edm dj music concertIt’s tough being a CEO. You have to constantly meet your sales goals while coming up with new ideas. You have to motivate your employees and keep expanding the business, too.

Things only get harder if you’re in tech, where everything changes so quickly. And, on top of that, if you’re at a public company where shareholders scrutinize your every move? Forget about it.

That’s why staying popular among employees often gets put on the back burner of many tech CEOs. Yet, the truly talented CEOs manage to keep both their employees and shareholders happy.

Bloomberg put together a list of the most popular CEOs among US public companies, based on a survey done by Glassdoor. We narrowed it down to the 13 tech CEOs who have the highest approval rating.

13. NetApp’s Tom Georgens

Approval rating: 85.5%

CEO since: 2009

Market cap: $13.4 billion

Revenue (2014): $6.3 billion

About: Georgens has more than 20 years of experience in the storage area. He spent 11 years at EMC, before working at Engenio and LSI Logic Storage Systems for 9 years. Georgens is also the chairman of NetApp’s board.

12. EMC’s Joe Tucci

Approval rating: 89%

CEO since: 2001

Market cap: $57.92 billion

Revenue (2013): $23.2 billion

About: Tucci was named EMC’s CEO in 2001, a year after joining the company as COO. He transformed EMC’s business from being mostly focused on a high-end storage platform to visualization, cloud, and security software. Before joining EMC, Tucci worked at network solution company Wang Global and RCA Corp.

11. Cognizant Technology Solution’s Frank D’Souza

Approval rating: 89.9%

CEO since: 1994

Market cap: $29.17 billion

Revenue (2013): $8.8 billion

About: D’Souza is one of the cofounders of Cognizant, an IT consoling service company. Under D’Souza’s leadership, Cognizant has become an S&P 500 and Fortune 500 company, with more than 180,000 employees. He’s also on the board of General Electric Co.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Read the rest of this entry »

andy rubinSteve Jobs did not like Android, or the guy that ran it, Andy Rubin, according to a book on the Google-Apple smartphone wars. 

Jobs told friends that he thought Rubin was a "big, arrogant f**k," according to Fred Vogelstein's, Dogfight: How Apple And Google Went To War And Started a Revolution.

When Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, Google was already working on Android, its own smartphone operating system. Google bought Android, which was Rubin's startup, for ~$50 million in 2005. 

According to Dogfight, when Apple announced the iPhone, Rubin realized he would have to throw out what he was thinking of launching.

He was in a cab in Las Vegas, watching a webcast of the presentation. He made the driver pull over so he could see the whole thing. He said, "Holy crap, I guess we're not going to launch that phone."

Ethan Beard, an early Android business development executive told Vogelstein, "We knew that Apple was going to announce a phone. Everyone knew that. We just didn't think it would be that good."

Google had phone software that was ready to launch at the end of the year, but it looked awful relative to the iPhone, so it was all scrapped and delayed. "What we had looked so ... nineties," said an Android engineer. 

The Android team got to work and created the software that eventually went into the HTC G1, Google's first Android-based phone. The software was not as good as the iPhone, but it similar enough to Apple's software that Jobs was furious with Google.

"Everything is a f**king rip off of what we're doing," Jobs said of Android, according to Vogelstein's reporting. 

Jobs had trusted Google's cofounders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google's CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple's board. All three has been telling Jobs about Android, but they kept telling him it would be different from the iPhone. And for some reason he believed them until he actually saw the phone and its software. 

Once Jobs saw Android's software, and how similar it was to the iPhone, he insisted Google make a lot of changes.  

There was a meeting with Jobs, Scott Forstall, who designed the iPhone's software, and Google's Larry Page, Alan Eustace, and Rubin. Vogelstein cautions that it was hard to know exactly what happened in the meeting, but says that it was confrontational and nasty.

"It got incredibly personal," says one Apple executive who was briefed by Jobs on the meeting. "Jobs said that Rubin was steamed, telling him his position was anti-innovation. And this is where Steve was demeaning to Andy, saying Andy was trying to be like him, look like him, have the same haircut, the same glasses, the same style."

Apple got what it wanted from the meeting. Google didn't do multitouch features like pinch to zoom. It forced Google to change how it was going to make the phone unlock. Not only did Jobs tell Google what it couldn't use, but according to Vogelstein Jobs told Google how to take things out of Android. It was a complete capitulation from Google. 

Rubin was furious that his bosses caved to Jobs. He thought there was plenty of evidence that Apple didn't invent the things it said it invented. Rubin considered quitting Google, but didn't. (Ultimately, Google did add in those features and now it's dealing with lawsuits.)  

After the meeting with Jobs, he had a sign on his office white board that said, "STEVE JOBS STOLE MY LUNCH MONEY."

In the long run, Rubin and Android got the best of Apple. Android has taken over the world.

(Though the iPhone is wildly profitable. So, for now, this seems to be a rare instance where both companies are doing well.)

Join the conversation about this story »

Read the rest of this entry »

Before inventing Auto-Tune, the software that would change the music industry forever, Andy Hildebrand was a research scientist in the oil industry.

Working for Exxon Production Research and then Landmark Graphics, a company he co-founded, Hildebrand developed software for processing data from reflection seismology, a method of estimating properties of Earth's subsurface using reflected seismic waves. His innovations were great for finding oil, and they reportedly made him a lot of money.

Here's a screenshot of Landmark's geophysical analysis software today:

landmark software autotuneBut reflection seismology was not his first love. A professionally trained flutist since a young age, Hildebrand really wanted to be involved in music, and he found a way to transfer his skills to that field in 1990 when he launched Antares Audio Technologies, a company originally focused on digital music processing and sampling software.

His breakthrough with Auto-Tune was inspired by a fluke comment in 1996 or 1997, when a distributor's wife mentioned how great it would be to have a device that kept her singing in tune, according to Greg Milner's "Perfecting Sound Forever."

Hildebrand thought this over and realized that the type of processing he used in the oil industry could also correct pitch. As he explained on PBS's NOVA years later: 

"Seismic data processing involves the manipulation of acoustic data in relation to a linear time varying, unknown system (the Earth model) for the purpose of determining and clarifying the influences involved to enhance geologic interpretation. Coincident (similar) technologies include correlation (statics determination), linear predictive coding (deconvolution), synthesis (forward modeling), formant analysis (spectral enhancement), and processing integrity to minimize artifacts. All of these technologies are shared amongst music and geophysical applications."

And here's a screenshot of Auto Tune's music software — note the similarities:

auto tuneAlthough there were ways to correct pitch before Auto-Tune, it wasn't easy. Auto-Tune was incredibly good and incredibly easy, among other things allowing users to set a key and then have the software automatically correct notes to hit the right pitch.

"People couldn't believe what they were hearing," Hildebrand told Milner about debuting the software in the late 90s. "I had trouble convincing several of them that I wasn't pulling wool over their eyes."

For Hildebrand creating the software was his way of allowing artist to worry about the emotion of the recording rather than the technical aspects of it.

"The singer's first take is often their best, it's full of vitality and emotion," Hildebrand told NPR in 2004. "After the take, their producer will announce 'great but the second phrase was pitchy so let's do it again.' Well, now the singer's worried about pitch and has to focus on the intonation and the vitality and emotion are gone from their performance. What Auto-Tune lets the producer do is fix the first take."

Auto-Tune caught on quickly but was treated as an industry secret until Cher brought it to the forefront with her 1998 smash "Believe," which used the software at its most aggressive setting for a strange, robotic effect.

"Most major studios were using this software for pitch correction. The studios didn't like to talk about what they were doing," Hildebrand told the Seattle Times. "They didn't advertise the fact they were fixing the singer's pitch, but they did... [Cher] was just the first to make it public."

And then it was off to the races, with producers everywhere embracing it.

"It's a great and totally acceptable tool," music producer Pat Dillett told Billboard in 2004. "We've been trying to fix pitch for years. Well before Auto-Tune, we've had tons of methods... to speed things up, slow them down, fly them back in [to the track] and get them right. It [was] really hard. So I'm glad it's easy."

"Since rising to fame as the weird techno-warble effect in the chorus of Cher’s 1998 song, 'Believe,' Auto-Tune has become bitchy shorthand for saying somebody can’t sing," wrote The Verge's Lessley Anderson. "But the diss isn’t fair, because everybody’s using it."

Of course, not everyone likes what Auto-Tune has done to music.

Time Magazine called it one of the 50 worst inventions while others have compared it to body modifications and plastic surgerySome artists have protested, too, like Jay Z, who released an "anti-Auto-Tune" album and a song called "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)."

But mostly, audiences have been happy to settle into ignorant bliss about how much our favorite songs, like women on magazine covers, are digitally enhanced. That's why people acted shocked, outraged, and disdainful when unedited tracks of Britney Spears' awful singing recently leaked to the internet (the version we posted is no longer online, but you can find it if you search).

But was any one really surprised that Britney sounded so bad? And will this actually hurt her career? Nah, let's just sit back and enjoy the wonders of Auto-Tune.

SEE ALSO: Here's what really killing the music industry

Join the conversation about this story »

Read the rest of this entry »

Jeff Bezos Amazon Fire Phone

An Amazon executive admitted that the company priced its smartphone too high, Fortune's JP Mangalindan reports

"We didn’t get the price right," Amazon senior vice president of devices David Limp told Mangalindan. "I think people come to expect a great value, and we sort of mismatched expectations. We thought we had it right. But we’re also willing to say, ‘we missed.’ And so we corrected."

Amazon's Fire phone originally cost $199 but the company shot the price down to 99 cents after only a few months. In its most recent earnings call, the company admitted that it took a $170 million hit and had $83 million worth of unsold phones. 

Amazon's phone boasts 3D effects and a camera mode that can automatically identify real-world objects, but it was widely seen as a bit of a flop at launch. Limp says that several software updates since July have fixed some problems users had with the device. Despite the financial hit the smartphone caused, Amazon plans to keep working hard on the Fire phone, taking its usual long-term approach. 

"When you’re taking risks, they’re not all going to pay off," Limp says. "Those are the facts."

SEE ALSO: The First 21 Amazon Employees: Where Are They Now?

Join the conversation about this story »

Read the rest of this entry »

andy rubin google android

Andy Rubin, the Google executive responsible for the creation of Android, is out of the company, the Wall Street Journal is reporting

Google confirmed the report with CEO Larry Page, saying in a statement to the Journal, “I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next. With Android he created something truly remarkable — with a billion plus happy users. Thank you.”

Rubin came to Google when it bought his tiny startup, Android, in 2005. When he got to Google, Android was basically just an idea. By the time he stopped running Android in March 2013, it was the world's most widely used operating system, dominating smartphone market share. 

Rubin is planning to do a startup incubator for hardware-focused companies, according to the Journal.

When Rubin stopped running Android, he stayed at Google to work on robotics, a longtime passion of his. Jessica Lessin at The Information tweeted that Rubin wanted more freedom for his robotics groupShe said he wanted a structure like Calico, which is the anti-aging company Google has started. 

Our guess is that Page views robotics as something he understands better, and considers it core to Google, and therefore would not want to give it the same independence.

Google research scientist James Kuffner will take Rubin's spot to lead the robotics group. 

Join the conversation about this story »

Read the rest of this entry »
The whole crew behind the Evil Dead remake — producers Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert, director and co-writer Fede Alvarez, and writer Rodo Sayagues — are working together on a new thriller. The film is A Man in the Dark, which Raimi and Tapert’s Ghost House Pictures is assembling now, with international sales about to […] The post ‘Evil Dead’ Remake Team Reunites for ‘A Man in the Dark’ appeared ... Read the rest of this entry »
No matter how you look at it, LinkedIn is one of the stand-out Valley success stories. It has forever changed how we find jobs and network with business colleagues. Jeff Weiner is ranked as the best CEO in the nation, according one rating service, and ... Read the rest of this entry »

james cameron

A lot of people are really excited about the potential of virtual reality.

Facebook bought virtual reality startup, Oculus Rift VR, for $2 billion at the end of MarchGoogle has it's own cardboard(!) virtual headset. You can build your own for a cool $25. 

If you haven't tried out either, they're extremely immersive experiences which put you right in the middle of a game or location. 

However, James Cameron isn't convinced it's the next big thing. 

Speaking at a Wall Street Journal conference panel, the director who is responsible for the two highest-grossing movies of all time — "Titanic" and "Avatar" — and who is known for pushing the limits of technology on screen said he's not impressed with virtual the tech.

We first noticed the director's comments on Cinemablend via The Hollywood Reporter.

"There seems to be a lot of excitement around something that, to me, is a yawn, frankly," Cameron said at the conference. "The question that always occurred to me is, when is it going to be mature, when is it going to be accepted by the public at large, when are people going to start authoring in VR and what will that be?" 

Cameron critiqued the technology for being limited to standing.

Oculus rift crystal cove

"What will the level of interactivity with the user be other than just ‘I can stand and look around,'" he added. "If you want to move through a virtual reality it’s called a video game, it’s been around forever."

That's not the sort of thing Mark Zuckerberg wants to hear, but don't worry Zuck, Cameron says the Oculus isn't that bad.

"Oculus Rift is fine, it’s got a good display and that sort of thing," said Cameron.

Cameron is working on three "Avatar" sequels which are expected to be released in theaters 2016, 2017, and 2018.

SEE ALSO: James Cameron explains how he wrote 3 "Avatar" sequels simultaneously

Join the conversation about this story »

Read the rest of this entry »

kevin weil

Twitter is going through executive change, yet again.

Just six months after CEO Dick Costolo hired Daniel Graf to be in charge of Twitter's consumer products, Twitter is demoting Graf. Kevin Weil will be in charge of consumer products. 

A person familiar with Twitter's thinking said the reason for the change is that Twitter wants to execute quicker.

This person said Weil has been at the company for five years, working his way up from the mid levels of the company, so he knows the inner workings of Twitter. He knows the head of engineering, so he should be able to get product changes out the door faster. 

Weil was head of revenue products. He oversaw the roll out of Twitter's ad products, which didn't exist when he started. He will still oversee revenue in addition to consumer.

Of course, Weil's promotion begs the following question: Why didn't he get this job six months ago when Graf was hired? Our source didn't have an answer to that question.

In July, we interviewed CEO Dick Costolo. We asked him about Daniel Graf. At the time he said, "One of the reasons we brought Daniel in is he's very entrepreneurial. In fact, he's started his own company and ran his own company before."

Twitter wanted outsiders to fill in some skill it feels like it was lacking. But, obviously that wasn't working. 

This shake up follows yesterday's news that Twitter engineering VP Jeremy Gordon is leaving. Engineering and product are separate groups, so the changes are unrelated. 

But, it looks bad for Twitter. It's more turmoil for a company that's been defined by executive turmoil. 

This year alone, Twitter has lost COO Ali Rowghani, its head of news Vivian Schiller, and head of media Chole Sladden, just to name a few.

All this change led to Brian O'Malley at Brian at venture capital firm Accel Partners saying the following about Costolo in August, "If someone’s gotten divorced once, you really don’t know who’s to blame ... But if someone’s gotten divorced five times, there may be a pattern there."

From Twitter's perspective, it knows this doesn't look good. But, it's making changes it believes are best for the company.

Join the conversation about this story »

Read the rest of this entry »

LinkedIn reported earnings for its fiscal third quarter of 2014 on Thursday. Revenue and expectations surpassed Wall Street's expectations — it reported $568 million on $0.52 EPS, versus predictions of $557.49 million in revenue on $0.47 EPS.

Based on company data charted for us by BI Intelligence, LinkedIn's revenue continues to see steady growth in its three major lines of business — talent solutions, marketing solutions, and premium subscriptions — even though the company's year-over-year growth has been pretty flat. But LinkedIn has also been investing much of its own money to boost membership on the network: It recently redesigned its user profiles and even launched a new app called Connected to make networking among contacts easier.

bii sai cotd linkedin revenue

SEE ALSO: CHART OF THE DAY: All Of Facebook's Revenue Growth Is Coming From Mobile Ads

Join the conversation about this story »

Read the rest of this entry »
Countdown Timer
  • No dates present
October 2014
« Sep