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Steve Ballmer Churchill Club

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is fully aware that Microsoft must transform itself.

His motto comes from a Woody Allen movie, he told interviewer Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn cofounder, at an event held by the Churchill Club in Silicon Valley Wednesday night.

"A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies."

He says the same holds true with tech companies: "Tech companies move forward or die."

He also named Microsoft's biggest risks:

  • You're not successful—"you never get there";
  • You do get there and screw up;
  • You don't have the talent to get there.

Ballmer said it wasn't enough to have great talent, either: "You have to have a real point of view of how to innovate in areas where you are not strong."

He added: "Tech is a place where you have to reinvent yourself."

But the pace is accelerated now, he said. When Ballmer started at Microsoft, the company had to reinvent itself every 10 years. Now it's more like every five years.

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Mark Zuckerberg and friend in Noe Valley

It's incredibly hard to start a company.

Fortunately, a lot of smart people have done it before, and they have sound advice to share with budding entrepreneurs.

We pulled the best quotes from recent blog posts, conferences, and interviews that can help startups at every phase, whether they're still deciding what to launch or figuring out how to scale.

Here's the truest, most timely startup advice from business stars like Pinterest's Ben Silbermann and Y Combinator's Paul Graham.

On deciding what to start: "Facebook, I didn’t start to ‘start a company.’ It was mostly just through wanting to build it and having it be this hobby and getting people around me excited. It eventually evolved into a company. But I never understood the psychology of wanting to start a company before deciding what you wanted to do. Explore what you want to do before committing." - Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook

"If you are thinking of starting a non-transactional consumer startup, be aware that you are entering what is perhaps the most competitive sector in tech in the last decade….ten million users is the new one million users." -- Chris Dixon, Partner of Founder Collective and founder of Hunch

On the stress of running a company: "As a startup CEO, I slept like a baby. I woke up every two hours and cried." -- Ben Horowitz

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zuckerberg money

Everyone remembers when Facebook bought Instagram for a headline-friendly billion dollars last April. But what about the 10 companies it acquired after that? Or the 29 prior?

The social media landscape is in such a constant state of flux that it's sometimes hard to remember who did what when.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and The Jordan, Edmiston Group Inc (JEGI) teamed up to take snapshots of what the social media ecosystem looks like right now.

Among other things, the report breaks down the acquisition timelines for major digital players, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Salesforce, and Google.

Facebook's acquisition timeline:

According to the report, "Facebook has acqui‐hired talented staff from a number of companies in addition to its traditional M&A, focusing on enhanced content sharing/discovery (FriendFeed,, IP (Tagtile), location awareness (Gowalla), ecommerce/gifts (Karma) and mobile (Glancee, Lightbox)." 

Furthermore, Facebook is known to scoop up its competition for hefty chunks of change. When threatened by Instagram in the image and mobile space, Facebook bought the start-up for a cool billion dollars.

Twitter's acquisition timeline:

Twitter's acquisitions help boost user experience and its ad-based business model.

The report notes that "areas of interest include keyword bidding, social marketing automation, geo‐targeted ads, and social analytics," which is reflected by recent buys.

LinkedIn's acquisition timeline:

LinkedIn acquired SlideShare, a company that allows users to easily share business documents and presentations, for $119 in May 2012. Apart from that, LinkedIn's acquisitions "have typically focused on tuck‐ins and tend to acquire businesses that are pre‐revenue."

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larry page 400The interview questions Google asks prospective engineers are tough.

We've gathered a new group of questions (and answers) from MyCareerStacks.

Unlike some of the other Google interview questions you've seen in the past, these are more computational and logic-based.

If you want to prepare for an interview at Google, or just see if you have what it takes, you should test yourself with these questions. They will probably pop up in some form during the recruiting process.

There are a bunch of houses in a row...

We'll say there are "N" houses, where N is some integer. Each house can be painted in either Red, Green or Blue. The cost of coloring each house in each of the colors is different.

Figure out how to color each house so no two adjacent houses have the same color and the total cost of coloring all the houses is as low as possible.

ANSWER: It's actually a programming problem.

This problem can be modeled as a "Dynamic Programming" problem, a method for efficiently solving a broad range of search and optimization problems.

Here's the line of code you'd use to answer it:

C[i][c] = H[c] + min(C[i-1][x]) x belongs to {Red, Blue, Green} x belongs to c

This function is the cost of painting the row of houses ending at the "ith" house so that house is painted in a color "c." (i is a placeholder for a number that goes up as the function computes.)

"c" is chosen such that the previous house is not in the same color.

Reverse characters of each word in a sentence

Convert "--------- "my career stack" ---------" to ""--------- "ym reerac kcats" ---------".

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Translation Recordings, an internationally oriented drum&bass record label based in Washington DC, was created in the spring of 2004 and aims to break borders and barriers by showcasing new and veteran international talent, and by releasing diverse and cutting edge music with true depth and scope for both the dancefloor and the armchair.

After 7 years in business, Translation Recordings approached us when they needed an update of their identity and website. When refining the identity, we made sure their ideology of movement, speed, and forward-thinking was kept, as well as giving it a strong corporate colour.

With the website, it was important to us and label owner Brian Kawamura to always have access to the latest news and information concering releases, and also to expand the artists profile and discography pages, making the music more accessible. Additionally, we also delivered a two-sheet identity manual and social media profile customization.

Website currently under development.

Year: 2012

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Intelligent particles, the size of dust grains, are programmed to fill nonexistent shapes (the mathematical problem of geometry packing). The "know" their relative position inside the imaginary form (i.e. distance from hull or center) and take on a color relative to it.

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