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- 07/19/17--07:05: _Google cofounder Se...
- 07/28/17--03:16: _Here's why Google w...
- 08/04/17--06:00: _The fabulous life o...
- 08/24/17--11:44: _Here's why Google w...
- 09/27/17--09:36: _Here's what Sergey ...
- 11/21/17--10:51: _The founder of bill...
- 11/25/17--07:00: _Meet the kids of th...
- 12/21/17--17:39: _33 photos of Google...
- 03/15/18--11:00: _How these 23 entrep...
- 04/18/18--08:43: _Marissa Mayer says ...
- 04/29/18--10:47: _Sergey Brin: Silico...
- 04/30/18--11:14: _Google founder says...
- 06/19/18--06:09: _Google's Larry Page...
- 06/23/18--09:26: _Here’s the manageme...
- 07/03/18--08:57: _Susan Wojcicki conv...
- 07/08/18--14:03: _Google cofounder Se...
- 07/09/18--07:55: _Google co-founder S...
- 07/11/18--08:33: _'Oh my God, this is...
- 07/11/18--12:00: _Google's first exec...
- 07/11/18--14:13: _The company formerl...
- 07/28/17--03:16: Here's why Google went to Burning Man to find its next CEO
- 08/24/17--11:44: Here's why Google went to Burning Man to find its next CEO
- In a New York Times profile, Silicon Valley royalty Anne Wojcicki talked about her career, her marriage to Google cofounder Sergey Brin, and how she raises her children.
- The founder of billion-dollar personal genomics company 23andme tries to keep herself and her kids grounded.
- She says she cuts her kids' hair, makes them to do laundry, and protects them from the "insanity" of megawealth.
- 11/25/17--07:00: Meet the kids of the world's richest tech billionaires
- Yahoo's former CEO is Marissa Mayer, who was one of the first employees at Google. Mayer was recently interviewed by The New York Times.
- Mayer told The Times that she modeled her management style at Yahoo on Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin's leadership strategies. One example is setting clear expectations for employees.
- Still, Mayer wasn't so well-liked or highly rated as CEO of Yahoo; while Page had a very high approval rating as CEO of Google.
- Google cofounder Sergey Brin wrote Alphabet's 2017 annual Founders Letter.
- Brin said artificial intelligence advances represent the most significant computing development in his lifetime.
- But he warned that tech companies have a responsbility to consider the impact of their advances on society, a change in tone.
- understand images in Google Photos;
- enable Waymo cars to recognize and distinguish objects safely;
- significantly improve sound and camera quality in our hardware;
- understand and produce speech for Google Home;
- translate over 100 languages in Google Translate;
- caption over a billion videos in 10 languages on YouTube;
- improve the efficiency of our data centers;
- suggest short replies to emails;
- help doctors diagnose diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy;
- discover new planetary systems;
- create better neural networks (AutoML);
... and much more.
- Bringing Precision to the AI Safety Discussion
- DeepMind Ethics & Society
- PAIR: People+AI Research Initiative
- Partnership on AI
- Sergey Brin, a cofounder of Google and president of Google's parent company Alphabet, wrote and published Alphabet's annual Founders Letter on Monday.
- Brin started the letter with a quote taken from Charles Dickens' famous work "A Tale of Two Cities," calling it "a great articulation of the transformative time we live in."
- In 1999, before Google was a well-known (or well-funded) company, its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were discussing it with a new board member.
- The new board member, the venture capitalist John Doerr, asked Page and Brin how big they expected their company could be, and Page shot back with a number that few companies had reached at the time, far exceeding Doerr's projection.
- Page predicted the company would generate $10 billion in revenue, which Doerr calculated to be equivalent to $100 billion in market capitalization.
- In the book "Measure What Matters," renowned venture capitalist John Doerr cites a theory that he says has been confirmed as "one of the most tested and proven ideas" in management theory.
- It says that hard goals drive more productivity than easy goals — and that the more specific the wording of the hard goal, the higher the level of output.
- The theory influenced the "Objectives and Key Results" goal-setting process used by some of the most successful technology companies, and was part of the message Doerr shared with Larry Page and Sergey Brin in the early days of Google.
- Google's 16th employee and current YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki played a huge role in solidifying the Google-YouTube relationship back in 2006.
- Wojcicki saw how user-generated videos could spark emotions after launching Google Videos, Google's own free video-sharing website, and hearing her kids' reactions.
- YouTube quickly took over a significant portion of the market but it needed a buyer, and Wojcicki took it upon herself to break down the figures to prove it was worth Google paying the $1.65 billion price tag.
- Steve Jurvetson, cofounder of one of Silicon Valley's most prestigious VC firms, posted photos to Twitter on Saturday evening of himself and friends aboard one of the world's largest sailboats.
- According to Jurvetson's tweets, among those sailing in the waters off Ibiza with him were two female start-up founders and Google cofounder Sergey Brin.
- Jurvetson left his venture capital firm after he was accused of being dishonest with women.
- Speaking at a blockchain conference in Morocco, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said that he's been mining ethereum with his son.
- Brin said that while Google has been slow to explore blockchain technology, he personally found the technology to be "mind-boggling" and "extraordinary."
- A new book about Google's early company culture called "Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley" includes claims that the Google cofounder Sergey Brin used to be a "playboy" among female employees, according to an excerpt published by Vanity Fair.
- In the excerpt, one early Google employee said Brin "got around" with employees.
- Another early employee said in the excerpt that at the time she feared Brin's behavior would result in a sexual-harassment claim.
- In 1999, Google hired its first executive chef, Charlie Ayers.
- Ayers was previously known as the chef for the Grateful Dead.
- In a new book about Google's early days, Ayers describes the odd interview he had with Google founder Larry Page.
- He also discussed the wild parties during Google's annual ski trip, filled with booze, pot, and 'ganja goo balls.'
Google cofounder Sergey Brin secretly attended a technology conference in Berlin last week.
The search engine billionaire visited the Tech Open Air conference — held at FunkHaus Berlin, once the broadcast headquarters for the German Democratic Republic (GDR) state radio — last Thursday and listened to a talk given by ClearAccessIP founder and CEO Nicole Shanahan, who is believed to be his girlfriend.
Brin also spoke on one of the conference's smaller stages, taking part in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session that was attended by 20 people who happened to be around by chance, according to a source.
In addition, he attended a number of exclusive events for VIPs, the source said. VIP events on offer included a private dinner and a party co-hosted by SoundCloud cofounder Eric Wahlforss and his wife.
The timing of Brin's Berlin visit is interesting given everything that's going on SoundCloud.
Music Business Worldwide reported in January that Google was mulling an acquisition of SoundCloud that was likely to be in the order of $500 million (£386 million).
It's unclear if Brin attended the SoundCloud party on Thursday, which took place at a venue called Jackie O Berlin, which is in some woods on the outskirts of the city.
However, he wasn't seen at the conference on Wednesday to listen to SoundCloud CEO Alex Ljung explain the rationale for the latest job cuts at SoundCloud. It's possible he met Ljung separately though, as he was in Berlin for three days in total, according to a source.
A SoundCloud employee told Business Insider last week that SoundCloud made the job cuts "before they become redundant in an upcoming acquisition or merger."
Steven Kotler is a performance expert and the coauthor of "Stealing Fire." In this video, Kotler explains why Google relies on creating group-flow states, and how Larry Page and Sergey Brin used Burning Man to find the right CEO. Following is a transcript of the video.
Google used Burning Man to find a CEO because they were interested in finding a CEO who's familiar with group flow.
So one of the things that happens at Burning Man — and there's recent research out of Oxford that sort of backs this up — is that Burning Man alters consciousness in a very particular way and it drops people into a state of group flow.
So, flow is a peak-performance state. It's an individual performing at their peak. Group flow is simply a team performing at their peak, and everybody has some familiarity with this. If you’ve ever taken part in a great brainstorming session, where ideas are kind of bouncing everywhere — you're really reaching ripe, smart conclusions.
If you’ve seen a fourth-quarter comeback in football. If you saw what the Patriots did in the Super Bowl. That’s group flow in action.
Google has relied very heavily since their inception on creating group-flow states. And when they were looking for a new CEO, they needed a way to screen for this, and it doesn't show up on most resumes.
They had a long history with Burning Man. From the very beginning, Larry and Sergey have been kind of rabid attendees. The center atrium at Google for years was decorated with pictures of Googlers at Burning Man, spinning fire, doing various things.
They had blown through and alienated like 50 different CEOs in the valley they tried to interview, and they found out that Eric Schmidt had actually been to Burning Man. So they bumped him to the top of their list, they took him to Burning Man to see how he would do. They wanted to know was he going to be able to let go of his ego, merge with the team, or was he going to stand in its way? And it turns out he passed the test, and the result is one of the most pivotal CEO hires in the modern era.
Larry Page is one of the most powerful people in the world.
The quirky, soft-spoken computer scientist cofounded Google with Sergey Brin in 1998 and now, almost 20 years later, still runs its parent company, Alphabet.
So who's the man behind Google and how did he get to where he is today?
Here's his story.
Jillian D'Onfro contributed to an earlier version of this story.
Gloria and Carl Page had their second son, Lawrence, on March 26, 1973. They both taught computer science at Michigan State University and filled their home with computers and tech magazines that enthralled Larry from a very young age.
They enrolled him in a Montessori school. Such programs are known to foster independence and creativity, and Page now credits "that training of not following rules and orders, and being self-motivated and questioning what's going on in the world" as influencing his later attitudes and work.
At 12, Page read a biography about the brilliant inventor Nikola Tesla, who died in debt and obscurity. The ending made him cry, and inspired Page to not only want to build world-changing technologies, but to have the business sense to know how to spread them. "I figured that inventing things wasn't any good," he has said. "You really had to get them out into the world and have people use them to have any effect."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
It's no secret that Burning Man is a stomping ground for tech moguls. The annual counterculture gathering draws rich people and naked hippies under the shared assumption that the future is what you make it.
In his book, "Stealing Fire," author and performance expert Steven Kotler explains how the founders of Google — Larry Page and Sergey Brin — used Burning Man as a stage for interviewing the next CEO.
"From the very beginning, Larry and Sergey have been kind of rabid attendees. The center atrium at Google for years was decorated with pictures of Googlers at Burning Man, spinning fire, doing various things," Kotler told Business Insider.
Part of what appealed to the duo about Burning Man was the sense of community at its core.
"So one of the things that happens at Burning Man — and there's recent research out of Oxford that sort of backs this up — is that Burning Man alters consciousness in a very particular way and it drops people into a state of group flow," Kotler said.
"Flow," he continued, "is a peak-performance state. It's an individual performing at their peak. Group flow is simply a team performing at their peak, and everybody has some familiarity with this.
"If you've ever taken part in a great brainstorming session, where ideas are kind of bouncing everywhere — you're really reaching ripe, smart conclusions. If you've seen a fourth-quarter comeback in football. ... That's group flow in action."
According to Kotler, Google relies on creating group-flow states to get the best work out of their employees.
In 1999, Page and Brin had accepted $12.5 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a top venture firm in Silicon Valley. As part of the deal, they promised the firm they would hire an outsider to replace Page as CEO — a common play to provide "adult supervision" to young founders.
They wanted the next CEO to be in harmony with these group-flow states. But they didn't really know how to screen for it. Then they met Eric Schmidt, then-CEO of software company Novell.
Here's a photo of Schmidt last year at Further Future, a Burning Man-like festival for the ultra-rich.
"[Page and Brin] had blown through and alienated like 50 different CEOs in the valley they tried to interview, and they found out that Eric Schmidt had actually been to Burning Man. So they bumped him to the top of their list, they took him to Burning Man to see how he would do. They wanted to know was he going to be able to let go of his ego, merge with the team, or was he going to stand in its way?" Kotler said.
"And it turns out he passed the test, and the result is one of the most pivotal CEO hires in the modern era."
Schmidt took the CEO spot in 2001. Page would later describe the move to hire him as "brilliant."
Joe Avella and Kevin Reilly contributed reporting to a previous version of this article.
These days, Sergey Brin is one of the wealthiest and most powerful people in tech.
But back in 1996, Brin was a lot like any other Ph.D. candidate — on paper, at least.
Brin's resume, which was last updated more than 20 years ago, is still available online. At the time Brin made it, he was working toward completing his Ph.D. at Stanford University.
Brin is now worth $43.6 billion and serves as president of Google parent company Alphabet, but in the early days, he was more focused on making an algorithm for personalized movie recommendations, or finding a way to automatically detect cases of copyright infringements.
Here's Brin's resume:
Brin was no slacker — he had five internships in three years and had already been published twice — but is somewhat lacking in the style department. Plus, there's a grammatical error in the "Movie Ratings" section:
But perhaps more interesting than the resume itself is Brin's objective, which he hid in the document's HTML coding. You can see it for yourself by right-clicking on the webpage itself and selecting "View Page Source."
Brin more than delivered on the objective. He got married to his former wife, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki, on a sandbar in the Bahamas; collectively purchased eight private jets with Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt and cofounder Larry Page; employs a yacht captain and personal shopper; and is currently working on a secret quest to build a giant airship.
Lisa Eadicicco contributed to an earlier version of this post.
Silicon Valley royalty Anne Wojcicki may own a billion-dollar company, but she still tries to keep her life and her kids grounded.
Wojcicki, the cofounder and CEO of personal genomics company 23andMe and former wife of Google cofounder Sergey Brin, said she tries to protect their two children from the "insanity" of megawealth in an interview with The New York Times' Maureen Dowd.
"I have people who clean the house three days a week," she told Dowd. "And I just told them to stop doing laundry on Fridays because my kids need to learn how to do laundry on Fridays. It's so easy to be like, 'I don't have to do laundry again. I don't have to cook again.' But then you're not normal. I have a new rule lately. I just don't go out on weekdays. If I'm raising kids, I need to be focused on helping implement that normalcy."
She also said that she cuts her children's hair herself, and, to save time in the morning, sometimes lets them wear their clothes to bed.
"The other thing I used to do, when we'd travel in the summers, because I don't like to pack a lot," she told Dowd, "and so I'd have the kids bathe in their clothes and then they change into something else. And then their clothes are clean for the next day. Versus the hotel laundry, which is so expensive."
As for how she keeps herself grounded, Wojcicki says she rides her bike to work every day (even in the rain), and doesn't make "fancy cars and houses and the right dress" a priority.
Life is anything but ordinary when your mom and dad are some of the richest people in the world.
Sure, Bill and Melinda Gates children may go to school, play sports, and have Instagram accounts like any other American teenager, but when their dad is worth nearly $90 billion, there's no escaping the privilege of wealth.
Keep scrolling to meet the Gates children and more kids of the richest billionaires in tech.
Bill and Melinda Gates have three children: Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe. The Gates have famously decided to dedicate most of their $89 billion fortune to charity and forgo setting up massive trust funds for their children, a decision Bill says the kids are "proud of."
The Gates' eldest child, Jennifer, is a senior at Stanford University and rides on the US Equestrian team. Despite her dad's status as one of the most famous tech moguls in the world, Jennifer grew up with limited access to technology around the house.
The 21-year-old appears to be dating Egyptian equestrian rider Nayel Nassar. He previously studied economics and management at Stanford.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Next month, for the first time since 2001, Eric Schmidt won't have an executive position at Google or one of its affiliated companies.
On Thursday afternoon, Schmidt announced he'll be stepping down from his position as executive chairman of Alphabet, Google's parent company. He won't be leaving Alphabet entirely — he'll remain on its board and will serve as a technical advisor role — but he'll be taking a step back from having a leading role.
Schmidt wasn't a Google founder, but he joined the company early and played a major role in turning it into a global superpower. The company's Google.com website is the most-visited in the world, and the company also makes Android, the world's most popular operating system. And on the back of Google's incredibly profitable advertising business, Alphabet is now worth $743 billion.
But Google's start was much more modest.
Here's a look at the company's history, from its roots in a pair of Stanford dorm rooms, to Larry Page and Sergey Brin's attempt to sell the company, to the formation of Alphabet, all the way through to Schmidt's resignation announcement.
Google got its start in 1996 — but it wasn't called that at first.
The company originated with an idea formulated by Sergey Brin, left, and Larry Page, who were both Stanford PhD students at the time. They came up with BackRub, a revolutionary search engine that would rank web pages based on how many other web pages linked back to them, a process they called PageRank.
Page and Brin soon changed their search engine's name from BackRub to Google.
The BackRub name didn't last long. They quickly decided that a "googol"— the number one with a hundred zeroes after it — better reflected the amount of data they were trying to sift through. Playing on that word, Page and Brin, whose Stanford dorm rooms comprised their first offices, chose the slightly friendlier name Google for their nascent search engine and company.
The first-ever Google server was built in a custom case made out of Legos.
The server was housed on the Stanford campus and its web address was initially google.stanford.edu. But Brin and Page registered the Google.com domain name on September 15th, 1997.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
When a tech company reaches a certain level of success, the names of the founders often become synonymous with the brand they create. At least, that's the case with founders who are the "face" of the company.
Still, we tend to forget that Steve Jobs, Travis Kalanick, and Bill Gates, didn't create Apple, Uber, and Microsoft alone.
On the contrary, these companies might not exist in the same capacity if it weren't for the co-founders who fly under the radar because they chose to steer clear of the spotlight, or because the pressures brought on by the early years of a quickly-growing company pushed them away. Many of these same people have moved on to create even more multi-million dollar ideas, while others left for a life of philanthropy, or pursued another passion.
Here are the lesser known co-founders who helped create some of the biggest tech companies you definitely know:
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak
Steve Wozniak (a.k.a. "Woz") doesn't really need an introduction, but for those who aren't well-versed in the history of Apple: Wozniak designed and built the first Apple computer, Apple 1.
He was working at Hewlett-Packard (HP) at the time, where he tried to share his computer design. When he was denied multiple times, Steve Jobs — who was working there for the summer — suggested the pair try to sell a fully-assembled version of the design to a third party.
As Apple grew, Wozniak felt the emphasis on marketing hindered him as an engineer, and he left for good in 1985, but he's still the sole inventor on multiple Apple patents, including the "Microcomputer for use with video display."
The same year he left Apple, Wozniak finished earning his degree from UC Berkeley (under the fake name "Rocky Raccoon Clark") and founded a company that built the first programmable universal remote control.
Wozniak has since co-founded two more companies, multiple non-profits including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Silicon Valley Comic Con convention. He's also on multiple company boards, and remains on the official Apple employee list. He's also an Apple shareholder.
Apple co-founder Ronald Wayne
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak formed "Apple Computer" in 1976 alongside their administrative supervisor, Ronald Wayne, who was 42 at the time.
Wayne drew up the first logo and the partnership agreement that gave him 10% of the company, but only lasted for 12 days before deciding he couldn't keep up with the pace the company was going.
Wayne sold his shares for $800 — a decision he claims he doesn't regret. Today, he holds dozens of patents but not enough capital to profit from them, and sells gold, rare coins, and stamps from his home in Nevada.
Uber co-founder Garett Camp
Even after stepping down as the company's CEO, Travis Kalanick seems to personify Uber as a company — but Kalanick wasn't the one to come up with the original idea for Uber.
"Garrett [Camp] is the guy who invented that s--t," Kalanick once said at an early Uber event in San Francisco. "I just want to clap and hug him at the same time."
Camp described what we know as "ride-sharing" to Kalanick when they attended the 2008 LeWeb conference: He wanted to create a convenient luxury car service that didn't cost a thousand dollars to use. Kalanick was on board, and UberCab started later that year.
The initial prototype was created by Camp and two of his friends from graduate school. Kalanick was brought on as a "mega advisor," and wasn't even CEO until 2010 when he replaced then-CEO Ryan Graves.
Camp earned his first fortune when he sold the web-recommendation tool StumbleUpon to eBay in 2007; he still serves as chairman for both StumbleUpon and Uber. He's also an investor and creator of startup studio Expa, which helps new founders build their own products.
Camp doesn't seem to be involved with the day-to-day at activities at Uber, although he did publish this blog post in light of all of the negative attention that Uber was getting last year.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Marissa Mayer, former CEO of Yahoo and one of the first employees at Google, just gave her first interview since leaving Yahoo.
Mayer, who parted ways with Yahoo in 2017 when the company was sold to Verizon, spoke with David Gelles for an installment of The New York Times' Corner Office column. One of Mayer's most interesting comments is that she tried to model her leadership style at Yahoo after Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin's management style in the early days of Google.
Here's Mayer: "Larry and Sergey just yelled at us until we became what they needed us to become, and get done what they needed to be done. And so I said, look, I'm going to just rinse and repeat that, hopefully with less yelling."
Mayer said she brought in management coaches and mentors to help shape Yahoo's management strategy.
She went on:
"I think you can have high expectations as a leader, and as long as they're consistent and clearly communicated, a lot of people find that really inspiring. I always knew what Larry and Sergey wanted. I knew what good looked like to them, and so I never got discouraged by them saying, 'Wait, I don't think this is ready' or 'I think this is overly ready.'"
Mayer and Page were perceived very differently as CEOs of large tech companies
Mayer was probably wise to emulate Page's leadership strategies: In 2015, he was the highest-rated CEO of a large company, according to Glassdoor. (That was back when Page was still CEO of Google; after a reorganization in 2015, he's now CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet.)
Yet Mayer only cracked the top 50 on Glassdoor's list of highest-rated CEOs once between 2013 and 2017. And in 2017, she was rated the least likable tech CEO, according to Owler.
Forbes reported in 2015 that Mayer was known among executives as a micromanager. "She would go line by line and decide on what date a contract should end," a senior executive told Forbes, referring to the terms given to contractors and vendors.
Still, some former Yahoo employees praised Mayer's leadership skill, such as Jelena Woehr, who wrote on Medium that Mayer always listened closely to employees' concerns.
Mayer was vague in the interview with The Times about what she's doing now: She's working with a company called Lumi Labs and has "some ideas in the consumer space."
Asked for her best tips on perseverance by Linkedin user Karen Lippman, Meyer said: "Develop a thick skin."
Sergey Brin, the cof0under of Google, stressed the need for caution, accountability and humility within the tech industry as its innovations become "deeply and irrevocably" ingrained in society, a striking shift in tone among a leader of the Silicon Valley business cohort famous for its certitude of its own righteousness.
In the annual founders letter released by Google-parent company Alphabet, Brin touted the far-reaching innovations in artificial intelligence, computing power and speech recognition in recent years.
"Every month, there are stunning new applications and transformative new techniques. In this sense, we are truly in a technology renaissance, " Brin wrote in the letter published on Alphabet's investor relations site on Friday. Advances in artificial intelligence, he said, represent the "most significant development in computing in my lifetime."
But Brin said the tech industry could no longer maintain its "wide-eyed and idealistic" attitude about the impact of its creations.
"There are very legitimate and pertinent issues being raised, across the globe, about the implications and impacts of these advances," Brin said.
Among these issues:
"How will they affect employment across different sectors? How can we understand what they are doing under the hood? What about measures of fairness? How might they manipulate people? Are they safe?"
Brin has seemed dismissive of "hypothetical situations" in the past
The comments come as the tech industry, which represent the most valuable companies in the American economy, has come under fire for a variety of issues, including the collection and misuse of people's personal information (as highlighted by Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal), the spread of misinformation, propaganda and hate speech on services like YouTube, Google and Facebook, and a growing anxiety about our dependence on smartphones.
Brin has been an important figure in the development of technologies once considered the stuff of science fiction, helping to shape the Google X labs where products like self-driving cars, face-worn computers and airborne delivery drones were born.
The 44-year old Russian-born executive has at times shown himself to be dismissive of the public's concerns regarding potential impacts of technological advances, labeling some as "hypothetical situations."
"We can debate as philosophers, but the fact is that we can make cars that are far safer than human drivers,"Brin said at a tech conference in 2014, when asked about the ethics involved in creating self-driving cars that must choose between hitting a pedestrian or a truck.
In March, the first self-driving car fatality oc cured in Arizona when an Atmos Uber vehicle struck a pedestrian at night (human-driven cars are involved in more than 35,000 traffic fatalities per year in the US).
"There is serious thought and research going into all of these issues," Brin wrote in the founder's letter on Friday. "Most notably, safety spans a wide range of concerns from the fears of sci-fi style sentience to the more near-term questions such as validating the performance of self-driving cars."
Here's Sergey Brin's full 2017 letter:
It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair ...”
So begins Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” and what a great articulation it is of the transformative time we live in. We’re in an era of great inspiration and possibility, but with this opportunity comes the need for tremendous thoughtfulness and responsibility as technology is deeply and irrevocably interwoven into our societies.
The power and potential of computation to tackle important problems has never been greater. In the last few years, the cost of computation has continued to plummet. The Pentium IIs we used in the first year of Google performed about 100 million floating point operations per second. The GPUs we use today perform about 20 trillion such operations — a factor of about 200,000 difference — and our very own TPUs are now capable of 180 trillion (180,000,000,000,000) floating point operations per second.
Even these startling gains may look small if the promise of quantum computing comes to fruition. For a specialized class of problems, quantum computers can solve them exponentially faster. For instance, if we are successful with our 72 qubit prototype, it would take millions of conventional computers to be able to emulate it. A 333 qubit error-corrected quantum computer would live up to our name, offering a 10,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000x speedup.
There are several factors at play in this boom of computing. First, of course, is the steady hum of Moore’s Law, although some of the traditional measures such as transistor counts, density, and clock frequencies have slowed. The second factor is greater demand, stemming from advanced graphics in gaming and, surprisingly, from the GPU-friendly proof-of-work algorithms found in some of today’s leading cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum. However, the third and most important factor is the profound revolution in machine learning that has been building over the past decade. It is both made possible by these increasingly powerful processors and is also the major impetus for developing them further.
The Spring of Hope
The new spring in artificial intelligence is the most significant development in computing in my lifetime. When we started the company, neural networks were a forgotten footnote in computer science; a remnant of the AI winter of the 1980’s. Yet today, this broad brush of technology has found an astounding number of applications. We now use it to:
Every month, there are stunning new applications and transformative new techniques. In this sense, we are truly in a technology renaissance, an exciting time where we can see applications across nearly every segment of modern society.
However, such powerful tools also bring with them new questions and responsibilities. How will they affect employment across different sectors? How can we understand what they are doing under the hood? What about measures of fairness? How might they manipulate people? Are they safe?
There is serious thought and research going into all of these issues. Most notably, safety spans a wide range of concerns from the fears of sci-fi style sentience to the more near-term questions such as validating the performance of self-driving cars. A few of our noteworthy initiatives on AI safety are as follows:
I expect machine learning technology to continue to evolve rapidly and for Alphabet to continue to be a leader — in both the technological and ethical evolution of the field.
G is for Google
Roughly three years ago, we restructured the company as Alphabet, with Google as a subsidiary (albeit far larger than the rest). As I write this, Google is in its 20th year of existence and continues to serve ever more people with information and technology products and services. Over one billion people now use Search, YouTube, Maps, Play, Gmail, Android, and Chrome every month.
This widespread adoption of technology creates new opportunities, but also new responsibilities as the social fabric of the world is increasingly intertwined.
Expectations about technology can differ significantly based on nationality, cultural background, and political affiliation. Therefore, Google must evolve its products with ever more care and thoughtfulness.
The purpose of Alphabet has been to allow new applications of technology to thrive with greater independence. While it is too early to declare the strategy a success, I am cautiously optimistic. Just a few months ago, the Onduo joint venture between Verily and Sanofi launched their first offering to help people with diabetes manage the disease. Waymo has begun operating fully self-driving cars on public roads and has crossed 5 million miles of testing. Sidewalk Labs has begun a large development project in Toronto. And Project Wing has performed some of the earliest drone deliveries in Australia.
There remains a high level of collaboration. Most notably, our two machine learning centers of excellence — Google Brain (an X graduate) and DeepMind — continue to bring their expertise to projects throughout Alphabet and the world. And the Nest subsidiary has now officially rejoined Google to form a more robust hardware group.
The Epoch of Belief and the Epoch of Incredulity
Technology companies have historically been wide- eyed and idealistic about the opportunities that their innovations create. And for the overwhelming part, the arc of history shows that these advances, including the Internet and mobile devices, have created opportunities and dramatically improved the quality of life for billions of people. However, there are very legitimate and pertinent issues being raised, across the globe, about the implications and impacts of these advances. This is an important discussion to have. While I am optimistic about the potential to bring technology to bear on the greatest problems in the world, we are on a path that we must tread with deep responsibility, care, and humility. That is Alphabet’s goal.
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Sergey Brin was responsible for writing Alphabet's Founders Letter this year. Alphabet, for those unfamiliar, is the parent company of Google.
Alphabet's annual Founders Letter is designed to be an update on the state of the company's various businesses, including Google, and a general guide on where it's looking next.
This year, though, Brin kicked off the Founders Letter with a quote taken from the very beginning of "A Tale of Two Cities," a book written over 150 years ago by Charles Dickens — a historical fiction about the French Revolution.
Here's the beginning of Brin's Founders Letter (emphasis ours):
"It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair ..."
So begins Dickens’ "A Tale of Two Cities," and what a great articulation it is of the transformative time we live in. We’re in an era of great inspiration and possibility, but with this opportunity comes the need for tremendous thoughtfulness and responsibility as technology is deeply and irrevocably interwoven into our societies.
This theme of balancing innovation and responsibility was consistent through the Founders Letter. For example, Brin uses part of the letter to describe all the ways in which we're living in a technology renaissance, but then plays devil's advocate in the following paragraph:
"Such powerful tools also bring with them new questions and responsibilities," Brin wrote. "How will they affect employment across different sectors? How can we understand what they are doing under the hood? What about measures of fairness? How might they manipulate people? Are they safe?"
The rest of the Founders Letter goes into more detail on Google's work in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation, the need for powerful processors, and Alphabet's need to evolve to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. You can read the full Founders Letter from Brin, as well as our analysis on what it all means, right here.
He's one of the richest people in the world today, but in 1999, Larry Page was the young cofounder of a relatively unknown company called Google with big plans for its future.
Page and his cofounder Sergey Brin's goal was to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," the venture capitalist John Doerr recalls in his book "Measure What Matters." But first, Doerr, who had already invested $11.8 million to take a 12% ownership stake and a board seat, had to help them organize their newly incorporated company.
To gauge their confidence, Doerr asked Page and Brin how big the company could one day be, having already privately projected that it could be worth $1 billion "if everything broke right."
"Ten billion dollars," Page responded.
"You mean market cap, right?" Doerr asked. But Page said he expected the company to generate $10 billion in revenue, implying an estimated market cap of about $100 billion.
That triple-digit billion-dollar valuation is relatively common today, but in 1999, it was a rarity. Even Yahoo, Google's chief competition in the early days, was worth considerably less than $100 billion for most of that year, hovering in the range of $40 billion to $60 billion.
In other words, Page was predicting that Google would crush Yahoo — before the cofounders had even figured out how it would make money.
"I was floored," Doerr wrote.
Page and Brin had come to his office earlier that year to pitch him on what would be the 18th search engine on the web, using a 17-slide PowerPoint deck that had only two slides of numbers. They were convinced their algorithm could fix the "poor quality of search in the market," regardless of their lack of a business plan or management experience — two things Eric Schmidt brought to the table when he became the first CEO of Google.
From the get-go, Page and Brin were "self-assured, even brash, but also curious and thoughtful," Doerr said. "They listened — and they delivered." That's a vast understatement, of course, considering that 19 years later, Google is eight times the size Page said it would be and in the running to be the first trillion-dollar company.
Getting the most out of people can be as simple as setting more difficult goals instead of easy ones, according to a management theory that venture capitalist John Doerr calls "one of the most tested, and proven, ideas in the whole of management theory" in the last 50 years.
The theory was thought up by a University of Maryland psychology professor by the name of Edwin Locke in 1968, and written about decades later in Doerr's book "Measure What Matters," which explains the thinking behind the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) goal-setting process famously used by companies like Google, MyFitness Pal, and Intel.
The theory explains that hard goals "drive performance more effectively than easy goals," and that "specific hard goals 'produce a higher level of output' than vaguely worded ones." About 90% of the upwards of a thousand studies that have been conducted on Locke's theory confirm that productivity is bettered by creating well-defined goals.
While it seems like an obvious solution on paper, Doerr says employees are often encouraged to simply create goals for the sake of having them, resulting in diminished enthusiasm. The antidote to a lack of enthusiasm is employee engagement, and he points to a two-year Deloitte study that found no single factor has more of an impact on building enthusiasm than "clearly defined goals that are written down and shared freely."
It's a theory Doerr says "surely influenced Andy Grove," the father of the OKR process, and was part of Doerr's own message to Larry Page and Sergey Brin in the early days of Google.
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Almost a decade before Susan Wojcicki became YouTube's second CEO, she was sitting in a Google board meeting answering questions from decision makers about why the video-sharing platform was worth over a billion dollars.
Her conviction started in 2005, about a month before YouTube launched. Google's free video-sharing website Google Videos just went up and Wojcicki, Google's 16th employee and first marketing manager, uploaded the first video for users: "a purple Muppet singing a nonsense song," she recalled in John Doerr's "Measure What Matters."
"Sergey [Brin] and I weren't sure what to make of it," she said. "But then my kids shouted, 'Play it again!' The light bulb went on."
Her kids' reactions made clear the power of user-generated content "for global distribution" and its ability to spark emotions that could lead to repeat visitors. YouTube's user-generated videos consistently did better than any of the professional ones in the months that followed, after all.
But user-uploaded content wasn't immediately available to visitors on Google Videos the way they were on YouTube, and by the time Google fixed that design flaw, YouTube had a significant chunk of the market share. What it didn't have was the resources to address its demand.
"I saw an opportunity to combine the two services," Wojcicki said, realizing the company would need to sell.
"I worked up some spreadsheets to justify the $1.65 billion purchase price ... and convinced Larry [Page] and Sergey."
The founders called Wojcicki into the board meeting where the acquisition was being discussed. It was a last-minute summoning, but she fielded "lots of questions." And even though the board members thought her user growth figures were ambitious, she eventually got Google the green light to purchase YouTube.
A decade later, YouTube hit a billion hours of watch time per day, and in 2018 Morgan Stanley valued YouTube at $160 billion — almost 100 times Google's initial investment.
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Photographs posted to Twitter by Steve Jurvetson seem to suggest that past accusations regarding his conduct with women haven't hurt his relationship with Google cofounder Sergey Brin.
On Saturday evening, Jurvetson's Twitter page showed photos of a group of people aboard the Maltese Falcon, one of the world's tallest sailing vessels. According to Jurvetson's post, among those with him were Brin and two women, Genevieve Lydstone and Khaliya, who according to their LinkedIn pages have both cofounded companies.
In November, Jurvetson departed Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), one of the tech sector's best-known VC firms, after an investigation found "a pattern of dishonesty with women," according to a report in Recode.
Sailing the Maltese Falcon around Ibiza with Sergey & friends— Steve Jurvetson (@dfjsteve) July 8, 2018
An incredible integration of technology and design, the entire 191-ft. tall behemoth tilts over like a racing ship under sail.
My sailing video: https://t.co/QOJIB6MXys
My photos & ship details: https://t.co/otIh7uwOIDpic.twitter.com/9dCdHr5AaS
Early reports indicated DFJ had booted Jurvetson, while his side claimed his exit had been reached through a mutual agreement. Then came accusations that Jurvetson had thrown wild sex parties and had behaved inappropriately, which he and many others close to DFJ disputed.
Jurvetson's post on Saturday comes in contrast to other prominent men recently accused of sexual misconduct, many of whom have shunned public attention.
Brin was not immediately available for comment about the circumstances of the photo and his relationship with Jurvetson, and Google did not respond to questions from Business Insider.
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Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his son have been mining ethereum.
At a blockchain conference hosted by Sir Richard Branson in Morocco, Brin, dressed in a white caftan, appeared on a panel to discuss the potential of blockchain technology.
Brin said that he first became interested in blockchain technology when his son asked for a gaming PC.
"A year or two ago, my son insisted that we needed to get a gaming PC," said Brin. "I told him, 'Okay, if we get a gaming PC, we have to mine cryptocurrency. So we set up an ethereum miner on there, and we've made a few pennies, a few dollars since."
Brin, who currently serves as the president of Google's parent company, Alphabet, said that Google had been slow to pick up blockchain technology.
"[Google] already failed to be on the bleeding edge," he said.
While Brin admitted that he didn't know too much about cryptocurrencies, he said that he found the technology's potential to be "extraordinary."
"It's mind-boggling," said Brin. "I see the future as taking these...research-y, out-there ideas and making them real."
Brin, who was a last-minute addition to the conference, was recently spotted sailing off the coast of Ibiza alongside venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson.
A new book about Google's early company culture contains anecdotes that the Google cofounder Sergey Brin was a "playboy" among female employees.
The behind-the-scenes account from the reporter Adam Fisher, called "Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley," draws on the recollections of early Google employees, Stanford professors, and insiders deeply acquainted with the company's founding.
Vanity Fair published an excerpt of the book on Tuesday that includes claims that Google's culture was once a sexually fraught environment where Brin was widely regarded as "the Google playboy."
"He was known for getting his fingers caught in the cookie jar with employees that worked for the company in the masseuse room," Charlie Ayers, a former executive chef for the company, recalled in the excerpt. "He got around."
Heather Cairns, who was among the first 200 people hired by the company, described Google's culture as sexually tense.
"Remember, we're a bunch of twentysomethings except for me — ancient at 35 — so there's some hormones and they're raging," she said.
Ayers said in the excerpt that when the company's human-resources department raised eyebrows at Brin's behavior, Brin suggested he was entitled to engage with his employees in whatever manner he saw fit.
"HR told me that Sergey's response to it was, 'Why not? They're my employees,'" Ayers said. "But you don't have employees for f---ing! That's not what the job is."
Cairns too said she found Brin's exploits to be troubling.
"'Oh my God, this is a sexual harassment claim waiting to happen!' That was my concern," she recalled in the excerpt.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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In 1998, when the year-old Google had grown up out of its digs in Susan Wojcicki 's house and moved into its first proper office in Palo Alto, California, the 50-ish people who worked at the company were hungry, so Larry Page decided to hire a chef.
Google would end hiring Charlie Ayers who was, until that time, best known as the former chef for the Grateful Dead, which put him in the middle of the "counter culture" back in the day.
Ayers described that first interview with Page and the epic parties he threw in a new book by Adam Fisher called the Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (as Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom). An excerpt of the book was published by Vanity Fair.
Ayers landed at Google because founder Larry Page's father was a big Deadhead who ran a radio talk show every Sunday night called the Grateful Dead-hour, Ayers said in the book.
In those early days, Google was a wild, childlike place to work, filled with people in their 20s. During the interview for the chef job, Page sat and bounced on one of those big red bouncy balls with a handle, the sort you'd get from a toy store.
"It was just a very unprofessional, uncorporation attitude," as Ayers tells the story. "I have a pretty good understanding of doing things differently from the Grateful Dead — I’ve worked on and off with them over the years — but from my perspective, looking from the outside, it was an odd interview. I’d never had one like that. I left them thinking that these guys are crazy. They don’t need a chef!"
But he took the job as employee number 53 anyway, staying until 2005. He left to open his own restaurant, rich from his stock after Google's IPO in 2004.
And one of the things he did in his years there was throw epic parties. The Google crew started taking annual ski trips to Squaw Valley where at first Ayers' parties were, as he described them, "unsanctioned." And then the company bowed and allowed him to create what he called "Charlie's Den."
"I had live bands, D.J.s, and we bought truckloads of alcohol and a bunch of pot and made ganja goo balls. I remember people coming up to me and saying, 'I’m hallucinating. What the fuck is in those?'," Ayers said in the book. A spokesperson for Google declined to comment on the parties.
The parties got even wilder from there, Ayers recalled, "Larry and Sergey had like this gaggle of girls who were hot, and all become like their little harem of admins, I call them the L&S Harem, yes. All those girls are now different heads of departments in that company, years later."
Read the full excerpt on Vanity Fair.
Several of the projects and companies overseen by Alphabet Inc., the holding company Google created in 2015, have generated news of late.
On Tuesday, RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney issued a bullish report about the future of Waymo, the self-driving car company is due to launch commercial operations in Phoenix, Ariz., before the end of the year.
And on Wednesday, Alphabet's research and development arm, X, announced that two projects, Loon and Wing, would become independent companies within Alphabet.
This slight surge in news reminded us that it's been nearly three years since Google blew up its entire corporate structure to form a new parent company: Alphabet.
The shake-up was intended to help all of its businesses operate more efficiently, a move CEO Larry Page was working on for years as a secret project he called "Javelin."
This move also allowed Page to step back from day-to-day operations to "focus on the bigger picture."
Now, Alphabet is a massive corporation that encompasses everything from internet-beaming hot air balloons to self-driving cars to Google Cloud.
This seemed like a good time to revisit how Alphabet is structured.
Google officially became Alphabet in October, 2015, with the hope of allowing businesses units to operate independently and move faster. Google cofounder Larry Page is the CEO of the umbrella company, Alphabet.
Alphabet is divided into two main units: Google and Other Bets. Other Bets is best known for its "moonshot" R&D unit, X, but it also houses several other companies. Let's start with the smaller companies under Other Bets.
Alphabet's Access division includes Google Fiber, which launched in Kansas City in 2012 and expanded to about 9 cities. Fiber offers extremely fast high-speed internet (up to 1G) and some TV. It's billed as an alternative to traditional cable companies. It currently has about 200,000 subscribers.
Source: Business Insider
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