Profile

Cover photo
Steve Akins
Works at SteveAkinsSEO: Digital Marketing, SEO, Social, Developer, Entrepreneur, Struggling Poet :), Gastronome, Explorer
7,530 followers|92,651 views
AboutPostsPhotosVideosReviews

Stream

Steve Akins

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
After nearly 7 years as CFO, I will be retiring from Google to spend more time with my family.  Yeah, I know you've heard that line before.  We give a lot to our jobs.  I certainly did.  And while I am not looking for sympathy, I want to share my thought process because so many people struggle to strike the right balance between work and personal life.

This story starts last fall. A very early morning last September, after a whole night of climbing, looking at the sunrise on top of Africa - Mt Kilimanjaro. Tamar (my wife) and I were not only enjoying the summit, but on such a clear day, we could see in the distance, the vast plain of the Serengeti at our feet, and with it the calling of all the potential adventures Africa has to offer. (see exhibit #1 - Tamar and I on Kili).

And Tamar out of the blue said "Hey, why don't we just keep on going". Let's explore Africa, and then turn east to make our way to India, it's just next door, and we're here already. Then, we keep going; the Himalayas, Everest, go to Bali, the Great Barrier Reef... Antarctica, let's go see Antarctica!?" Little did she know, she was tempting fate.

I remember telling Tamar a typical prudent CFO type response- I would love to keep going, but we have to go back. It's not time yet, There is still so much to do at Google, with my career, so many people counting on me/us - Boards, Non Profits, etc

But then she asked the killer question: So when is it going to be time? Our time? My time? The questions just hung there in the cold morning African air. 

A few weeks later, I was happy back at work, but could not shake away THE question: When is it time for us to just keep going? And so began a reflection on my/our life. Through numerous hours of cycling last fall (my introvert happy place) I concluded on a few simple and self-evident truths:

First, The kids are gone.  Two are in college, one graduated and in a start-up in Africa. Beautiful young adults we are very proud of. Tamar honestly deserves most of the credit here. She has done a marvelous job. Simply marvelous. But the reality is that for Tamar and I, there will be no more Cheerios encrusted minivan, night watch because of ear infections, ice hockey rinks at 6:00am. Nobody is waiting for us/needing us. 

Second, I am completing this summer 25-30 years of nearly non-stop work (depending on how you wish to cut the data). And being member of FWIO, the noble Fraternity of Worldwide Insecure Over-achievers, it has been a whirlwind of truly amazing experiences. But as I count it now, it has also been a frenetic pace for about 1500 weeks now. Always on - even when I was not supposed to be. Especially when I was not supposed to be. And am guilty as charged - I love my job (still do), my colleagues, my friends, the opportunities to lead and change the world.

Third, this summer, Tamar and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. When our kids are asked by their friends about the success of the longevity of our marriage, they simply joke that Tamar and I have spent so little time together that "it's really too early to tell" if our marriage will in fact succeed. 
If they could only know how many great memories we already have together. How many will you say? How long do you have? But one thing is for sure, I want more. And she deserves more. Lots more.

Allow me to spare you the rest of the truths. But the short answer is simply that I could not find a good argument to tell Tamar we should wait any longer for us to grab our backpacks and hit the road - celebrate our last 25 years together by turning the page and enjoy a perfectly fine mid life crisis full of bliss and beauty, and leave the door open to serendipity for our next leadership opportunities, once our long list of travels and adventures is exhausted.

Working at Google is a privilege, nothing less. I have worked with the best of the best, and know that I am leaving Google in great hands. I have made so many friends at Google it's not funny. Larry, Sergey, Eric, thank you for friendship. I am forever grateful for letting me be me, for your trust, your warmth, your support, and for so much laughter through good and not so good times.

To be clear, I am still here. I wish to transition over the coming months but only after we have found a new Googley CFO and help him/her through an orderly transition, which will take some time. 

In the end, life is wonderful, but nonetheless a series of trade offs, especially between business/professional endeavours and family/community. And thankfully, I feel I’m at a point in my life where I no longer have to have to make such tough choices anymore. And for that I am truly grateful. Carpe Diem.


Patrick
327 comments on original post
2

Steve Akins

Shared publicly  - 
 
Two awesome ‪#‎roadtrip‬ adventures in the Himalayas ‪#‎travel‬
http://www.natgeotraveller.in/web-exclusive/web-exclusive-month/driving-himachal--two-road-trips-you-must-take-now-42/ by Rishad Mehta  via National Geographic Traveller India Marilyn Terrell 
1

Steve Akins

Shared publicly  - 
 
Google has announced that the latest version of its Panda Update -- a filter designed to penalize "thin" or poor content from ranking well -- has been rele
2
1
Luis Hernandez, Jr.'s profile photo

Steve Akins

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
Building a deeper understanding of images

A few weeks ago we shared the results of the 2014 ImageNet Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge, in which a team of Googlers, GoogLeNet, used a deep learning training system to automatically classify images and detect objects from Internet sources (http://goo.gl/mrCLCH).

Today on the Google Research Blog, GoogLeNet team member +Christian Szegedy offers a deeper look at the techniques the team used to place first in the classification and detection tasks of the competition, including the use of the DistBelief infrastructure (http://goo.gl/28ufU5), which makes it possible to train neural networks in a distributed manner.

Head over to the Research blog, linked below, to learn more about the techniques that will enable even better image understanding any place where it is useful to understand what is in an image as well as where things are.
4 comments on original post
2

Steve Akins

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
It feels like just yesterday my wife, two kids and I packed all our belongings, sold our house in New Jersey, and made the long trip to California. It was almost 14 years ago, and I was on my way to join Google’s Search team. 

One of the more memorable moments during the years that followed was the company’s IPO, where Larry and Sergey introduced their vision to the world. I can’t believe that was 10 years ago tomorrow. Their founders’ letter [http://goo.gl/t7Ylc7] highlighted Google’s long-term focus:  

“Our business environment changes rapidly and needs long term investment. We will not hesitate to place major bets on promising new opportunities.”

Since 2004, Google has of course made a range of big bets: YouTube, Android, Chrome, Google Maps….and recently, many of the amazing long-term projects Google[x] is pursuing.

But the heart of Google is still search. And in the decade since our IPO, Google has made big bets on a range of hugely important areas in search that make today’s Google so much better than the 2004 version (see our homepage from back then below). Larry has described the perfect search engine as understanding exactly what you mean and giving you back exactly what you want. We’ve made a lot of progress on delivering you the right answers, faster. But we know that we have a long way to go -- it’s just the beginning.

I thought it might be fun to share the 10 biggest Google search milestones since 2004 that really stand out in my mind:

1. Autocomplete: We built a way for Google to predict the most likely useful words and phrases as you type, and even load search results instantly—so you can quickly get to that perfect recipe for “silky gingered zucchini soup” (even if you can’t remember the dish’s whole name). Typing out a whole phrase feels archaic.

2. Translations: Google Translate was barely a beta product ten years ago. Today people use it in 80 languages to do over a billion translations a day. Just tell Google to “translate 10 years into German” and see this magic in action.

3. Directions and traffic: Search used to be just about webpages, but our amazing Maps team made it possible to search the real world too. Now you can ask, “How far is it to Santa Cruz?” and with one tap you can open walking, biking, public transit, or driving directions—with the fastest route so you avoid traffic.

4. Universal search: Sometimes the best answer isn’t just text—if you’re asking about JFK’s “Moon Speech,” you probably want to watch John F. Kennedy deliver his famous speech. We’ve made that possible, blending different types of results so you get the most relevant info, no matter the format.

5. Mobile and new screens: No matter what device or platform you may be on, whether it’s a tablet or a smartphone (or even a watch!), you need information and answers. So we’ve adapted Search to all these new devices. This includes redesigning our mobile products to help those who weren’t born with the fastest typing thumbs! 

6. Voice search: Gone are the days of typing queries as clunky keywords—you can now ask questions by voice in the Google Search app. Instead of typing [weather chicago], just say “Ok Google, will I need an umbrella tomorrow?” We’ve invested years of research into speech recognition and natural language understanding, and voice search works in 38 languages today.

7. Actions: With the Google Search app you can quickly text, email or call someone without digging and typing. Just say: “Ok Google, send an email to Jason: do you guys want to go to the beach with us for a picnic this Saturday?” You can even set sophisticated reminders like “Remind me to pick up coffee filters next time I’m at Target,” and Google will buzz your phone when you get to any Target.

8. The Knowledge Graph: The world is made of real things, not just text strings. So we built the Knowledge Graph to show how things are connected—ask “How tall do you have to be to ride the Cyclone?” or “Who’s in the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy?”, and then click to explore across the web. 

9. Info just for you: If you’ve got a flight reservation saved in your Gmail, you can ask the Google Search app, “What gate does my flight leave from?” and get the answer directly. You can also ask about shipments ("Where's my package?") or for appointments (“When do I have yoga?”). All this is private of course, visible just to you. 

10. Answers before you have to ask: If you have the Google Search app on your phone, you'll get automatic help with everyday tasks. Google can automatically show you your plane, bus, and train reservations right when you need them; warnings when traffic is bad to your next appointment; reminders of bills coming due; a best guess at the last spot you parked; and much more.

And all that is just a sample of the work we’ve done since 2004. We made more than 890 improvements to Google Search last year alone, and we’re cranking away at new features and the next generation of big bets all the time. We've come a long way in 10 years -- on Google and so many other general and specialized search apps, it's now so much better than just the 10 blue links of years past. In 2024, the Google of 2014 will seem ancient, and the Google of 2004 prehistoric. 
7
2
Hadel Ma'ayeh's profile photoArienne Holland's profile photo
 
 
Now on G+: Made with Code

#coders #developers
Things you love are Made with Code. Code your first creative project and meet music producers, fashion designers, humanitarians, and animators who are coding the world they want to see.
View original post
1
Have him in circles
7,530 people
Cindy Vriend's profile photo
mechelle rabot's profile photo
hans belleman's profile photo
shakir khan's profile photo
Fátima Luzardo dos Santos's profile photo
Brian Anderson's profile photo
yassin abohmdan's profile photo
jessica martinez's profile photo
Oliver Starr's profile photo

Steve Akins

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
Just wanted to confirm that the rumors are true -- I’m excited to be running Google’s Photos and Streams products!  It’s important to me that these changes are properly understood to be positive improvements to both our products and how they reach users.
469 comments on original post
1

Steve Akins

Shared publicly  - 
 
Founded by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that actively advances the work of independent storytellers in film and theatre.
2
1
Hadel Ma'ayeh's profile photo

Steve Akins

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
Panda update rolling out

Earlier this week, we started a slow rollout of an improved Panda algorithm, and we expect to have everything done sometime next week. 

Based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, we’ve been able to discover a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. This results in a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher, which is nice.

Depending on the locale, around 3-5% of queries are affected.
145 comments on original post
3

Steve Akins

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
So this happened.
Mashable
What I learned from spending $200 to hack into my own iCloud account.
18 comments on original post
2
 
45 years ago at 4:18pm ET, #Apollo11 landed on moon. 1st moonwalk at 10:56pm http://go.nasa.gov/1n5STCc #Apollo45 via +NASA  
9
Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 12:01 AM. The world's biggest soccer tournament is here. Whether you're watching from the comfort of your couch or packing your bags for Brazil, Google Maps is your ticket to the games. To kick off the tournament, starting today you can explore all 12 stadiums and the ...
2
1
Valentin Verdier's profile photo
People
Have him in circles
7,530 people
Cindy Vriend's profile photo
mechelle rabot's profile photo
hans belleman's profile photo
shakir khan's profile photo
Fátima Luzardo dos Santos's profile photo
Brian Anderson's profile photo
yassin abohmdan's profile photo
jessica martinez's profile photo
Oliver Starr's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Digital Marketing, SEO, Social, Developer, Entrepreneur
Employment
  • SteveAkinsSEO: Digital Marketing, SEO, Social, Developer, Entrepreneur, Struggling Poet :), Gastronome, Explorer
    present
Story
Tagline
Digital Marketing, SEO, Social, Developer, Entrepreneur, Struggling Poet :), Gastronome, Explorer
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Relationship
Married
Thanks for the great service, Desiree and Yolanda! You answered my questions and solved the problem fast and efficiently. Much appreciated.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Cannot wait to return! So very good.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
2 reviews
Map
Map
Map