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Business Insider
  • Here's Why You Probably Won't Get Hired At Google (GOOG)

    google employee office

    Google is notorious for being one of the most selective companies out there.

    Of the 3 million applications it receives each year, Google only hires 7,000, or about 0.2%, the company's HR boss Laszlo Bock said at LinkedIn's recent Talent Conference, according to Quartz.

    Although many have heard about Google's unbelievably difficult brain-teasers, the company actually has a bunch of practices that make its hiring process so selective.

    Google keeps its hiring protocol consistent and streamlined so each Googler knows exactly what to look for in candidates, Quartz reports. In order of priority, those include general cognitive ability, leadership, "Googleyness," and knowledge of the role.

    But Google also takes measures to ensure it eliminates bias at all costs. Bock says he reminds his team that most people are terrible interviewers. Many people make lasting impressions based on these encounters that may not accurately represent a candidate's capabilities.

    Google also combats bias by putting a committee in charge of making hiring choices — not hiring managers. Google chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt also discusses this in a recent book he wrote with Google's SVP of product Jonathan Rosenberg called "How Google Works."

    Schmidt likens this to the way a university decides which faculty members should get hired or promoted. Essentially, hiring should be peer-based, not hierarchical like the traditional hiring method, he says.

    So, those brain-teasers, consistent protocol, and special hiring committee combined make Google nearly impenetrable when it comes to getting hired. In fact, Google's hiring rate is said to be lower than the acceptance rate at prestigious universities such as Harvard and Yale. Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.

    SEE ALSO: Google Employees Reveal Their Favorite Perks About Working For The Company

    Join the conversation about this story »

  • Google Is Building Up A Strong Team To Tackle Artificial Intelligence (GOOG)

    artificial intelligence robot

    Google just upped its bid to get to the forefront of artificial intelligence research through the acqui-hire of two British AI companies and a subsequent partnership with Oxford University. 

    Earlier this year, Google bought the artificial technology company DeepMind for $400 million, and now it's welcoming the seven founders of Dark Blue Labs and Vision Factory to that team.

    The companies focus on deep learning for natural language understanding and visual recognition systems, respectively and several of the founders work at Oxford University. Google is not only letting them continue to teach part time, but is making a "substantial donation" to the Computer Science and Engineering departments there to solidify a research partnership.  

    "We are thrilled to welcome these extremely talented machine learning researchers to the Google DeepMind team and are excited about the potential impact of the advances their research will bring," Google's VP of Engineering, Demis Hassabis writes. 

    So what exactly is Google trying to do with artificial intelligence? Well, that's not entirely clear yet. DeepMind's website says it's using machine learning and systems neuroscience to build "powerful general-purpose learning algorithms." Whether it will build something new with those algorithms, or bake them into its current projects, like self-driving cars or giant robots, remains to be seen.

    SEE ALSO: Google Has A New App To Reinvent Email

    Join the conversation about this story »

  • Google’s New Inbox App Is Going To Really Annoy Advertisers (GOOG)

    angry child boyGoogle just announced a new app called “Inbox” that has the potential to transform the way we email. But it also looks like it’s going to seriously annoy advertisers as a result.

    One of the key features of the Google Now-like app is “Bundles.” Basically, Inbox automatically bundles together certain kinds of messages like bank statements and purchase receipts so it’s easy to scan through them quickly.

    Another feature likely to catch the eye of advertisers is “Highlights” which helps you find key information like flight itineraries and event info, but it also pulls in information from the web that wasn’t in the original email like the real-time status of your flight.

    There also hasn't been any mention yet on how or if display advertising will be integrated into the Inbox app. On Gmail, Google scans the content of your emails to serve relevant banner ads.

    The big immediate problem for advertisers is that all the key features we do know about are pushing their marketing emails further and further down the agenda in terms of priority.

    Brand emails will be siphoned off into a “Promotions” Bundle, similar to the Promotions tab on Gmail. If Inbox really takes off, Bundles is going to start getting worrying for advertisers.

    inbox2

    When Google introduced Tabs for “social”, “promotions” and “updates” last year to Gmail, many email marketers proclaimed it the death of email newsletters as we know it, as messages from brands were funneled into the baskets users check far less frequently.

    Those proclamations were a tad dramatic, but were along the right lines. Research last year from MailChimp found the number of emails opened by Gmail users fell more than twice as much as any other service as they utilized tabs to ignore unwanted communications. However, Gmail open rates *did* start accelerating when it rolled out a feature that allowed images to be downloaded automatically, as prettier emails encourage more clicks.

    Gmail accounts for 40% of all email on the web, ahead of the next biggest client Outlook.com with 23%, according to email testing and analytics company Litmus.

    webmail market share

    Advertisers consider Gmail an important advertising medium. But its move towards email that you don’t even need to open is troublesome (for them) — not least when they can't keep talking about “open rates” when trying to determine the success of their campaigns.

    And all this comes at a time when consumers — or those in the US at least, according to recent Forrester research — are actually happier to read marketing emails than ever before. The industry thinks this is partly because we’re checking our mobiles more often (so more likely to browse emails to pass time) and also because brands are making their emails more interesting, targeted and relevant than ever before.

    Just as they’re starting to get their acts together, it seems Google is trying to take one of marketers’ most valuable email assets away from their grasp.

    SEE ALSO: Americans Have Had A Huge Change of Heart: They're Starting To Actually *Like* Email Spam

    Join the conversation about this story »

  • People Are Beginning To Talk Seriously About Google's Search Business Becoming Less Relevant (GOOG)

    Google's ever-increasing dominance of online advertising looks set to wane. The growth of its search business, which fueled it for years, is weakening.

    That sounds completely mad. The company just booked $16.5 billion in revenues on its search business in Q3 alone. But people are seriously beginning to wonder whether Google might eventually lose the search war.

    We're talking about the long-term, of course.

    If you like big, counterintuitive, strategic ideas about the future of tech, then you really should check out this article about Google by tech analyst Ben Thompson, who has previously worked at Apple and Microsoft.

    The context here is that growth at Google is slowing, and no one really knows why. Paid click growth, the most important metric at Google, decreased to 17% in Q3:

    google advertising revenue global

    Part of that is simply due to big numbers: Google is still growing, but when you're that massive, the percentage leaps get smaller even though the whole-dollar numbers are just as spectacular.

    There are numerous explanations for why Google's search growth may be slowing. Facebook may be siphoning off some business, and a bunch of searches are taking place in apps that don't use Google, according to Search Engine Land:

    Analysts at Macquarie Securities said of Google’s Q3 earnings statement, 'Paid click growth slowed meaningfully … The bottom line is that GOOG’s core is slowing.'

    'Additionally, while there is limited visibility, we remain concerned that the disintermediation of search by app usage is negatively impacting GOOG’s core search. Also, FB’s momentum is likely pulling dollars from GOOG.'

    At Business Insider, we've been charting for months the trend away from Google toward more niche forms of search — app store search, semantic search, machine learning, and so on. Amazon's Fire phone has a visual search engine on it, for instance. Wal-Mart just acquired a semantic search company. Big companies don't want to be reliant on Google for search, so they're developing their own alternatives.

    It's death by 1,000 cuts, basically. If you don't need to leave that cool new app you're in to search for something, then you never get to Google — and Google loses that little piece of the search business.

    Thompson identifies a new problem: Native advertising.

    Native advertising has mostly been derided as "sponsored content" by its critics. It's the stuff you see on sites like Business Insider, where we deliberately marry advertisers with particular types of stories. Native is very trendy right now, because any publisher who can make it successfully gets a lot more money for its native ads than it does running Google's search-driven AdSense products.

    Thompson has a broader definition of native advertising. He thinks of it as any ads that are in streams. So, Twitter's ads are all native. Facebook ads that show up in your newsfeed are native. He says:

    The problem for Google is that there is no obvious reason why they should win this category. Yes, they’re an ad company, but the key to native advertising on the Internet is the capability of producing immersive content within which to place the ad, such as Facebook’s newsfeed, Twitter’s stream, a Pinterest board, or even your typical news site’s home page. Sites like Buzzfeed have taken this idea to its logical conclusion: their content is basically a marketing tool meant to show advertisers how skilled they are at going viral. Google has nothing in this regard (with the notable exception of YouTube).

    ... This is the primary basis of my thesis that Google may very well be in a similar situation to early-eighties IBM or early-oughts Microsoft: a hugely profitable company bestride the tech industry that at the moment seems infallible, but that history will show to have peaked in dominance and relevancy.

    That's right, he's comparing Google to IBM — a huge insult. Again, we're talking long-term here. It's not that Google is about to collapse. But it could be the case that Google's search business is about to plateau, and then be eclipsed by the native ad business. Thompson has this rather nice graphic illustrating that idea:

    google  native

    Google is moving to head this scenario off at the pass: Its acquisition of Deep Mind is one indicator that it believes machine learning or artificial intelligence may be the way we interact with computers in the future, rather than punching in text commands.

    So we're a long way from the point where those two lines cross. But it's interesting that more people are beginning to imagine a time when those lines do actually cross.

    SEE ALSO: Amazon's New Fire Phone Is A Huge Bet On The Future Of Machine Learning

    SEE ALSO: What If Google Is Actually *Weak* In Search?

    SEE ALSO: Facebook Is Building A Massive New Business That Exploits A Key Weakness At Apple And Google

    Join the conversation about this story »

  • Google's Self-Driving Car May Only Be A Pipe Dream (GOOG)

    google car driverless self-drivinggood technology demonstration so wows you with what the product can do that you might forget to ask about what it can't.

    Case in point: Google's self-driving car. There is a surprisingly long list of the things the car can't do, like avoid potholes or operate in heavy rain or snow.

    Yet a consensus has emerged among many technologists, policymakers, and journalists that Google has essentially solved—or is on the verge of solving—all of the major issues involved with robotic driving. The Economist believes that "the technology seems likely to be ready before all the questions of regulation and liability have been sorted out." The New York Times declared that "autonomous vehicles like the one Google is building will be able to pack roads more efficiently"—up to eight times so. Google co-founder Sergey Brin forecast in 2012 that self-driving cars would be ready in five years, and in May, said he still hoped that his original prediction would come true.

    But what Google is working on may instead result in the automotive equivalent of the Apple Newton, what one Web commenter called a "timid, skittish robot car whose inferior level of intelligence becomes a daily annoyance." To be able to handle the everyday stresses and strains of the real driving world, the Google car will require a computer with a level of intelligence that machines won't have for many years, if ever.

    It's easy to understand the excitement about the Google car. The first two prototypes were heavily modified Prius and Lexus models; the most recent, a dome-shaped two-seater with a top speed of 25 mph, is entirely computer-controlled, lacking even a steering wheel. (Because California allows the testing of a robotic car only if a human is on board to assume control in an emergency, the company can't test the latest prototype on public roads.)

    By most accounts, a demo ride in any of the Google cars is an astonishing thrill. It’s even more impressive when you recall that in a much-publicized test only a decade ago, robotic vehicles couldn’t finish even eight miles of a 150-mile course. Surely it’s still possible, despite the current challenges, that Google’s legion of genius Ph.D.s could make quick work of any remaining obstacles. Right?

    Probably not. For starters, the Google car was able to do so much more than its predecessors in large part because the company had the resources to do something no other robotic car research project ever could: develop an ingenious but extremely expensive mapping system. These maps contain the exact three-dimensional location of streetlights, stop signs, crosswalks, lane markings, and every other crucial aspect of a roadway.

    That might not seem like such a tough job for the company that gave us Google Earth and Google Maps. But the maps necessary for the Google car are an order of magnitude more complicated. In fact, when I first wrote about the car for MIT Technology Review, Google admitted to me that the process it currently uses to make the maps are too inefficient to work in the country as a whole.

    To create them, a dedicated vehicle outfitted with a bank of sensors first makes repeated passes scanning the roadway to be mapped. The data is then downloaded, with every square foot of the landscape pored over by both humans and computers to make sure that all-important real-world objects have been captured. This complete map gets loaded into the car's memory before a journey, and because it knows from the map about the location of many stationary objects, its computer—essentially a generic PC running Ubuntu Linux—can devote more of its energies to tracking moving objects, like other cars.

    But the maps have problems, starting with the fact that the car can’t travel a single inch without one. Since maps are one of the engineering foundations of the Google car, before the company's vision for ubiquitous self-driving cars can be realized, all 4 million miles of U.S. public roads will be need to be mapped, plus driveways, off-road trails, and everywhere else you'd ever want to take the car. So far, only a few thousand miles of road have gotten the treatment, most of them around the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California.  The company frequently says that its car has driven more than 700,000 miles safely, but those are the same few thousand mapped miles, driven over and over again.

    Another problem with maps is that once you make them, you have to keep them up to date, a challenge Google says it hasn't yet started working on. Considering all the traffic signals, stop signs, lane markings, and crosswalks that get added or removed every day throughout the country, keeping a gigantic database of maps current is vastly difficult. Safety is at stake here; Chris Urmson, director of the Google car team, told me that if the car came across a traffic signal not on its map, it could potentially run a red light, simply because it wouldn't know to look for the signal. Urmson added, however, that an unmapped traffic signal would be "very unlikely," because during the "time and construction" needed to build a traffic signal, there would be adequate opportunity to add it to the map.

    But not always. Scott Heydt, director of marketing at Horizon Signal Technologies, says his company routinely sets up its portable traffic signals at road construction sites. Frequently, they are simply towed to a site and turned on. "We just set one up like that in New Jersey," said Heydt. "You can be driving to work and everything is normal, but on your way home, discover a new traffic light." (Of this possibility, a Google spokesperson said, “We will have to be ready for that.”)

    Noting that the Google car might not be able to handle an unmapped traffic light might sound like a cynical game of "gotcha." But MIT roboticist John Leonard says it goes to the heart of why the Google car project is so daunting. "While the probability of a single driver encountering a newly installed traffic light is very low, the probability of at least one driver encountering one on a given day is very high," Leonard says. The list of these "rare" events is practically endless, said Leonard, who does not expect a full self-driving car in his lifetime (he’s 49).

    The mapping system isn’t the only problem. The Google car doesn’t know much about parking: It can’t currently find a space in a supermarket lot or multilevel garage. It can't consistently handle coned-off road construction sites, and its video cameras can sometimes be blinded by the sun when trying to detect the color of a traffic signal. Because it can't tell the difference between a big rock and a crumbled-up piece of newspaper, it will try to drive around both if it encounters either sitting in the middle of the road. (Google specifically confirmed these present shortcomings to me for the MIT Technology Review article.) Can the car currently "see" another vehicle's turn signals or brake lights? Can it tell the difference between the flashing lights on top of a tow truck and those on top of an ambulance? If it's driving past a school playground, and a ball rolls out into the street, will it know to be on special alert? (Google declined to respond to these additional questions when I posed them.)

    Every unfinished piece of technology—every prototype, which is what the Google car is—has plenty of items to check off on its to-do list. But the biggest issue with the Google car is one that has bedeviled computer researchers for as long as computers have been around: how to endow the machines with the sort of everyday knowledge that humans acquire and use from childhood on. Because Google is promising the world a totally driverless car, it will need an in-vehicle computer that can deal not only with all the obvious tasks of driving but anything else the world throws at it, whether on a congested city street or a highway with an 85 mph speed limit.

    Computer scientists have various names for the ability to synthesize and respond to this barrage of unpredictable information: "generalized intelligence,” "situational awareness,” "everyday common sense." It's been the dream of artificial intelligence researchers since the advent of computers. And it remains just that. "None of this reasoning will be inside computers anytime soon," says Raj Rajkumar, director of autonomous driving research at Carnegie-Mellon University, former home of both the current and prior directors of Google's car project. Rajkumar adds that the Detroit car makers with whom he collaborates on autonomous vehicles believe that the prospect of a fully self-driving car arriving anytime soon is "pure science fiction."

    Clearly, "autonomous driving" will increasingly be built into automobiles. One example is the "adaptive cruise control" offered now by many car makers, which allows a vehicle to keep up with the flow of traffic. But it will be a far cry from having a Google-style computerized chauffeur.

    We tend to lionize computer researchers, forgetting that they've made some colossally bad predictions over the years. When 2001: A Space Odyssey premiered in 1968, MIT's Marvin Minsky assured the public that machines like HAL would indeed be possible in 30 years. Perhaps one day tech enthusiasts will be able to visit a Museum of the Future That Never Was, where the Jetsons’ hover car and the Google super-robo car will sit side-by-side as showcase exhibits. Expect long lines for both, because the demos will be sensational.

    SEE ALSO: This Is Google's New Smartphone — The Nexus 6

    Join the conversation about this story »

  • Take A Rare Peek Inside The Massive Data Centers That Power Google

    google data centers

    Data centers are typically shrouded in secrecy because they are the brains behind tech companies. 

    But not Google. The search giant has shared with the world photos that lift the veil off its massive and beautiful data centers around the world, in places both domestic, including Iowa, Oregon, Georgia, South Carolina, and Oklahoma, and abroad, in Finland and Belgium.

    Google says when you're on its website, you're accessing one of the most powerful server networks in the known universe. Looking at these images, it's hard to disagree.

    Google has been working on building its data centers for over 12 years. The search giant's centers are efficient, take advantage of renewable energy, and are as environmentally friendly as possible.

    The following tour is a glimpse inside a few of Google's data centers, which it calls the "physical internet."

    Kevin Smith wrote an earlier version of this post.

    Our tour starts outside one of Google's data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. There is a family of deer outside to greet us.



    Inside the Council Bluffs, Iowa data center there is over 115,000 square feet of space. These servers allow services like YouTube and search to work efficiently.



    This place is actually enormous!



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider
  • Google Has A New App To Reinvent Email (GOOG)

    Google just introduced a new app called "Inbox" that is made by the Gmail team but will be significantly different from its flagship email app. 

    Inbox has a few key features: Bundles, Highlights, Reminders, Assists, and Snooze.

    With Bundles, Inbox will automatically bundle certain kinds of messages, like bank statements or purchase receipts, so that it will be easy to scan through them quickly. Google will create some Bundles automatically, but you can also tweak the rules for what emails you want to see grouped together. 

    inbox2

    Highlights will help you find key information, like flight itineraries, event info, and photos from friends and family. The app will be able to pull information from the web that wasn't in the original email, like real-time status of your flights. 

    Highlights

    With Reminders, Assists, and Snooze, you'll be able to leave yourself reminders from within the app, which will then store key pieces of information you need to achieve your task. For example, if you write a reminder that you need to call the hardware store, Inbox will store the phone number through Assists. If you need to focus on something else first, you can "Snooze" the reminder. In this way, it combines features from Gmail with features from Google Now and Google Keep. 

    inbox

    Google is launching Inbox as invite-only, but you can send an email to inbox@google.com to try to get on the list early. It will work with Android phones running 4.1 or later and iPhones running iOS 7 or later, and there will also be a desktop version. 

    Here's what that will look like:

    desktop_1

    Here's another look at the app:

    Inboxxing

    Watch Google's Inbox promo video here:


    NOW WATCH: Here's The Ultimate iPhone 6 Camera Review — Shot Entirely With An iPhone 6

     

    SEE ALSO: Google Is Leading A $542 Million Investment In Magic Leap, A Crazy Sounding Startup Building A New Way To See The World

    Join the conversation about this story »

  • How 3 First-Time Founders Turned One-Third Of Their Employees Into Millionaires — And No One Found Out About It (GOOG)

    alex trewby andrew toy david zhu

    On May 19, Google acquired a startup for $120 million in cash and stock, making it one of the largest New York exits of 2014.

    One-third of the company's 70 employees became millionaires. Everyone kept their jobs. And the founders are leading Google's Android enterprise group.

    But most people have never heard of the company, Divide, or its CEO, Andrew Toy, age 36. The acquisition was reported, but no price was disclosed and it read like a fire sale.

    Divide is a mobile productivity app that allows employees to carry one device instead of two to work. Once downloaded, the app splits a phone into two modes: work, which can be controlled and monitored by a corporate IT department, and personal, which IT departments don't have access to, for regular enjoyment. 

    How does a $120 million acquisition slip through the cracks?

    Google is characteristically secretive, enforcing strict NDAs during acquisitions. It also isn't required to report acquisition prices under a few hundred million dollars, because they aren't meaningful to the $55 billion company's bottom line.

    Enterprise startups are also largely ignored by the press, which favors buzzy consumer apps like Uber. 

    So wildly successful exits like Divide's sometimes fly under the radar. New York startup TXVia, for example, was sold to Google for more than $100 million in 2012, but that amount has never been reported either. 

    Google declined to let Business Insider speak with Toy about Divide or the acquisition. Instead, we spoke with other Divide insiders, as well as friends and family members of Toy.

    They helped us piece together the story of how first-time founders built a massive enterprise startup that became one of the largest, and quietest, New York City tech exits of the year.

    A Standout CEO

    Andrew toyAndrew Toy was born in Hong Kong, but he has an accent that's hard to place. It's British, with a slight Australian twang. His father moved from Australia to China before Toy was born, to become an architect, and the Toys joined a largely British expatriate community there.

    It felt odd to Toy and his siblings, who looked Chinese like their father, that they were a minority in their Hong Kong school.

    "We were always aware we stood out and were different, and that stuck with us," Andrew's younger brother, Chris, tells Business Insider.

    When Andrew Toy was seven, his father gave him a book on the programming language C++. Toy taught himself to code, and soon he was creating video games for him and his brother to play.

    "We didn't have the latest game systems, so Andrew created games for us," Chris recalls. "We were taught to solve problems."

    Most of Toy's classmates wanted to return to England when they graduated from high school. Toy's parents hoped he'd go on to study finance or become a doctor. Instead, Toy pursued his love of technology and went to Stanford to get a degree in computer science. Chris later followed Andrew to the US.

    Toy graduated from Stanford in 2000 and joined a mobile workflow startup in Silicon Valley, Jarna. He impressed managers even though he was young.

    "I have met some bright people in my life, and Andrew belongs at the very, very top of these," his manager said of Toy on LinkedIn. "He knows how to communicate his ideas in a very clear and concise way even when it gets very technical."

    Toy moved to New York City a few years later, to join Morgan Stanley's mobile research-and-development team. The mobile revolution was still ramping up, but Toy could see it would become the next major platform. At Morgan Stanley, he worked alongside his future Divide cofounders, Alexander Trewby and David Zhu, in the remote-computing division.

    After Morgan Stanley, Toy went to Viacom to learn more about business development and sales as the company's VP of mobile technology. He reported directly to the CTO. 

    When Chris, who is three years younger than Andrew, graduated from Northwestern, the two became roommates in Manhattan. They lived together for the next eight years and regularly swapped business ideas during their morning commutes. 

    "There were probably 1,000 ideas, at least," Chris recalls. Some were ridiculous, but when Andrew Toy stumbled upon the idea for Divide, the chats turned serious. 

    In the late 2000s, BlackBerry was the device of choice for corporations and their employees. Unlike the iOS or Android platforms, the phones came with security that software IT departments could control. But BlackBerry's software wasn't open source like Android's, and it couldn't be manipulated by developers to fit a corporation's needs.

    iPhone and Android devices were rapidly gaining popularity with consumers. Employees started bringing two devices to the office: work-assigned BlackBerrys and smartphones for personal use. Taking note of this Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, trend, Toy and his former Morgan Stanley colleagues envisioned an alternative software product that would fix the two-phone problem.

    The 'Utterly Disheartening' Call From Google

    Toy, Trewby, and Zhu left their jobs to cofound Divide's predecessor. They launched the company, called Enterproid, which stood for "enterprise" and "Android," in January 2010. The founders raised a $500,000 debt round, primarily from their former bosses and managing directors at Morgan Stanley.

    By then, the three lived on different continents. Trewby had moved to England with his family, Zhu had moved to Hong Kong, and Toy remained in New York. But they were used to remote collaboration from their Morgan Stanley days. Plus, being spread all over the world made their startup a true 24/7 operation. Each found different ways to cope with the time difference.

    "David and I had babies, which was conducive to staying up all hours of the night," Trewby says. Toy, his brother says, often worked US and Hong Kong hours combined.

    "Every entrepreneur works hard, and I had seen Andrew work hard plenty of times, but Enterproid was a whole different [level]," says Chris, who doesn't recall his roommate and brother sleeping. 

    bunk bed desks divide enterproid londonEnterproid's global offices also had culture-inducing quirks. In London, for example, the teams worked out of bunk beds that resembled Trewby's work setup in his old Manhattan apartment. A desk took the space of the bottom bunk, while the top bunk was generally used to get a modicum of privacy when someone needed to take a phone call in the crowded office. (Trewby's Enterproid bunk bed is now featured in Google's London office.)

    Trewby's team also had regular 4 o'clock tea. In New York, Toy installed a different food perk: a cotton-candy machine.

    Over the next few months, Enterproid created an enterprise-friendly operating system to compete directly with Android and iOS. The goal was to get device makers, such as HTC and LG, to build it into their devices and sell the phones with the pre-uploaded Enterproid software in stores. But the team soon learned that securing deals with hardware makers would take a lot of time and money, so they began fundraising again.

    rich miner android googleToy, friends say, takes a mathematical approach to everything from dating to fundraising.

    "He saw the exact right amount of [venture capital] firms and used a massive spreadsheet with logs of how to handle each situation," a friend says. This person estimates Toy met with 40 different VCs. Many weren't familiar with the mobile enterprise space and passed; others said they planned to speak to an enterprise expert, Android founder Rich Miner, before making a decision. Miner was a partner at Google Ventures.

    The first VC to take a chance on Enterproid was Owen Davis at NYC Seed. Davis introduced the team to Genecast Ventures, which led the $1.3 million seed round in fall 2010. BOLDStart Ventures and High Peaks Venture Partners participated. 

    Toy's team moved into a small office at 32nd Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.

    Although Miner and Google Ventures passed on Enterproid's seed round, Miner asked to set up a call with Toy, Trewby, and Zhu. The founders were ecstatic. 

    "We thought, 'Great! We're about to get acquired! That was sort of easy,'" Trewby tells Business Insider. Toy and Trewby flew to Hong Kong, where an official office had just been set up, and together they called Miner. Parts of the freshly unpackaged phone were still in plastic wrap.

    The call didn't go well.

    "Rich told us, 'This is going to fail, abysmally,'" Trewby recalls. "It's going to take way too long [to onboard hardware companies]. You're going to run out of money trying, and Google is going to crush you."

    Rich Miner told us, 'This is going to fail, abysmally ... Google is going to crush you.'

    Miner advised the team to create an app instead of partnering with hardware companies. That way the software could be downloaded to any device, allowing clients to get up and running within minutes, and it'd keep the product experience consistent across Android and iOS devices.

    "We were utterly disheartened," Trewby recalls.

    But they listened to Miner, and Trewby now calls the harsh feedback a "saving grace." The company spent the next few months building an app.

    Starting From Scratch

    divide app

    With the new app, Divide began closing deals with corporations and mobile carriers. AT&T, Verizon, and Vodafone all agreed to start selling Enterproid to business clients as an app in a suite of enterprise tools.

    Dell also teamed up with Divide. Chris Toy, who occasionally worked from the Enterproid office, remembers the team high-fiving in celebration when that deal closed. But signing big companies can be stressful for a startup, since it tends to lead to thousands of employees downloading an app all at once. 

    A friend once asked Toy how he dealt with the onboarding issue, and the flood of bug reports that inevitably followed.

    "Just call the product 'beta,'" Toy replied.

    More validation for Enterproid came in late 2011, when Toy's startup won Qualcomm's second ventures competition. Qualcomm participated in an $11 million Series A round of financing soon after. And this time, Miner chose to invest. "He said, 'You guys listened,'" Trewby recalls. 

    qprize_winners divide enterproidHaving strategic investors like Qualcomm, rather than a traditional venture capital firm on board, was helpful for recruiting clients. "The Ciscos and Dells might not know what Sequoia Capital is, but they're certainly aware of Qualcomm and Google," Trewby says.

    In 2012, Enterproid launched an iOS app and continued to pick up steam. A slew of well-funded competitors, like VMWare, entered the BYOD space. In 2013, Enterproid secured more money from Qualcomm and Google and raised another $12 million.  

    Enterproid also changed its name to "Divide." Friends had complained that "Enterproid" was hard to pronounce and reminded them of "hemorrhoid." 

    Divide NasdaqBy 2014, Divide was on pace to generate somewhere between $10 and $20 million in annual revenue. The company grew just to shy of 70 people.

    Many of the partnerships that Divide had secured, whether with Google or Qualcomm, sparked merger conversations. 

    "Our merger and acquisition options were with software houses, like Dell, Cisco, IBM, HP and Juniper," Trewby explains. "Those are also companies we wanted to sell our product to and integrate our technology with. So when we'd meet with them, we never quite knew which hat we were wearing. You didn't know if you were flirting with them because you wanted them to buy your company or resell your product."

    Eventually, the acquisition talks with Google turned serious. Miner didn't participate in the discussions; another Google Ventures startup, Nest, had just been purchased for more than $1 billion, and the spotlight was on his firm. 

    Still, the deal came together relatively quickly with the help of an internal evangelist in Google's Android department. Divide had two requests if it was going to get bought: All employees had to keep their jobs and the Divide product needed to continue operating. Google agreed to both concessions, and within a few weeks the paperwork was signed.

    A Celebratory Stouffer's Lasagna

    Trewby remembers the day of the acquisition and how nervous he felt to break the news to employees. He, Toy, and Zhu had a plan to tell all 70 employees in all three offices at once. 

    stouffer's lasagnaEach founder led their team to Google's headquarters in their respective cities. It didn't seem odd, since Google was already one of Divide's partners. There, the teams jumped on a Google hangout where everyone could see one another.

    "It was a tense moment," Trewby says. "We didn't know if we were about to get beaten up by employees in a corner, or they'd throw beanbags at us. We thought maybe they'd think, 'What?! You sold too early!' Or 'Oh no, not Google! We hoped someone else would buy us.'" 

    It was a tense moment. We didn't know if we were about to get beaten up by employees in a corner, or they'd throw beanbags at us. 

    Instead, employees in all three offices erupted in applause.

    No champagne was popped as the employees celebrated the acquisition. None of Divide's cofounders drink. But Trewby says there was a better alternative.

    "The real champagne corks were the individual conversations we got to have with everyone, letting them know their futures at Google, the roles they'd have there, and various attributes of their employment contracts," Trewby says. "That was more pleasurable than pouring champagne."

     

    Friends of the company estimate that twenty or thirty of Divide's employees became millionaires, and that the founders negotiated with Google during the deal heavily to make that possible.

    Selling a startup to Google in London is relatively rare. The following week, Trewby met the Queen.

    In New York, Toy's celebration was modest. His mother was in town from Hong Kong, and Chris brought over a cheap bottle of champagne for dinner, coercing his big brother into to choking down a sip. 

    Toy, a new millionaire, did what he always does to celebrate a big achievement: He heated up a Stouffer's microwave lasagna and had a feast.

    * * *

    Screen Shot 2014 10 20 at 12.26.04 PMAndrew Toy now lives in Mountain View, and is managing a stealth Android enterprise product for Google as its project management director. Alexander Trewby still lives in London, where many of the Hong Kong Divide employees will be relocating. He is Google's partner development manager. David Zhu is an engineering manager for Google in Hong Kong.

    While Divide had its struggles, an investor says the company "never stared death in the face."

    Or as one friend put it: "Andrew had the pain of really good success." 

    Running and selling Divide may have looked easy to outsiders because of Toy's cool confidence. Friends describe the CEO as a "terrier" and a "destroyer" who cuts through the choppy waves of entrepreneurship better than most founders.

    "When you're running a startup, your boat is moving up or down," Toy's friend, who's also a tech CEO, explains. "But you can't tell that with Andrew, because he's just driving through it."

    Toy was also raised to believe that smart people who work hard are often rewarded.

    "Andrew believed in himself absolutely," Chris Toy says. "He believes in me absolutely. And he believes in his friends absolutely. He believes, if you look at something and you deserve it, go get it. If you put in hard work, plan, and be analytical and smart, good things will come."


    NOW WATCH — WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Here's What The 'Dude You're Getting A Dell' Guy Is Doing Today

    Join the conversation about this story »

  • Mobile, Social, And Big Data — The Convergence Of The Internet's Three Defining Trends

    BII data influence industries

    The world is swimming in data. 

    Smartphone-based computing had led to much more internet-based activity, and more opportunities to collect location data. The consumer stampede into social media means that the tastes, preferences, and frustrations of billions are shared online. 

    In a couple of recent reports from BI Intelligence, we take stock of how all this data is the bedrock for a new generation of business tactics and applications. We focus on dispelling hype around big data, and describe clearly what it is — and what it isn't. 

    Consider:

    Yet: 

    • Most companies are underusing data: Seventy-one percent of chief marketing officers around the globe say their organization is unprepared to deal with the explosion of big data over the next few years, according to an IBM survey. They cited it as their top challenge, ahead of device fragmentation and shifting demographics.

    The above data points and insights come from two BI Intelligence reports on Big Data.

    Only BI Intelligence subscribers can download the reports in PDF form and download all the charts and datasets for their own research and presentations. Subscribers also gain full-access to all our ongoing charts and in-depth reports on the mobile and social industries. 

    Subscribe today to access, "Social Media's New Big Data Frontiers — Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, And Predictive Marketing," and "How Big Data Will Transform The Mobile Ecosystem."

    In full, the reports:

    To access BI Intelligence's full reports on Big Data sign up for a free trial subscription here.

    BII cmo survey big data

    Join the conversation about this story »

  • Google Tops New List Of The World's 100 Most In-Demand Employers

    Google, Apple, and Facebook are known for offering attractive perks, great pay, and excellent workplace cultures — so it's no surprise that they're also three of the world's most sought-after places to work right now.

    That's according to a new ranking of the 100 most in-demand employers by LinkedIn.

    The third annual list, announced Tuesday at LinkedIn's Talent Connect conference in San Francisco, is based on an analysis of more than 35 billion interactions between companies and members on the professional networking site.

    LinkedIn specifically looked at member awareness of every company (how many people have viewed their employees' profiles within the past year), and engagement on LinkedIn (how many members have followed the company's Company or Career Page within the past year).

    Google snags the No. 1 spot for a third consecutive year.

    Here's the full ranking of 100 companies. Below are some highlights:

    InDemand Employers 2014

    SEE ALSO: Why Google Loves Teach For America

    Join the conversation about this story »

Affiliate Resource Site
  • iTunes Affiliate Program Terms & Conditions Update 2014-10-23T16:00:50Z

    The Terms and Conditions for the Affiliate Program have been updated. There will not be any impact to the commission rate or the purchase window which remain at 7% and 24 hours respectively.

    Here is a brief overview of the changes:

    • Minor changes to unify verbiage used in the platform and program terms

    • Section 2.2 has broader language for qualifying links allowing Store Kit Product Sheet to be supported for app developers

    • All the terms are managed and enforced by Performance Horizon Group in United Kingdom

    You can review the new PHG Terms and Conditions here.

    The new terms come into effect immediately. If you continue using our services after today, you agree to be bound by these new terms. If you do not agree with the new terms and wish to remove your account, or if you have any questions, please contact us at our Helpdesk.

  • Affiliate Linking to App Bundles 2014-10-02T16:49:18Z

    App Bundles

    App Bundles let you promote multiple apps or games from the same developer at a special price. This is a great way to promot high quality apps and earn more commission with higher value sales.

    View App Bundles: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewFeature?id=915131749&mt=8

    Grab a link from any App Bundle and append your affiliate token when linking from your own app or website. For more information about how to create an affiliate link, see our basic linking guide.

  • Affiliate Program Update for App Developers 2014-08-18T16:15:43Z

    Store Kit Product Sheet

    We are excited to announce that Store Kit Product Sheet is now affiliate commissionable on iOS 8. Store Kit Product Sheet allows app developers to promote the purchase of music, apps, books and more directly from a sheet within your app and earn the standard affiliate commission on all sales within 24 hours.

    We encourage you to use Store Kit Product Sheet to provide a superior user experience and keep users in your app longer. Learn how to integrate your affiliate token into the Store Kit Product Sheet in the Developer Documentation.

    Smart App Banners

    Smart App Banners have always been commissionable in the affiliate program. Promote your app with this banner feature when a user is viewing your website in mobile Safari. Learn how integrate your affiliate token in the Developer Documentation.

  • Korea and 19 More Countries Added this Week 2014-04-17T21:17:49Z

    Korea and 19 more countries have been added this week. The Affiliate Program is now supporting 147 countries on one easy to use platform. Start earning commission today when you link to music, apps, books, and more.

    If you are already signed up for the Affiliate Program then you are automatically opted-in to start earning commission in these new countries.

    New Countries added April 2014
    Albania Algeria Angola
    Azerbaijan Benin Bhutan
    Cambodia Dominican Republic Iceland
    Korea Laos Malawi
    Montserrat Palau Seychelles
    Solomon Islands Sri Lanka Tajikistan
    Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands  

    Click here for a full list of all countries in the Affiliate Program.

    If you have not already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG you can go to http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/apply to apply and start earning commission

  • 33 New Countries Added, Now Over 100 Supported 2014-02-18T05:10:24Z

    We've done it again. We have expanded support of our Affiliate Program to 33 new countries added today on the PHG platform. Also, as part of our expansion two weeks ago into Europe and South America, we added six more countries that had previously not been supported. Over 100 countries are now supported.

    If you are already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG then you are automatically opted-in to start earning commission in these new countries.

    New Countries added February 17, 2014
    Anguilla
    Antigua and Barbuda Belize
    Brunei Burkina-Faso Cape Verde
    Fiji Gambia Ghana
    Grenada Guinea-Bissau Guyana
    Jamaica Kyrgyzstan Macedonia
    Micronesia Mongolia and Tobago Mozambique
    Namibia Nepal Niger
    Pakistan Papua New Guinea Saint Kitts and Nevis
    Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and The Grenadine São Tomé and Príncipe
    Sierra Leone Suriname Swaziland
    Tunisia Virgin Islands Zimbabwe
    New Countries added February 3, 2014
    Bolivia
    Ecuador Guatemala
    Nicaragua Uruguay Venezuela

    Click here for a full list of all countries in the Affiliate Program.

    If you have not already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG you can go to http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/apply to apply and start earning commission in over 100 countries.

  • Important News for Europe and South America 2014-02-03T17:08:47Z

    Last year we introduced our new affiliate platform partner, PHG, providing added countries and unified program reporting. Today we are announcing the migration of 39 Europe and South America countries to this single platform.

    If you are already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG then you are automatically opted-in to start earning commission in every country we support. If you are currently participating in the affiliate program for Europe or South America, you need to migrate your links to PHG before 3/31 in order to continue earning affiliate commission. Click here for a full list of all countries in the Affiliate Program.

    Latin & South America
    Argentina
    Brazil Chile
    Colombia Costa Rica
    El Salvador
    Honduras
    Panama
    Paraguay
    Peru


    Europe
    Austria
    Belgium
    Bulgaria
    Cyprus Czech Republic
    Denmark
    Estonia
    Finland France
    Germany Greece Hungary
    Ireland Italy Latvia
    Lithuania Luxembourg Malta
    Netherlands Norway Poland
    Portugal
    Romania
    Slovakia
    Slovenia
    Spain
    Sweden
    Switzerland
    United Kingdom

    Learn more about this transition. If you have not already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG you can go to http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/apply to apply and start earning commission in all 94 countries.

  • Affiliate Reporting Holiday Shutdown 2013-12-18T18:46:21Z

    As a reminder, the iTunes Connect holiday shutdown schedule will also impact the affiliate program tools.

    Affiliate program reporting may be impacted from approximately from Saturday, December 21 to Friday, December 27, 2013. Some of the affiliate tools will be temporarily suspended or updated less frequently.

    • The Enterprise Partner Feed will be taken offline for the duration of the iTunes Connect shutdown.

    • The Search API, Link Maker, Banner Builder, RSS Generator and Widget Builder will be kept online.

    We thank you for your understanding and wish you the best of luck in the coming weeks with your affiliate sales.

    Happy Holidays,

    The Affiliate Team

  • Affiliate Reporting Planned Downtime 2013-10-16T02:04:16Z

    As part of a planned downtime affiliate reporting will be delayed this week by 3 to 4 days.

    All sales are still being recorded and will be recognized by PHG and TradeDoubler respectively once reporting is resumed.

    • Clicks will still be reported to PHG and TradeDoubler
    • Free items will still be reported daily on the PHG platform

    Only paid items are impacted by this downtime.

    If you have any questions please contact the Affiliate Helpdesk at http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/support.

  • 20 Additional Countries Added to the PHG Platform 2013-09-30T19:07:38Z

    We are happy to announce the continued expansion of the Affiliate Program with 20 new countries added today to the PHG platform. This brings the total of new countries to 43. The total number of countries on the PHG platform (existing plus new) is 49, providing a tremendous opportunity for iTunes affiliates.

    If you are already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG then you are automatically opted-in to start earning commission in these new countries.

    New Countries
    Armenia
    Bahamas Bahrain
    Barbados Belarus Bermuda
    Botswana
    Cayman Islands Croatia
    Dominica Kenya Mauritius
    Moldova Nigeria Oman
    Tanzania Trinidad and Tobago Uganda
    Uzbekistan Yemen

    Click here for a full list of all countries in the Affiliate Program.

    If you have not already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG you can go to http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/apply to apply and start earning commission in all 49 countries.

  • 17 New Countries Added to the PHG Platform 2013-09-04T23:03:54Z

    We are very happy to announce the expansion of the iTunes Affiliate Program with 17 new countries now available on the PHG platform.

    If you are already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG then you are automatically opted-in to start earning commission in these new countries.

    Egypt India Indonesia
    Israel Jordan Kazakhstan
    Kuwait Lebanon Macau
    Malaysia Philippines Qatar
    Saudi Arabia Thailand Ukraine
    United Arab Emirates Vietnam

    Click here for a full list of all countries in the Affiliate Program.

    If you have not already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG you can go to http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/apply to apply and start earning commission in all 29 countries.


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