VIDEO: WOMEN IN TECH SERIES – SUZANNE FREY OF GOOGLE

Meet Suzanne Frey, Director, Trust, Security, Privacy, Google Apps at Google. Frey has a liberal arts degree from Wellesley College and ended up working in the technology sector. After working for a few years,  Frey decided to get an MBA from MIT and was on her way to becoming an entrepreneur when she got an offer from Google. She joined Google over 10 years ago and is a founding member of Google’s global Women@ leadership organization. Frey is also on the board of Motley Fool.

We sat down to speak with Frey about her journey from her home state of Pennsylvania to Silicon Valley. What was her journey like? How did her father’s hard work influence her? How did she go from a liberal arts background to working in the tech industry? Tune in to find out.

How did she do it? What was her journey like to working in the tech industry? How did she do it?

This interview aired on TV in the US and is part of our Women in Science & Tech series sponsored by Zoho Corp.

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PODCAST: PUNIT SONI ON WORKING IN SILICON VALLEY & COMING TO AMERICA

Punit Soni

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.

You can subscribe to our podcast and  YouTube channel, where every week we feature new interviews.

VIDEO: IN CONVERSATION WITH PUNIT SONI, INVESTOR & ADVISOR

Meet Punit Soni, an investor and advisor based in Silicon Valley. Soni is an ex-Googler and former Chief Product Officer of Flipkart, one of the largest e-commerce companies in India.

Disrupt and linear are two favorite words of Soni. We sat down to speak with him how he disrupted his life and pulled away from a linear career growth. How did he do it? What was the role of his parents, especially his mother, who encouraged him to take risks in his career.

Soni grew up in Mumbai (Bombay), India and studied engineering in India and the US. He got his masters at University of Wyoming and moved to Silicon Valley on the advise of his graduate advisor. He was all set on an engineering career when he decided to get a MBA degree. He did not make the cut the first time he applied to business schools. It took him 2 more attempts before he got into Wharton. What did he do differently the third time around that got him into Wharton?

While in his final year at Wharton Soni set his goal on becoming an investor in Silicon Valley. He quickly realized  he was unprepared for the role. He joined Google instead and that changed his life.

Google played a pivotal role in Soni’s career. At Google he worked on search, social and mobile. In 2015 Soni quit Google and left for India to become Chief Product Officer at Flipkart. Earlier this year Soni quit Flipkart and returned to Silicon Valley.

What is next for Soni? How does he want to disrupt his life? Tune in to find out.

This TV interview was sponsored by Zoho.

Google Is Now Part Of Alphabet

g-iconThis afternoon Google caught most of us by surprise with its curve ball that it has restrucutred and created a new company called Alphabet. Google is now part of Alphabet.  And what is Alphabet you ask? Here is how Larry Page described it in his blog post today.

Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. 

And so there  you have it Google the core company and the big revenue generator is part of a new company that will span all things from A to Z.  So, G is for Google as Page described in the same post. X is for X Lab and W is for Wings, the drone division of this new collection of companies.

This new Google is a slimmer one  as Page puts it and Sunder Pichai is its new CEO since Page now heads Alphabet.  Page writes:

Google itself is also making all sorts of new products, and I know Sundar will always be focused on innovation — continuing to stretch boundaries.

Intrestingly Alphabet is not owned by the new holding company as Verge points out.

 

 

Chris Sacca On Twitter And What It Can Be…

Billionaire investor Chris Sacca’s long and thoughtful  post on “What Twitter Can Be,” created a small tsunami of sorts in the tech world like this exchange between Sacca and Fred Wilson, a New York-based venture capitalist. Both Sacca and Wilson own quite a lot of Twitter stoks. And Sacca spoke to CNBC about his post and the suggestions he made that included Google buying Twitter.

Sacca does not sit on the board of San Francisco-based Twitter. He clarifies right at the start of his 8,000 odd words long post that he he is not speaking for Twitter and neither does he have inside information on the company.

In the post he highlights the strengths and weaknesses of Twitter and stressed that the company needs to be bolder. And then he offers suggestions on how Twitter can grow and improve its offerings.

Sacca lists 6 points on what is going well in Twitter. Here are two points on what is going well that jumped out for me – “Revenue is growing at 74% year over year,” and the company is taking “risk in making changes to the core product.”

He makes 5 points on what is not going well in Twitter and one of them  was “Almost one billion users have tried Twitter and not stuck around.” Now, that kind of number will make anyone sit up and notice.  He adds Twitter is hard to use, scary and lonely for most users.

“Twitter does have boldness in its bones,” he writes and then goes on to offer in-depth suggestions on how Twitter can improve and make it less lonely and scary to use for millions of users that are not using it. He offered quite a few suggestions on how to improve the organization of information and curation.

As expected there has been a lot of analysis and reports on Sacca’s post. You can read about it here and here.

Emily Chang of Bloomberg West discussed Sacca’s post with Om Malik and Joshua Toplasky Malik made a couple of great points, which appeared to be in the same vein as Sacca’s.  The first was about the tight competition Twitter has from Facebook, Snapchat and Whatsapp. The second was that Twitter has to try new things and succeed and fail publicly. Basically, Twitter needs to take more risks.

Sacca need not have stuck out his neck and written this long, thoughtful post. It takes a lot of courage to do that. Now that he has shared his thoughts, the ball is in Twitter’s court. What will Twitter do?

Ruth Porat is Google’s New CFO

Google

Google

Google announced today that it is getting a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Ruth Porat is headed to California to become Google’s CFO. She was CFO at Morgan Stanley.

Porat grew up in Cambridge, MA and Silicon Valley. She studied at Stanford before heading out to study in London and Wharton. She joined Morgan Stanley in 1987 and has worked at the firm for most of the time save for a short stint at Smith Barney.

Porat has maintained her ties to the bay area and Stanford. She is Vice Chair of the Stanford University Board of Trustees. Porat’s father worked at Stanford’s  SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory for 26 years and retired in 1988. Her mother worked as a psychologist.

Earlier this month Patrick Pichette announced that he was retiring as Google’s CFO and wrote a letter about why he arrived at the decision. And Pichette’s departure is a big deal points out Re/Code. He joined Google in 2008.

In an interview with Politico last year she talked about her journey in Wall Street. She is often known as the most powerful woman on Wall Street, and now she is set to become a powerful woman in Silicon Valley.

 

 

Google’s Self Driving Car

It had to happen, right? A driverless car? A self driving car with no steering wheels and just an on/off button? All you do is hop into the car, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Yesterday Mountain View-based Google introduced its self driving car at the inaugural Code Conference in  Rancho Palos Verdes in Southern California. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google unveiled the self driving car that is built by scratch. And with this announcement you can see that the automotive industry is at the cusp of a potentially huge change and Silicon Valley companies are leading that change. Today, almost all major automative companies from around the world have a Research and Design Lab in Silicon Valley.

Here is a video of  a self driving car test from 2010 when Google first announced the project. You can see Steve Mahan sitting on the driver seat, but he has nothing to do with driving the car. Mahan is 90% legally blind as he points out in the video.

 

And here is Google’s self driving car that was unveiled yesterday.

You can read about Google’s Self Driving Car and how it works.