Shalini Govil-Pai is an engineer and author of two books on computer graphics. She fell in love with computer graphics as a teenager. Unsurprisingly then she went on to get her under-graduate and graduate degrees in computer engineering. And with persistence and single-minded focus she got a job at Pixar Animation. As technical director at Pixar she worked on Toy Story and A Big’s Life. In 2005 she joined Google and now works for Google/YouTube.
In this interview we talk to Govil-Pai about how she discovered her love for computer graphics when she worked on a SGI graphics compute in her father’s lab. What was the first piece of code she wrote? What was it like to be the only female undergraduate student in a class of 35 at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay? How did she land her dream job at Pixar Animations? What is her advice to young girls who want to study engineering? Tune in to find out.
Meet Danielle Applestone of Other Machine Company that makes desktop milling machine. Applestone talks about how growing up in Arkansas and discovering her love for math and science and how she decided to study engineering. She went to MIT to study chemical engineering and discovered that what she really wanted to study was material science. She got her PhD in material engineering. She headed to Silicon Valley,which is where she wanted to learn the ropes for starting a company. Tune in to find out how she did it.
LISTEN: DANIELLE APPLESTONE ON ENGINEERING AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Meet Devika Chawla, Engineering Director at Netflix and a music composer and singer. I sat down with her to find out how she developed and nurtured her interests in science, especially computer programming and music from a young age.How did her parents help shape her interests? Why did she elect to study computer engineering at George Town University? What brought her to Silicon Valley in the 1990s?How did she get to work with Hans Zimmer for Apple’s iMovie app? How does she balance her passion for computer engineering and music?
Chawla is trained in Indian classical (Hindustani) music. She has released a handful of music records and worked with various musicians like Bohemia, a San Francisco Bay area rapper and Amaan Ali Khan & Ayaan Ali Khan, sarod musicians from India.
Danielle Applestone is CEO of Other Machine Co., a hardware company that makes desktop milling machine called Other Mill. The company is based in Berkeley and manufactures its desktop milling machines locally in San Francisco Bay area.
We sat down to speak to Applestone on how she developed in interest in math and science from an early age. Her parents encouraged her interest in math and science and she learnt to fix things around the house as a young girl says Applestone. She went to a magnet school in Arkansas and decided to study chemical engineering.
We also spoke about her journey from Arkansas to Boston where she studied chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Turns out she really did not want to study chemical engineering, and her interest was in material science. She then headed south to Texas to get her PhD in Material Science from University of Texas at Austin.
She was interviewing for a job at Tesla in Silicon Valley, when she switched her plans and went to work at Other Machine Co. She has helped raise money for the company and is focussed on building and expanding Other Machine’s footprint.
What advice does Applestone have for young girls? Tune in to find out Applestone’s very practical advice on how to hack the system and become an effective player.
We sat down with Chris Garcia, curator at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View to find out about the evolution of technology and the history and legacy of Silicon Valley.
The Computer History Museum is the place to see those huge computers that used punch cards to the advent of personal computers and smart phones. This is the place to see how technology evolved. What were the inflection points that helped shape this technical revolution and ushered in the Age of Information.
The museum has a treasure trove of artifacts and houses quite a few unusual objects including a 1960s Kitchen Computer, robots, Cray Supercomputers and early versions of Apple computers. We were also curious to find out how Garcia curates artifacts at the museum. What is that process like?
LISTEN: CURATOR CHRIS GARCIA OF COMPUTER HISTORY MUSEUM ON SILICON VALLEY’S HISTORY & CULTURE
Garcia grew up in Silicon Valley and remembers using Apple’s computers as a kid. He shares some fascinating backstories about Silicon Valley’s startup culture. For example, Nolan Bushenell’sAtari Inc helped shaped the startup culture of Silicon Valley like free food and a casual working atmosphere, which is now followed by many startups around the world.
Punit Soni is an engineer, investor and advistor to startups. He is an ex-Googler and the former Chief Product Officer of Flipkart, an Indian ecommerce company.
We sat down with Soni to talk about his journey to America from Mumbai, India. What prompted him to pursue a MBA degree after working as an engineer in Silicon Valley for a few years? He did not succeed the first time around in getting into a MBA program. So, What prompted him to try again and again? What did he do differently that got him into Wharton’s MBA program? Armed with a MBA degree Soni joined Google.
LISTEN: PUNIT SONI ON WORKING IN SILICON VALLEY& COMING TO AMERICA:
Disrupt yourself is a mantra that Soni follows and he credits his mother for instilling that thought in him. After working at Flipkart for a year Soni is back in Silicon Valley.
This interview was originally aired on TV in the USA.
Michael Price is Chief Technology Officer of Seismic Warning Systems, a Silicon Valley company. We sit down to speak with Price about earthquakes and early warning systems. What happens during an earthquake? How many seconds of warning do you get before the earthquake shock waves hit? How does their technology and signal help facilities like a hospital or a fire station during an earthquake?
We also speak to Price of what brought him from Pittsburgh to Silicon Valley over 30 years ago. How has Silicon Valley changed? What tectonic shifts has he witnessed in Silicon Valley? When he moved here the valley was in a transition stage and moving to the age of personal computing.
30 years ago Price moved from Pittsburg to Silicon Valley, when it was in a transitional stage. The valley was moving to the age of personal Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Apple were the big companies at that time. Price worked at Pixar in the 1980s when Steve Jobs was actively involved in the company. What was it like to work at Pixar with Jobs? Tune in to find out.
A kitchen computer, that too a binary one? Yes, way back in the 1960’s Honeywell Corp. made a kitchen computer for home makers. And, the home computer was featured in a Neiman Marcus catalog from 1969.
We turned to Chris Garcia, curator at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley to find out about this fascinating computer. How did this binary computer work? How did you input recipes? Did they sell any of these computers? Tune in to find out.
Meet Mobot, an autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid robot that I saw at the RoboBusiness in San Jose.
Motobot is a collaboration between Yamaha and SRI International of Menlo Park, CA. Think of it like the motorcycle equivalent of Google’s self-driving car. One of the objectives from the project is to improve safety of motorcycles.