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The latest news on Sergey Brin from Business Insider

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    Google co-founder Sergey Brin is incredibly successful. Here's a look into his unorthodox life. 

    Produced by Eames Yates. Original reporting by Jillian D'Onfro.

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    This is how some of the biggest names in technology stay physically fit. 

    Produced by Eames Yates. Original Reporting by Lisa Eadicicco

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    google

    I’ve long believed that speed is the ultimate weapon in business. All else being equal, the fastest company in any market will win.

    Speed is a defining characteristic — if not the defining characteristic — of the leader in virtually every industry you look at.

    In tech, speed is seen primarily as an asset in product development. Hence the “move fast and break things” mentality, the commitment to minimum viable products and agile development.

    Many people would agree that speed and agility are how you win when it comes to product.

    What they fail to grasp is that speed matters to the rest of the business too — not just product. Google is fast. General Motors is slow. Startups are fast. Big companies are slow. It’s pretty clear that fast equals good, but there’s relatively little written about how to develop the institutional and employee muscle necessary to make speed a serious competitive advantage.

    "I believe that speed, like exercise and eating healthy, can be habitual."

    Through a prolonged, proactive effort to develop these good habits, we can convert ourselves as founders, executives and employees to be faster, more efficient company-building machines. And, when enough members of a team exhibit this set of habits, and are rewarded with reinforcement, compensation, and promotions, the organization itself will gain velocity.

    This is how category killers are made.

    So let’s break this down. What are the building blocks of speed? When you think about it, all business activity really comes down to two simple things: Making decisions and executing on decisions. Your success depends on your ability to develop speed as a habit in both.

    Making decisions

    "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week."

    General George Patton said that, and I definitely subscribe to it. Do you remember the last time you were in a meeting and someone said, “We’re going to make this decision before we leave the room”? How great did that feel? Didn’t you just want to hug that person?

    The process of making and remaking decisions wastes an insane amount of time at companies. The key takeaway: WHEN a decision is made is much more important than WHAT decision is made.

    If, by way of habit, you consistently begin every decision-making process by considering how much time and effort that decision is worth, who needs to have input, and when you’ll have an answer, you'll have developed the first important muscle for speed.

    This isn’t to say all decisions should be made quickly. Some decisions are more complicated or critical than others. It might behoove you to wait for more information. Some decisions can’t be easily reversed or would be too damaging if you choose poorly. Most importantly, some decisions don’t need to be made immediately to maintain downstream velocity.

    "Deciding on when a decision will be made from the start is a profound, powerful change that will speed everything up."

    In my many years at Google, I saw Eric Schmidt use this approach to decision-making on a regular basis — probably without even thinking about it. Because founders Larry and Sergey were (and are) very strong-minded leaders involved in every major decision, Eric knew he couldn’t make huge unilateral choices. This could have stalled a lot of things, but Eric made sure that decisions were made on a specific timeframe — a realistic one — but a firm one. He made this a habit for himself and it made a world of difference for Google.

    Larry Page

    Today at Upstart, we’re a much smaller company, and we’re making decisions that matter several times a day. We’re deeply driven by the belief that fast decisions are far better than slow ones and radically better than no decisions. From day to day, hour to hour, we think about how important each decision is and how much time it’s worth taking. There are decisions that deserve days of debate and analysis, but the vast majority aren’t worth more than 10 minutes.

    "It's important to internalize how irreversible, fatal or non-fatal a decision may be. Very few can't be undone."

    Note that speed doesn’t require one leader to make all the calls top-down. The art of good decision making requires that you gather input and perspective from your team, and then push toward a final decision in a way that makes it clear that all voices were heard.

    As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve moved away from telling people I had the right answer upfront to shaping and steering the discussion toward a conclusion. I wouldn’t call it consensus building — you don’t want consensus to hold you hostage — but input from others will help you get to the right decision faster, and with buy-in from the team.

    This isn’t a vote for rash decisions. I can be a little too “pedal to the metal” at times, and sometimes my co-founder Anna will say, “This is a big decision. Even though we think we know what to do, let’s give it 24 hours.” She’s saved us multiple times with that wisdom.

    There's an art to knowing when to end debate and make a decision. Many leaders are reluctant to make the final call when there are good arguments and a lot of emotions on both sides. We intuitively want the team to come to the right decision on their own. But I’ve found that people are enormously relieved when they hear that you’re grabbing the baton and accepting responsibility for a decision.

    Using the “CEO prerogative” — to make the final call — isn’t something you ought to need every day. As long as you do it sparingly, you can actually make your employees more comfortable, and engender more trust by pulling the trigger, logically explaining your choice and sticking with it.

    In fact, gauging comfort on your team is a really helpful measure of whether you’re going fast enough or not.

    "You know you're going fast enough if there's a low-level discomfort, people feeling stretched. But if you're going too fast, you'll see it on their faces, and that's important to spot too."

    While I was at Google, Larry Page was extremely good at forcing decisions so fast that people were worried the team was about to drive the car off a cliff. He’d push it as far as he could go without people crossing that line of discomfort. It was just his fundamental nature to ask, “Why not? Why can’t we do it faster than this?” and then wait to see if people started screaming. He really rallied everyone around this theory that fast decisions, unless they’re fatal, are always better.

    Executing decisions

    A lot of people spend a whole lot of time refining their productivity systems and to-do lists. But within the context of a team and a business, executing a plan as quickly as possible is an entirely different concept. Here’s how I’ve learned to execute with momentum.

    Challenge the when.

    I’m always shocked by how many plans and action items come out of meetings without being assigned due dates. Even when dates are assigned, they’re often based on half-baked intuition about how long the task should take. Completion dates and times follow a tribal notion of the sun setting and rising, and too often “tomorrow” is the default answer.

    It’s not that everything needs to be done NOW, but for items on your critical path, it’s always useful to challenge the due date. All it takes is asking the simplest question: “Why can't this be done sooner?” Asking it methodically, reliably and habitually can have a profound impact on the speed of your organization.

    This is definitely a tactic that starts with individual employees first — ideally those in senior positions who can influence others’ behavior. As a leader, you want them to make “things I like to do” become “things we like to do.” This is how ideas get ingrained. I’ve seen too many people never question when something will be delivered and assume it will happen immediately. This rarely happens. I’ve also seen ideas float into the ether because they were never anchored in time.

    You don’t have to be militant about it, just consistently respond that today is better that tomorrow, that right now is better than six hours from now.

    There’s a funny story about my old pal Sabih Khan, who worked in Operations at Apple when I was a product manager there. In 2008, he was meeting with Tim Cook about a production snafu in China. Tim said, “This is bad. Someone ought to get over there.” Thirty minutes went by and the conversation moved to other topics. Suddenly Tim looked back at Sabih and asked, 'Why are you still here?' Sabih left the meeting immediately, drove directly to San Francisco Airport, got on the next flight to China without even a change of clothes. But you can bet that problem was resolved fast.

    "The candle is always burning. You need leadership to feel and infuse every discussion with that kind of urgency."

    tim cook

    Recognize and remove dependencies.

    Just as important as assigning a deadline, you need to tease out any dependencies around an action item. This might be obvious, but mission critical items should be absolutely gang tackled by your team in order to accelerate all downstream activities. Things that can wait till later need to wait. Ultimately, you can’t have team members slow-rolling on non-vital tasks when they could be hacking away at the due date for something that is make or break.

    A big part of this is making sure people aren’t waiting on one another to take next steps. The untrained mind has a weird way of defaulting to serial activities — i.e. I’ll do this after you do that after X, Y, Z happens. You want people working in parallel instead.

    "A lot of people assume dependencies where they don't even exist."

    How can you turn serial dependencies into parallel action? As a CEO, I insert myself at different points in a process to radically accelerate things. For example, if we’re coming up on an announcement and time is of the essence, I might jump in and just write the blog post myself. It’s not that my team couldn’t do it. I just know it would be faster since I’m the one who’s picky about the content anyway. As a leader, it’s your job to recognize the dependencies and non-dependencies, and take action depending on how critical the thing is and when it’s due.

    Ten times a day I’ll find myself sitting in a meeting saying, “We don’t need to wait for that thing, we can do this now.” That thought is so common. It’s just that people need to say it out loud more often.

    Eliminate cognitive overhead.

    Remember when you used to download lots of songs on iTunes? It was so painfully slow if you wanted to buy a whole album at once. You’d have to wait for one to finish downloading so they could all speed up. Projects are like this. Sometimes a project is so complicated that it feels like you’re downloading six albums at once so everything else grinds to a halt too.

    I can’t even count the number of meetings I had at Google related to enterprise app identities versus normal consumer Google IDs. We launched a project to fix this, but it was so complicated that the first 30 minutes of every meeting were dedicated to restating what had happened in the last meeting. The cognitive overhead was mind boggling.

    This is how I learned that if you can knock out big chunks of a project early, you can reduce the overhead of the remaining parts by 90%. You should always be on the lookout for these opportunities.

    Often, it will be one tiny element of a project that’s adding all of the complexity. For example, our business at Upstart has to comply with a lot of regulations. There’s not a lot we can do until we know we’ll have legal approval, so we used to spend a lot of time dancing around whether something was going to be legal or not. Then we thought, why don’t we just get a brain dump from our lawyers saying, “Do this, this and this and not this, and you’ll be fine.” Having that type of simple understanding of the problem drastically reduced the cognitive overhead of every decision we made.

    If you can assess, pull out and stomp on the complicating pieces of the puzzle, everyone’s life gets easier. The one I see the most — and this includes at Google too — is that people hem and haw over what the founder or CEO will think every step of the way. Just get their input first. Don’t get your work reversed later on. What a founder might think is classic cognitive overhead.

    Use competition the right way.

    Talking about your competition is a good way to add urgency. But you have to be careful. As a leader, your role is to determine whether your team is going fast because they're panicked, or if they don’t seem to be paranoid enough. Based on the answer, competition is a helpful tool.

    At Upstart, we constantly say that while we’re working hard on this one thing, our competitors are probably working just as hard on something we don’t even know about. So we have to be vigilant. A lot of people say you should ignore competition, but by acknowledging it, you’re incentivizing yourself to set the pace in your market.

    "You can either set the pace of the market or be the one to react. Whoever is fastest out of the gate is the one everyone else has to react to."

    When we were launching Google Apps, we were coming out against Microsoft Office, which had this dominant, monopolistic ownership of the business. We thought about what we could do differently and better, and the simplicity of our pricing was part of it.

    We offered one price of $50 per employee per year — compared to the wacky 20-page price list Microsoft would drop on you. We didn’t agonize over whether it should be $45, $50 or $55 — I think we decided that in a half hour. We just wanted to be able to tell people, “We may not be free, but we’ll be the simplest decision you ever made.” That was us re-setting the bar for the market and pushing it hard so everyone else would have to react to it.

    Rally support for decisions.

    Almost nothing in tech can be done in a vacuum. Basically, once you’ve made a decision, you’ll need to convince others that you’re right and get them to prioritize what you need from them over the other things on their plate.

    Influencing a decision starts with recognizing that you’re really just dealing with other people. Even if it’s a vendor or another company you need to rally, it boils down to one person first. Given this view, you need to make a point of understanding this person, what their job is, how their success is measured, what they care about, what all of their other priorities are, etc. Then ask: “How can you help them get what they want while helping you get what you want?”

    I’ve seen this done by appealing to people’s pride. Maybe you tell them that you used to work with a competitor who was quite speedy so that they have incentive to go even faster. I’ve also seen this done by appealing to human decency and being honest. You might say something like, "Hey we’re really betting heavily on this, and we really need you guys to deliver."

    Whichever route you choose, you want to back up your argument with logic. You should gently seek to understand what’s happening. I tend to ask a lot of questions like: “Can you help me understand why something would take so long? Is there any way we can help or make it go faster?” Really try to get to the heart of the actions they're taking and the time they’ve carved out to do it. And if this works, be sure to commend them to their boss.

    I highly recommend this over a brute force method of escalating things to the person’s manager or throwing competition in their face. That doesn’t serve them, and they’ll be much less likely to serve you as a result.

    "How can you make other people look good? How can you make meeting your needs a win for them inside their company?"

    All of this comes back to making things go as fast and smoothly as possible. When you feel things start to slow down, you have to keep asking questions. Questions are your best weapon against inertia.

    To keep things moving along at Upstart, I ask a lot of hard questions very quickly, and most of them are time related. I know that we execute well and are generally working on the right things at the right time, but I will always challenge why something takes a certain amount of time. Are we working as smartly as we can?

    Too many people believe that speed is the enemy of quality. To an extent they’re right — you can’t force innovation and sometimes genius needs time and freedom to bloom. But in my experience, that’s the rare case. There’s not always a stark tradeoff between something done fast and done well. Don’t let you or your organization use that as a false shield or excuse to lose momentum. The moment you do, you lose your competitive advantage.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how Google employees are reacting to the huge changes at their company

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    burning manThe annual pilgrimage of artists, nudists and partiers to Nevada’s Black Rock desert is underway, as the week-long Burning Man festival begins.

    But what if the festival never had to end?

    It’s an idea that the organizers have apparently been looking into, with a 4,000 acre property in Northern Nevada even identified as the ideal site for a permanent community where the Burning Man principles of “radical inclusion” and “gifting” could be the law of the land year-round.

    The trick is getting the money to buy the property, and according to a report in New York magazine on Sunday, two deep-pocketed tech billionaires and Burning Man regulars may provide the funding to make the dream a reality.

    According to the report, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Tesla CEO Elon Musk were both rumored to have gotten a special tour of the property during last year’s Burning Man festival.

    The report  quotes festival co-founder Will Roger saying that “tech titans” share his vision of creating an “experiment in a permanent community,” though he never specifies who the tech titans are or directly addresses the rumor about Brin and Musk being potential investors.

    One of the original Burning Man architects has created plans for a “Burning Many Fly Ranch city, a mix of homes and communal spaces built to blend into the desert,” the report says.

    sergey brin“According to one plan, Fly Ranch buildings would be made with unpainted, rammed earth and sod. No fences would be allowed, and all members of the community, who could either build homesteads or buy into a communal village,” the report continues.

    That doesn’t sound very high-tech or futuristic. But the notion of creating an autonomous enclave with its own set of rules has become a key plank in the techno-utopian worldview. Brin’s partner Larry Page once publicly made the case for setting aside "a part of the world” for technology experiments that would not be constrained by bureaucracy. In fact, he cited Burning Man as a model for such a place. 

    We’ve reached out to Google and Tesla for comment about whether Brin and Musk are indeed investing in the Burning Man city and will update if we hear back.

    SEE ALSO: The Burning Man bugs are gone — here's why they probably disappeared

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    NOW WATCH: The insanely successful and unorthodox life of Google founder Sergey Brin


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    DNA

    A growing number of tech moguls are trying to solve their biggest problem yet: Aging. 

    From reprogramming DNA to printing organs, some of Silicon Valley's most successful and wealthy leaders are investing in biomedical research and new technologies with hopes of discovering the secret to living longer. And their investments are beginning to move the needle, said Zoltan Istvan, futurist and transhumanist presidential candidate.  

    "I think a lot of the most important work in longevity is coming from a handful of the billionaires," Istvan told Tech Insider. "There are approximately six or seven billionaires that are very interested in life extension and they are putting in $40, $50, $100 million out there every year or every few years into this stuff. It makes a big difference when you have these legendary figures saying 'Hey, we can do this.'”

    Here's some of those billionaires investing in the anti-aging and longevity research and development. 

    SEE ALSO: 6 super-successful people and their most interesting hobbies

    Peter Thiel

    Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, is known for his early investment in Facebook, but now he is betting big on biotech. Thiel said that he believes anti-aging medicine is “structurally unexplored,” according to a report from MIT Technology Review.

    “The way people deal with aging is a combination of acceptance and denial,” he told Technology Review in March. “They accept there is nothing they can do about it, and deny it’s going to happen to them.”

    Thiel takes hormone growth daily and is planning to participate in cryonic freezing after his death, according to the Technology Review report.

    The 47 year old isn’t accepting or denying it, though. He has invested heavily to try to fight death for the last several years. Back in 2006, he pledged $3.5 million to the Methuselah Foundation, which is a non-profit group working on life extension by advancing tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

    Thiel has also heavily invested in biotech companies. Most of his investments in the space are made via his Thiel Foundation. But at least five investments — including the DNA laser printing company Cambrian Genomics and cancer drug developer Stem CentRx  — via his venture capital firm Founder Fund. He has also invested $17 million in Counsyl since 2011, which is a company that offers DNA screening.



    Larry Ellison

    The founder of Oracle has said that he wishes to live forever and is an avid financial supporter into anti-aging research.

    The Ellison Medical Foundation, which according to its website “supports basic biomedical research on aging relevant to understanding lifespan development processes and age-related diseases and disabilities,”has donated about $430 million in grants to medical researchers since 1997, about 80% of which has been focused on anti-aging developments.

    “Death has never made any sense to me. How can a person be there and then just vanish, just not be there?” Ellison told his biographer Mike Wilson in 2003.



    Larry Page

    The co-founder of Google and CEO of Alphabet, also founded Calico in 2013. Calico, which is short for California Life Company, focuses on anti-aging research. In 2014, the company announced it had an investment of $750 million from Google.

    Since its launch, Calico has also entered into several partnerships with different organizations to help it cure aging.

    Most recently, Calico announced in April it was teaming up with the Buck Institute for for Research on Aging, which is one of the largest independent anti-aging research organizations. In 2013, the group garnered some attention for using genetic mutations to increase the lifespan of earthworms to the human equivalent of 400 to 500 years.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    sergey brin

    Google cofounder Sergey Brin seems be one of the lucky people taking home one of Tesla's six brand-new electric SUVs. 

    At a splashy event Tuesday evening, Tesla CEO Elon Musk presented only five people with new Model X cars (he kept the first one for himself). When a woman took the fourth one, Musk was overhead saying "Stand in for Sergey?" Dana Hull at Bloomberg reports

    Brin, a friend of Musk and an early Tesla investor, has previously owned a Model S

    The first new Teslas are always nearly impossible to obtain. 

    Before the Model S came out, Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson carried a blank check in his wallet after spotting details about the upcoming car in a hefty Tesla information packet. Before the next board meeting started, he whipped out the check, filled out the price, and tossed it to Musk, he told Patrick May of the Mercury News in 2010.

    Jurvetson managed to snag a Model X on Tuesday night, too. 

    The eagerly-awaited Model X seats seven (while also capable of carrying 5,000 pounds of cargo), and can hit 60 MPH in 3.2 seconds when in "Ludicrous Mode." The car, which starts at $132,000, is on sale now, but the 25,000 pre-orders mean that even if you order one today, you'll have to wait eight to 12 months before you'll get it. 

    It was an automotive-filled day for Brin. Earlier on Tuesday, he made a presentation for the press about the progress of Google's self-driving cars

    Tesla Model X

    SEE ALSO: The insanely successful life of Google cofounder Sergey Brin

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    sergey brin

    Google cofounder Sergey Brin loves driving — and even reportedly bought one of Tesla's fancy, brand-new SUVs— but he still can't wait for a future full of autonomous vehicles.

    At a panel the company held earlier this week about its self-driving cars, one Australian journalist grilled Brin about how Google could try to ruin the bond between people and their cars.

    "How dare you mess with the relationship between the car lover and their car?" he asked. "Is the goal here a future without human drivers?"

    I can definitely empathize with that view and in America, too, people definitely have an intimate relationship with their cars," he said. "I love the idea of being out on an open road that's curvy and fun, when you're driving and really getting into it. But that's probably about 1% of my experience."

    Typically people are not cruising leisurely down the likes of California's Route 1. They are in stop-and-go traffic. Or waiting at lights. Or speeding down a straight, boring highway. Or trying to find parking.

    Or, worse, crashing into other cars. Google says that safety is one of its biggest priorities with its self-driving automobiles. Every year, 1.2 million people die in car accidents, more than 33,000 of them in the United States. During the panel, the new CEO of the self-driving car program, John Krafcik, equated that to five Boeing 737 aircrafts crashing every week. Google's cars are already much safer and smarter than you are on the road.

    Google self-driving car

    Although Brin agrees that car lovers should still be able to get their fix, there's no point slowing down the progress of autonomous driving technology to please them.

    "I think there's always going to be a pleasure in being able to hit the open road and enjoy that," he says. "But I think that for a large percentage of our day-to-day driving, we're going to prefer the car to drive itself — it will be safer, for both the occupant and the people around you."

    Although Google has built its own self-driving cars, it doesn't plan on selling them. Instead, it will partner with manufacturers to get its software and other technology into other vehicles. Still, Brin says he can envision some cars being capable of both full-autonomy and a regular driving mode.

    "This technology is going to benefit a lot of people," Brin continued, "And I'd love to see it be available in as many situations as possible."

    SEE ALSO: Why watching a presentation about Google's self-driving cars made me terrified to ever drive again

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    Sergey Brin and Larry Page

    Why would a search advertising company want to make business software?

    It's been a lingering question for more than 9 years, ever since Google started to offer Google Apps, including Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive, to schools, startups, and big companies — especially since it puts the search giant in constant conflict with Microsoft Office

    Now, we finally have an answer. 

    According to Rich Rao, Head of Global Sales at Google Apps for Work, that continued push for Google Apps for Work comes from "the highest level."

    Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have long believed that given the sheer amount of time that people spend at their jobs, ignoring the workplace would be doing a disservice to Google's long-standing corporate mission — "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

    In fact, Rao says, Google recently held one of its famous "TGIF" all-hands meetings, where Brin, Page, and new Google CEO Sundar Pichai talked about almost nothing but the Google for Work project for the entire hour.

    Despite the fact that the Google for Work team has been quiet compared with the publicity blizes around some of the search advertising giant's other projects, including flagship Android devices and self-driving cars, Rao says that the work on Work hasn't stopped.

    Still, Google's mission is at odds with Microsoft's, whose corporate mandate is to help people be more productive anywhere. That means that no matter the ideology, Google and Microsoft are just going to keep clashing

     

    SEE ALSO: 38 photos of Google's rise from a Stanford dorm room to world domination

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    Elon Musk

    Many Tesla supporters dismiss the company's continuing financial losses, claiming that Google could use its vast cash horde to rescue Tesla Motors, if need be.

    A biography of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, published earlier this year, claims a deal was struck with Google co-founder Sergey Brin to rescue Tesla at a time when the automaker was struggling to get its Model S electric car into production.

    Now, it appears Brin may have become the owner of the fourth Tesla Model X electric crossover, part of the first batch unveiled at Tesla's factory at the end of September.

    The fourth Model X — painted white — was not claimed by Brin at the unveiling event, but Bloomberg claims it belongs to him, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

    When the crossover was rolled out, a woman stood up to claim it.

    "Stand in for Sergey?" was reportedly Musk's response. Brin was also apparently spotted in the VIP seating area at the launch event at Tesla's assembly plant in Fremont, California. 

    Musk reportedly claimed the first Model X for himself, while the second copy went to venture capitalist and Tesla investor Steve Jurvetson.sergey brin
    The vehicles belonging to Musk, Jurvetson, and possibly Brin were part of a group of just six handed over to customers.

    These were all reportedly "Founders Series" models reserved for board members and close friends of the company.

    Officially, the first Model X examples are all Signature Series models, with 90-kilowatt-hour battery packs and the new Autopilot autonomous system.

    These are presumably going to customers who made early reservations, but aren't part of the innermost circle around Tesla and Musk.

    But it remains unclear how long it will take for Model X production to fully ramp up.

    In a letter to shareholders on Tuesday that detailed its third-quarter financial results, Tesla said the crossover's supply chain still needs to be fine-tuned.
    Tesla Model XTo eliminate a perceived supply constraint, the company said it brought construction of "second row monopost seats" in-house.

    "In addition we, and some of our Model X suppliers, are still ramping up and fine-tuning production," the letter said.

    The company said this "adds uncertainty" to its production projections for the fourth quarter, but that it feels it is doing what is necessary to emphasize quality.

    The company reiterated its projection that it would deliver 50,000 electric cars during 2015; that would require it to sell roughly 16,800 cars in the fourth quarter.

    That's more than the deliveries of 10,000 to 11,600 it managed in each of the three previous quarters.

    SEE ALSO: Tesla goes wild after earnings

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    High school student Ryan Chester won the Junior Challenge Breakthrough Prize, worth a total of $400,000. 

    Produced by Jacqui Frank

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    Larry Page Sergey Brin

    If you work at Google or parent company Alphabet, you won't be hard-pressed to spot top executives like founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin or Google CEO Sundar Pichai around the Mountain View campus. 

    But good luck actually talking to them. 

    Or so says Don Dodge, a company developer advocate for the last six years, according to his LinkedIn profile. 

    He posted an answer to a question on Q&A site Quora which asked how easy it was for employees to meet Page or Brin.

    "Larry and Sergey, and Sundar Pichai are very visible at Google," Dodge writes.

    The execs show up to "TGIF"— the company's weekly all hands meetings that actually take place on Thursday — as well as parties and in the dining areas. 

    But, Dodge continues, don't expect to start chatting away:

    "However, that doesn't mean they are easy to approach and engage in discussion. They are very private and don't engage in small talk. They are usually very focused on their priorities, and their schedule is always fully booked. Larry is a notoriously fast walker and avoids eye contact with anyone so he can get to his destination without disruption."

    Still though, the weekly TGIF meeting with execs is more face-time than employees at other major tech companies get with top brass. 

    SEE ALSO: Google’s robot group struggles to fill leadership vacuum as it shoots for ambitious launch before 2020

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    richard branson necker island

    For some, the weekend's a sacred retreat from the hustle and bustle of work.

    For others, the weekend is a myth — Saturday and Sunday are mere extensions of the workweek and a chance to get ahead of the competition.

    Judging from the ways successful people spend their — at least theoretical — time away from work, there really is no right or wrong way to structure your weekends. It's all about striking the right balance for you.

    Here's how some successful people do it.

    Richard Branson hangs out on his island in the Caribbean.

    While Branson tells the Telegraph he spends half the year traveling the world on business trips, he says he spends the other half on his tiny private Caribbean island, Necker.

    "I know I shouldn't, but I still like to party on Friday nights," he admits. The business mogul says he dances until the wee hours of the morning to the sounds of the island's band, the Front Line, and heads to the crow's nest on his roof around 2 a.m. to watch the stars.

    Despite being up late, Branson says he still wakes up early, usually before everyone else, and goes for a swim around the island.

    "It's exquisitely beautiful; I'll see spotted eagle rays, giant leatherback turtles and a number of species of shark, such as nurse sharks and lemon sharks,"he tells the Telegraph. "It's not frightening; if you're swimming with sharks they don't tend to bother you at all, it's only if they mistake you for a seal that they might have a nip."

    His morning swim is usually followed by a healthy breakfast of fruit salad or natural muesli, though on occasion he spoils himself with kippers or an English breakfast.

    The day's activities could include tennis, kitesurfing, scuba diving, or hanging out with dolphins and whales in his tiny submarine. But Branson says afternoons are always spent on the beach, oftentimes playing chess with his kids. 

    Saturday evenings consist of more partying, and Sundays include rock jumping, paddle boarding, and boat races, Branson tells the Telegraph



    Elon Musk spends time with his children.

    Musk, the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, has five sons, with whom, he told Mashable, he hangs out on the weekends.

    But he also admitted at South by Southwest in 2013 that some of this "quality time" is spent sending emails.

    "Because they don't need constant interaction, except when we're talking directly," he said. "I find I can be with them and still be working at the same time."



    Jack Dorsey hikes and prepares for the week.

    In 2011, when Jack Dorsey was running Twitter and Square full-time, the cofounder told the audience at Techonomy 2011 that, to get it all done, he gave each day a theme. This allowed him to quickly recall and refocus on the day's task once distractions were out of the way.

    Dorsey said he would take Saturday off to hike and spend Sunday focusing on reflections, feedback, strategy, and getting ready for the rest of the week.

    Now that he's back running both companies, there's a good chance theme days could come in handy again.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Sergey Brin

    Google and Ford are in talks about forming a partnership to develop autonomous car technology, a person briefed on the matter said on Tuesday.

    The extent of a partnership between the second-largest U.S. automaker and search engine giant Alphabet remains under discussion and the precise framework of any effort is unclear but it could include jointly building and developing cars.

    The two sides have been talking for months, the source said.

    A partnership between a major automaker and Google could speed the introduction of self-driving vehicles by giving the car company access to Google's wealth of software development while Google would benefit from the industrial and automotive know-how of a firm such as Ford.

    Fully autonomous cars could eventually prevent thousands of crashes, deaths and injuries, reduce oil use through better traffic management and extend personal mobility to people unable to drive.

    Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields met with Google co-founder Sergey Brin earlier this month in California to discuss the status of the talks, the source, who was briefed on the matter, said.

    Google says it is in talks with many automakers. It is not clear if the talks with Ford have progressed beyond discussions with other automakers.

    "We're not going to comment on rumor or speculation about specific conversations," Google said in a statement.

    Ford declined to confirm or deny talks with Google.

    "We have been, and will continue working with many companies and discussing a variety of subjects," Ford spokesman Alan Hall said.

    The pod-mobile

    Google CarGoogle has logged more than 1.3 million miles of autonomous driving. It has developed a prototype pod-like self-driving car that could be driven without a steering wheel and pedals.

    Automotive News reported Monday the companies are in talks to have the automaker build Google's next-generation autonomous cars.

    Yahoo Autos reported the two firms will create a joint venture to build self-driving vehicles with Google's technology. Both said an announcement on the partnership could be made at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January.

    Ford shares were up 3.4 percent, or $0.47 a share, to $14.20 on news of the potential partnership. Google rose 0.3 percent, or $2.23, to $750 a share.

    Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said both partners could benefit. "An alliance between the two industries could make everything happen much quicker," Brauer said.

    Ford's former CEO, Alan Mulally, is a director at Google, while Google named John Krafcik as chief executive of its self-driving car project in September. Krafcik worked at Ford for 14 years in a number of positions.

    SEE ALSO: Google is building a smart messaging service to take on Facebook ‘M’

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    bill gates

    To become one of the most highly successful people of your time, you have to take extreme risk — right?

    As Adam Grant, a professor of management at Wharton, argues in his new book, "Originals," this is one of the most common and completely misguided myths about success.

    Grant tells Business Insider that he used to think originals, or non-conformists who think of the world in a different way and take actions to make it a reality, were big risk-takers. That is until he looked at the data. 

    "It turns out most successful originals are just as cautious as the rest of us," he says. "They hate to lose money, they hate to have low odds of success, and what they often do is, when they know they have to take a gamble in one domain, they'll offset that by being really safe in another domain."

    The most successful innovators hedge their bets.

    When management researchers from the University of Wisconsin tracked more than 5,000 Americans who became entrepreneurs over the course of 12 years, they found that the entrepreneurs who hedged their bets by starting their companies while keeping their day jobs were 33% less likely to fail than those who quit their day jobs to start their business.

    And anecdotal evidence bears this out.

    As Grant highlights in his book, Warby Parker's cofounders were planning their company while taking classes at Wharton and were unwilling to drop out. They all had job options lined up for after graduation in case the launch didn't work out.

    Steve Wozniak continued working full-time as a Hewlett-Packard engineer for a year after inventing the Apple I computer and starting the company with Steve Jobs.

    And it took Sergey Brin and Larry Page two years after figuring out how to dramatically improve internet searches to leave Stanford and start Google.

    "We've all looked up to people who have the courage to risk everything and put their college degrees or even their jobs on the line to start something new," Grant tells Business Insider. But as Bill Gates illustrates, this isn't always the full picture.

    "The story is, he dropped out of college because he believed so much in Microsoft," he says. "But if you actually trace back to that story, it's not quite how the narrative goes."

    "He didn't drop out of college; he got a leave of absence so if Microsoft didn't work out, he could go back," Grant says. What's more, Gates already had tested out his idea for a year and had investors interested in paying him for his software. "So he knew he had something of real value, and he knew he had a backup plan just in case." 

    "That story is not quite as well told; it doesn't quite fit as much with the 'American Dream' of having a big idea and then diving into it," Grant says. "But it's much more of the reality of how most originals bring their ideas into they world — they say, 'You know what, I'm going to play it safe here, I'm going to try this out, and ultimately make it work.'"

    SEE ALSO: A Wharton professor shares 3 science-backed strategies for raising highly creative kids

    SEE ALSO: Steve Jobs was one of the greatest procrastinators ever — here's how that helped him become so successful

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Try this renowned steakhouse marinade recipe for the ultimate steak


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    sergey brin

    In 1996, Sergey Brin and his Stanford Ph.D. classmate Larry Page started developing what would become the Google search engine.

    On his personalized Stanford site from those early days, he wrote, "Research on the Web seems to be fashionable these days and I guess I'm no exception. "

    Today, Google is the primary subsidiary of Alphabet, Brin and Page's monolithic tech company with a market cap of more than $480 billion. Aside from serving as president of Alphabet, Brin is also CEO of its secretive company X, which aims to develop potentially world-changing technologies like self-driving cars.

    In a 2000 interview with the Academy of Achievement nonprofit, conducted when Google was still four years away from its initial public offering, Brin said there were two books that especially inspired him to dedicate his career to blending technology and creativity.

    SEE ALSO: Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey says these 7 books changed his life

    'Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!' by Richard P. Feynman

    Feynman (1918-1988) won the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in quantum electrodynamics and remains a giant in his field. He is perhaps best known in pop culture for his entertaining autobiographical works, which Brin says all left an impact on him. "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" first published in 1985, is regarded as the best introduction to these works.

    "Aside from making really big contributions in his own field, he was pretty broad-minded," Brin told the Academy of Achievement. "I remember he had an excerpt where he was explaining how he really wanted to be a Leonardo [da Vinci], an artist and a scientist. I found that pretty inspiring. I think that leads to having a fulfilling life."

    Feynman, who created a portfolio of drawings and paintings under the pseudonym "Ofey,"explained in a 1981 BBC interview how art and science complement each other: "I have a friend who's an artist and ... he says, 'I as an artist can see how beautiful this [flower] is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,' and I think that he's kind of nutty. ...

    "I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. ... All kinds of interesting questions, which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower."

    Find it here »



    'Snow Crash' by Neal Stephenson

    Brin said he is a big sci-fi fan, and Stephenson's acclaimed 1992 novel "Snow Crash" is one of his favorites.

    In 2010, Time named it one of the 100 best novels in the English language published since the magazine's founding in 1923.

    It takes place in a dystopian near future where the US has been replaced by corporate microstates and a computer virus is killing programmers.

    Within the complex, fun story Stephenson predicts the rise of online social networks, and what would become Google Earth in 2004.

    The book "was really 10 years ahead of its time," Brin said.

    "It kind of anticipated what's going to happen, and I find that really interesting."

    Find it here »



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    richard branson necker island

    For some, the weekend's a sacred retreat from the hustle and bustle of work.

    For others, the weekend is a myth — Saturday and Sunday are mere extensions of the workweek and a chance to get ahead of the competition.

    Judging from the ways successful people spend their — at least theoretical — time away from work, there really is no right or wrong way to structure your weekends. It's all about striking the right balance for you.

    Here's how some successful people do it.

    Richard Branson hangs out on his island in the Caribbean.

    While Branson tells the Telegraph he spends half the year traveling the world on business trips, he says he spends the other half on his tiny private Caribbean island, Necker.

    "I know I shouldn't, but I still like to party on Friday nights," he admits. The business mogul says he dances until the wee hours of the morning to the sounds of the island's band, the Front Line, and heads to the crow's nest on his roof around 2 a.m. to watch the stars.

    Despite being up late, Branson says he still wakes up early, usually before everyone else, and goes for a swim around the island.

    "It's exquisitely beautiful; I'll see spotted eagle rays, giant leatherback turtles and a number of species of shark, such as nurse sharks and lemon sharks,"he tells the Telegraph. "It's not frightening; if you're swimming with sharks they don't tend to bother you at all, it's only if they mistake you for a seal that they might have a nip."

    His morning swim is usually followed by a healthy breakfast of fruit salad or natural muesli, though on occasion he spoils himself with kippers or an English breakfast.

    The day's activities could include tennis, kitesurfing, scuba diving, or hanging out with dolphins and whales in his tiny submarine. But Branson says afternoons are always spent on the beach, oftentimes playing chess with his kids. 

    Saturday evenings consist of more partying, and Sundays include rock jumping, paddle boarding, and boat races, Branson tells the Telegraph



    Elon Musk spends time with his children.

    Musk, the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, has five sons, with whom, he told Mashable, he hangs out on the weekends.

    But he also admitted at South by Southwest in 2013 that some of this "quality time" is spent sending emails.

    "Because they don't need constant interaction, except when we're talking directly," he said. "I find I can be with them and still be working at the same time."



    Jack Dorsey hikes and prepares for the week.

    In 2011, when Jack Dorsey was running Twitter and Square full-time, the cofounder told the audience at Techonomy 2011 that, to get it all done, he gave each day a theme. This allowed him to quickly recall and refocus on the day's task once distractions were out of the way.

    Dorsey said he would take Saturday off to hike and spend Sunday focusing on reflections, feedback, strategy, and getting ready for the rest of the week.

    Now that he's back running both companies, there's a good chance theme days could come in handy again.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Mark Cuban

    For some, the weekend's a sacred retreat from the hustle and bustle of work.

    For others, the weekend is a myth — Saturday and Sunday are mere extensions of the workweek and a chance to get ahead of the competition.

    Judging from the ways successful people spend their — at least theoretical — time away from work, there really is no right or wrong way to structure your weekends. It's all about striking the right balance for you.

    Here's how some of the most successful people do it:

    SEE ALSO: Donald Trump, Mark Cuban, and 13 other successful people share some of their biggest pet peeves

    Richard Branson hangs out on his island in the Caribbean.

    While Branson told the Telegraph he spends half the year traveling the world on business trips, he said he spends the other half on his tiny private Caribbean island, Necker.

    "I know I shouldn't, but I still like to party on Friday nights," he admitted. The business mogul said he dances until the wee hours of the morning to the sounds of the island's band, the Front Line, and heads to the crow's nest on his roof around 2 a.m. to watch the stars.

    Despite being up late, Branson still wakes up early, usually before everyone else, and goes for a swim around the island.

    "It's exquisitely beautiful; I'll see spotted eagle rays, giant leatherback turtles and a number of species of shark, such as nurse sharks and lemon sharks,"he told the Telegraph. "It's not frightening; if you're swimming with sharks they don't tend to bother you at all, it's only if they mistake you for a seal that they might have a nip."

    His morning swim is usually followed by a healthy breakfast of fruit salad or natural muesli, though on occasion he spoils himself with kippers or an English breakfast.

    The day's activities could include tennis, kitesurfing, scuba diving, or hanging out with dolphins and whales in his tiny submarine. But Branson said afternoons are always spent on the beach, oftentimes playing chess with his kids. 

    Saturday evenings consist of more partying, and Sundays include rock jumping, paddle boarding, and boat races, Branson told the Telegraph



    Elon Musk spends time with his children.

    Musk, the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, has five sons, with whom, he told Mashable, he hangs out on the weekends.

    But he also admitted at South by Southwest in 2013 that some of this "quality time" is spent sending emails.

    "Because they don't need constant interaction, except when we're talking directly," he said. "I find I can be with them and still be working at the same time."



    Arianna Huffington catches up on email.

    Though she admits that she likes to go through her inbox Saturdays, the "Thrive" author has said she never expects a response from her staff.

    "If I send an email at 11 at night, it's to get it off my to-do list, but I don't expect a reply,"she told Mashable. "And I make that very clear, I don't expect replies over the weekend."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Mark Cuban

    For some, the weekend's a sacred retreat from the hustle and bustle of work.

    For others, the weekend is a myth — Saturday and Sunday are mere extensions of the workweek and a chance to get ahead of the competition.

    Judging from the ways successful people spend their — at least theoretical — time away from work, there really is no right or wrong way to structure your weekends. It's all about striking the right balance for you.

    Here's how some of the most successful people do it:

    SEE ALSO: Donald Trump, Mark Cuban, and 13 other successful people share some of their biggest pet peeves

    Richard Branson hangs out on his island in the Caribbean.

    While Branson told the Telegraph he spends half the year traveling the world on business trips, he said he spends the other half on his tiny private Caribbean island, Necker.

    "I know I shouldn't, but I still like to party on Friday nights," he admitted. The business mogul said he dances until the wee hours of the morning to the sounds of the island's band, the Front Line, and heads to the crow's nest on his roof around 2 a.m. to watch the stars.

    Despite being up late, Branson still wakes up early, usually before everyone else, and goes for a swim around the island.

    "It's exquisitely beautiful; I'll see spotted eagle rays, giant leatherback turtles and a number of species of shark, such as nurse sharks and lemon sharks,"he told the Telegraph. "It's not frightening; if you're swimming with sharks they don't tend to bother you at all, it's only if they mistake you for a seal that they might have a nip."

    His morning swim is usually followed by a healthy breakfast of fruit salad or natural muesli, though on occasion he spoils himself with kippers or an English breakfast.

    The day's activities could include tennis, kitesurfing, scuba diving, or hanging out with dolphins and whales in his tiny submarine. But Branson said afternoons are always spent on the beach, oftentimes playing chess with his kids. 

    Saturday evenings consist of more partying, and Sundays include rock jumping, paddle boarding, and boat races, Branson told the Telegraph



    Elon Musk spends time with his children.

    Musk, the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, has five sons, with whom, he told Mashable, he hangs out on the weekends.

    But he also admitted at South by Southwest in 2013 that some of this "quality time" is spent sending emails.

    "Because they don't need constant interaction, except when we're talking directly," he said. "I find I can be with them and still be working at the same time."



    Arianna Huffington catches up on email.

    Though she admits that she likes to go through her inbox Saturdays, the "Thrive" author has said she never expects a response from her staff.

    "If I send an email at 11 at night, it's to get it off my to-do list, but I don't expect a reply,"she told Mashable. "And I make that very clear, I don't expect replies over the weekend."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    google Larry Page and Sergey Brin

    The first ride that Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin got in Tesla's electric car wasn't too thrilling.

    That's because the car could go only 10 mph.

    As Tesla CEO Elon Musk recounted at the company's annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday, a bug in the car's systems prevented the vehicle from going any faster when the two Google cofounders hopped aboard.

    This was around the time when Tesla was building a completely new set of electronics for its early prototypes, switching from an analog computer that controlled the motor to a digital version.

    Here's how Musk remembers the incident:

    I remember in the early days giving a test drive to Larry Page and Sergey Brin, whom I've known for a long time, and there was some, like, bug in the system, and dammit, the car would only go 10 miles an hour. And I was like "Look, I swear guys it goes way faster than this."

    Luckily for Musk, the Google cofounders were not too put off by the slow ride. In fact, Page and Brin went on to become early investors in Tesla.

    "They were kind enough to put a little investment into the company nonetheless, despite the world's worst demo," said Musk.

    SEE ALSO: Elon Musk: The first Tesla Roadster we sold was 'completely unsafe'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This factory is the key to Tesla’s future


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    Sergey Brin

    If you're itching to start a company out of a garage, then you shouldn't pick up and move to Silicon Valley, according to Google cofounder Sergey Brin.

    It's easier to start a company outside the Valley than in it, he said onstage at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

    "I know that sort of contradicts what everyone here has been saying," he said with a laugh.

    Google got started at Stanford University, where the conference is taking place. But he argues that the Valley can be very expensive.

    "During the boom cycles, the expectations around the costs — real estate, salaries — the expectations people and employees have ... it can be hard to make a scrappy initial business that's self-sustaining," he said. "Whereas in other parts of the world you might have an easier time for that."

    What Silicon Valley is better for, he says, is that second step, once you've already started to gain some traction.

    Silicon Valley "is good for scaling that opportunity," he said. "It's good for providing more capital and allowing more risk."

    SEE ALSO: The latest robot from the company Google bought can load your dishwasher and bring you drinks

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How to see everything Google knows about you


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