has or will have some serious condition. How much is it worth to you to have that condition be potentially curable?"
I am not very brave. When it comes to daredevil activities, the farthest I'll go is zip-lining and the occasional roller coaster. I don't even like heights.
But I do like adventure! And, as we have reported, Google cofounder Sergey Brin likes to push his body to the limits. He counts the flying trapeze as one if his favorite hobbies, having taken advanced classes in his college days and bringing groups of Google employees to try it as a team.
How would it feel to soar through the air? What would it feel like to push myself to do something I would normally never try?
I spent an afternoon at the Trapeze School New York, and it was just as scary — and even more exhilarating — than I ever imagined.
Produced by Sam Rega.
We can barely figure out what we're looking at, but it looks amazingly difficult.
When Eric Schmidt joined Google, he was well aware of the not‑so‑good history of CEOs being hired by founders into their companies. Typically, the founder hires the CEO, eventually they disagree on something fundamental, the board backs one of them, and the other leaves.
Steve Jobs's hiring of John Sculley, a Pepsi executive, to succeed him as CEO at Apple in 1983 is the classic example. The two clashed and Sculley (backed by the board) fired Steve in 1985.
To avoid a similar fate when he joined Google, Eric decided he would let Larry Page and Sergey Brin do what they did best and he would focus more on the stuff needed to build the company at such an incredible pace, so it could continue to operate effectively and efficiently. The scenario of having a ruling triumvirate was so unique that Larry and Sergey described it in some detail in the letter that accompanied Google's IPO in 2004.
In fact, codifying the who-does-what working process of the trio was very helpful. The letter stated that Eric "focuses on management of our vice presidents and the sales organization. Sergey focuses on engineering and business deals. [Larry focuses] on engineering and product management," and that the three leaders were meeting daily (which continued throughout most of Eric's stint as CEO).
Most important, it said that the arrangement "works because we have tremendous trust and respect for each other and we generally think alike."
This all worked very well as long as the three agreed on key issues, which was most of the time. But it did occasionally lead to some difficult situations; when you have three strong-willed leaders, they will sometimes disagree. When that occurred, Eric's process to get to a good resolution was similar to his general decision-making process: Identify the issue, have the argument (alone, just the three of them), and set a deadline.
And he often added a corollary: Let the founders decide.
The tendency of a CEO, and particularly (speaking from experience) of a new CEO trying to make an impact in a founder-led company, is to try to make too big an impact. It is hard to check that CEO ego at the door and let others make decisions, but that is precisely what needs to be done.
In general, when you are CEO you should actually make very few decisions. Product launches, acquisitions, public policy issues — these are all decisions that CEOs should make or heavily influence. But there are many other issues where it is OK to let other leaders in the company decide, and intervene only when you know they are making a very bad call.
So a key skill to develop as the CEO or senior leader in a company is to know which decisions to make and which to let run their course without you.
This skill is even more important when you find yourself in the situation Eric did, running a company in the presence of two very active, respected, smart founders.
For example, there was one product review meeting where Eric, Sergey, and Larry ended up disagreeing about a key feature of a new product. There were about 20 people in the meeting, and after a few minutes Eric suspended the argument and then resumed it later that afternoon with just the three of them.
It was there he discovered that the two founders not only disagreed with him, but with each other as well. So Eric said fine, he would let the two of them decide, but they had to decide by the next day.
When he dropped by the office they shared in building 43 the next day at noon, he asked them, "Which one of you won?" And the response was typical: "Actually, we came up with a new idea."
It turned out to be the best solution, and the decision was made.
Excerpted from the book "HOW GOOGLE WORKS" by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg, with Alan Eagle. © 2014 by Google, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.
Google used to be known for asking bizarre, crazy-hard interview questions like, "How many golf balls can fit into a school bus?" Early employees would get grilled by the cofounders themselves.
The company has since ditched those brain-benders and also started using committees to hire, but in a new book, titled "How Google Works," Executive Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt and former SVP of Product Jonathan Rosenberg write an anecdote about Rosenberg's first Google interview.
It was 2000. Google called him to Mountain View to interview for a product leader position. Cofounder Sergey Brin asked Rosenberg one of his favorite interview questions: "Could you teach me something complicated I don't know?"
At first, Rosenberg launched into an explanation of a complicated economic law and how he would use it to find the company's optimal point of production and profit using cost and revenue functions. Brin started looking out the window, bored, and Rosenberg realized that he was failing completely. In fact, he was missing one major aspect of the question: He needed to take into account who exactly he was talking to.
Brin is a super genius. The economic law was complicated, but it wasn't interesting to Brin, who likely already knew it.
To keep his brainiac interviewer interested, he had to put the question in context of who he was talking to. So, Rosenberg started talking about courtship, using the story of his first date with his then-wife as a case study. He had sent her roses and a puzzle to "dangle the hook" before asking her out. He wanted the flowers to impress her, and the puzzle to test her brains.
Brin instantly became more engaged and Rosenberg got an offer. The goal of Brin's question was two-fold: He tested Rosenberg's ability to explain something complicated, but the question also determined whether Rosenberg could think of something quirky and outside-of-the-box that wasn't purely academic.
Actress Keira Knightley was freaked out by Google founder Sergey Brin's Crocs when she met him a special screening of her new movie "The Imitation Game."
The screening took place at tech mogul Yuri Milner's giant mansion in Silicon Valley, and Knightley talked about the experience — and Brin's choice of footwear — on Jimmy Kimmel last night.
“Sergey, who I assume is a very rich man, was wearing — was definitely wearing — Crocs,” she says incredulously.
Mark Zuckerberg was also in attendance, and Knightley says that along with the Crocs she noticed that hoodies were also "big in the tech industry."
Here's Knightley with Brin and Zuckerberg:
"Somebody actually came up to me and said, 'Hey, if you ever want to see a spaceship, here's my card,'" Knightley added. "Which has never happened to me before! So I might phone him and say, 'Yes. Show me spaceships.'"
Watch the hilarious here:
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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - After two years of popping up at high-profile events sporting Google Glass, the gadget that transforms eyeglasses into spy-movie worthy technology, Google co-founder Sergey Brin sauntered bare-faced into a Silicon Valley red-carpet event on Sunday.
He'd left his pair in the car, Brin told a reporter. The Googler, who heads up the top-secret lab which developed Glass, has hardly given up on the product -- he recently wore his pair to the beach.
But Brin's timing is not propitious, coming as many developers and early Glass users are losing interest in the much-hyped, $1,500 test version of the product: a camera, processor and stamp-sized computer screen mounted to the edge of eyeglass frames. Google Inc itself has pushed back the Glass roll out to the mass market.
While Glass may find some specialized, even lucrative, uses in the workplace, its prospects of becoming a consumer hit in the near future are slim, many developers say.
Of 16 Glass app makers contacted by Reuters, nine said that they had stopped work on their projects or abandoned them, mostly because of the lack of customers or limitations of the device. Three more have switched to developing for business, leaving behind consumer projects.
Plenty of larger developers remain with Glass. The nearly 100 apps on the official web site include Facebook and OpenTable, although one major player recently defected: Twitter.
"If there was 200 million Google Glasses sold, it would be a different perspective. There’s no market at this point," said Tom Frencel, the Chief Executive of Little Guy Games, which put development of a Glass game on hold this year and is looking at other platforms, including the Facebook Inc-owned virtual-reality goggles Oculus Rift.
Several key Google employees instrumental to developing Glass have left the company in the last six months, including lead developer Babak Parviz, electrical engineering chief Adrian Wong, and Ossama Alami, director of developer relations.
And a Glass funding consortium created by Google Ventures and two of Silicon Valley's biggest venture capitalists, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Andreessen Horowitz, quietly deleted its website, routing users to the main Glass site.
Google insists it is committed to Glass, with hundreds of engineers and executives working on it, as well as new fashionista boss Ivy Ross, a former Calvin Klein executive. Tens of thousands use Glass in the pilot consumer program.
“We are completely energized and as energized as ever about the opportunity that wearables and Glass in particular represent," said Glass Head of Business Operations Chris O'Neill.
Glass was the first project to emerge from Google’s X division, the secretive group tasked with developing “moonshot” products such as self-driving cars. Glass and wearable devices overall amount to a new technology, as smartphones once were, that will likely take time to evolve into a product that clicks with consumers.
“We are as committed as ever to a consumer launch. That is going to take time and we are not going to launch this product until it’s absolutely ready,” O'Neill said.
Brin had predicted a launch this year, but 2015 is now the most likely date, a person familiar with the matter said.
Glass Selling ... On eBay
After an initial burst of enthusiasm, signs that consumers are giving up on Glass have been building.
Google dubbed the first set of several thousand Glass users as "Explorers." But as the Explorers hit the streets, they drew stares and jokes. Some people viewed the device, capable of surreptitious video recording, as an obnoxious privacy intrusion, deriding the once-proud Explorers as “Glassholes.”
“It looks super nerdy,” said Shevetank Shah, a Washington, DC-based consultant, whose Google Glass now gathers dust in a drawer. “I’m a card carrying nerd, but this was one card too many.”
Glass now sells on eBay for as little as half list price.
Some developers recently have felt unsupported by investors and, at times, Google itself.
The Glass Collective, the funding consortium co-run by Google Ventures, invested in only three or four small start-ups by the beginning of this year, a person familiar with the statistics said.
A Google Ventures spokeswoman declined to comment on the number of investments and said the Web site was closed for simplicity. "We just found it's easier for entrepreneurs to come to us directly," she said.
The lack of a launch date has given some developers the impression that Google still treats Glass as an experiment.
Mobile game company Glu Mobile, known for its popular “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” title, was one of the first to launch a game on Glass. Spellista, a puzzler released a year ago, is still available, but Glu has discontinued work on it, a spokesman for the company said.
Another developer, Sean McCracken, won $10,000 in a contest last year for creating an aliens-themed video game for Glass, Psyclops, but Google never put it on the official hub for Glass apps, making it tougher to find. He has quit working on updates.
Still, there are some enthusiastic developers. Cycling and running app Strava finds Glass well-suited for its users, who want real-time data on their workouts, said David Lorsch, vice president of business development. And entrepreneur Jake Steinerman said it is ideal for his company, DriveSafe, which detects if people are falling asleep at the wheel.
In April, Google launched the Glass at Work program to help make the device useful for specific industries, such as healthcare and manufacturing. So far the effort has resulted in apps that are being tested or used at companies such as Boeing and Yum Brands' Taco Bell.
Google is selling Glass in bulk to some businesses, offering two-for-one discounts.
CrowdOptic, which uses Glass as portable computers for surgeons and other people out of offices, is currently in use at 19 U.S. hospitals and expects that to grow to 100 hospitals early next year, said Chief Executive Jon Fisher.
Alex Foster began See Through, a Glass advertising analytics firm for business, after a venture firm earlier this year withdrew its offer to back his consumer-oriented Glass fitness company when it became clear no big consumer Glass release was imminent.
"It was devastating," he said. "All of the consumer glass startups are either completely dead or have pivoted," to enterprise products or rival wearables.
(editing by Edwin Chan and Peter Henderson)
This year's Consumer Electronics Show may be over, but there are still some interesting tidbits from the Las Vegas technology conference circulating. Case in point: This photo of Sergey Brin trying on a Google Glass competitor.
9to5Google first flagged the photo of the Google cofounder trying on the Epson Moverio smart glasses on the show floor. The photo was snapped by Tim Moore, who works for Rochester Optical, the company supplying the lenses for the Epson Moverio.
It's not clear what Brin thought of the competitor, or if he was taking notes on the product.
Google Glass has yet to catch on with consumers, and multiple app developers (including Twitter) have already ditched the platform. A new model is expected in 2015, but with the wearable technology selling for less than half its retail price on eBay, Google needs all the help it can get.