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News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- On May 7, Altoros and @WalmartLabs will be hosting a mega meetup in Sunnyvale, CA, dedicated to deep learning with TensorFlow. The technology is an open-source machine intelligence library created by Google in 2015. TensorFlow uses data...


PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Paysa, the only platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver personalized career and hiring recommendations plus real-world salary insights, today announced the results of a new study, revealing the 10 worst cities and companies when it comes to undercompensating their employees (according to market value) by at least 10 percent or more. The study considered base salary, equity and bonus pay. To create this and an earlier study, revealing that more than one-third (nearly two million people) are underpaid by 10 percent or more, Paysa examined more than five million resumes of tech and engineering professionals and found that the pay gap can be significant. Considering that the average salary for a software engineer is $112,000.00, this translates into a minimum of $11,200.00, per person, per year in lost wages. Considering the total number of people underpaid by this amount, as found in the study, this translates into more than $20 billion in lost wages for employees, which these companies kept for their own profits. These lost wages represent a significant negative impact to local economies since these employees did not have this money to spend locally. In addition, per this earlier Paysa research, within the next six months, seven percent of all tech and engineering workers across the U.S. will be due for a promotion with a salary increase of $17,756.00, on average. Where do employees have the greatest likelihood of being undercompensated? According to this latest study, the top five cities are Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles and the top five companies are Accenture, Glassdoor, Pinterest, Microsoft and Dropbox. The same study also shows that women in markets across the U.S. are 45 percent likely to be undercompensated while their male counterparts are only 38 percent likely to have the same experience. Overall, the Paysa research shows that younger workers or those with only 0-2 years-of-experience are 42 percent likely to be underpaid, indicating that the more junior an employee is in terms of years-of-experience, the greater propensity they have to be taken advantage of in terms of not getting compensated according to market value. At the same time, those with 2-5 years of experience are 44 percent likely to be undercompensated and employees with 20 years or more under their belts are only 24 percent likely to be affected by a gap in pay. On the flip side, the 10 companies least likely to undercompensate their tech and engineering talent include Intuit, Amazon, WalmartLabs, MZ, Capital One, Yelp, Yahoo!, Qualcomm, Bloomberg LP and Netflix. The full study and report is now available from Paysa. Highlights from the study’s findings include the following. The 10 cities that are most likely to undercompensate their tech and engineering pros and the likelihood of them doing so are: The 10 companies that are most likely to pay their tech and engineering the worst and the likelihood of them doing so include: Employees who think they might be underpaid can benefit from Paysa’s new Get A Raise Tool, which shows them how they are currently doing, in terms of getting paid according to market value and their skills, background and education. The tool also shows employees what they could be getting, available jobs that match their unique profile and offers resources for negotiating a raise with their current employer, if that is the path they want to pursue. “The gap between actual pay and market value can be remarkable – even in top cities and at leading companies,” said Chris Bolte, CEO of Paysa. “Thankfully, the tables are now turning for tech and engineering employees across the board, giving them a level of data transparency that is long overdue in a way that was never before possible. At Paysa, we’re on a mission to make this happen with greater control for the employee.” “Our goal is to help tech and engineering employees make sure their pay reflects what they bring to the table -- not their gender or where they work, where they are originally from or where they now live,” added Bolte. “We’re excited to share this and other research to help individuals have more productive conversations with their employers around salary and pay and, in the end, get what they deserve.” About Paysa  Paysa offers personalized career and hiring recommendations plus real-world salary insights for maximizing opportunity, earning potential and value at all stages of an individual’s career. Using proprietary artificial intelligence technology and machine learning algorithms, Paysa analyzes millions of data points including jobs, resumes and compensation information, providing professionals with actionable tools, insights, and research. They can then see and understand their individual worth in the market today, and how to increase their value. Paysa also empowers enterprises with the knowledge they need to be competitive in today’s fierce tech hiring market. Employers can learn which skills, real-world company experience and educational background offers the greatest predictor of a candidate’s or employee’s future success at their organization.


Viswanath S.,University of Texas at Austin | Ravikant D.V.S.,WalmartLabs | Elber R.,University of Texas at Austin
Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics | Year: 2013

An atomically detailed potential for docking pairs of proteins is derived using mathematical programming. A refinement algorithm that builds atomically detailed models of the complex and combines coarse grained and atomic scoring is introduced. The refinement step consists of remodeling the interface side chains of the top scoring decoys from rigid docking followed by a short energy minimization. The refined models are then re-ranked using a combination of coarse grained and atomic potentials. The docking algorithm including the refinement and re-ranking, is compared favorably to other leading docking packages like ZDOCK, Cluspro, and PATCHDOCK, on the ZLAB 3.0 Benchmark and a test set of 30 novel complexes. A detailed analysis shows that coarse grained potentials perform better than atomic potentials for realistic unbound docking (where the exact structures of the individual bound proteins are unknown), probably because atomic potentials are more sensitive to local errors. Nevertheless, the atomic potential captures a different signal from the residue potential and as a result a combination of the two scores provides a significantly better prediction than each of the approaches alone. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Arpit Bajpai and Vikrant Raj were in their final year of engineering at IIT Bombay, while Arpit’s schoolmate Anurag Shukla was at SIRT Bhopal. They were all about to graduate, and their batchmates were preparing for interviews, aptitude tests and group discussions to land jobs during placements. The trio were doing the same but they had a dilemma. “Everyone eventually gets a job, but when asked what exactly their job is, then they have just one common answer- ‘we will know about it once we get into the company and start working’,” says Vikrant. The same scenario is also applicable to those who start preparing for B schools and foreign universities. “We find it pretty shocking that even such educated bright minds of our country prepare and train themselves for something which they don’t have any idea about,” says Arpit. The trio believes that career decision-making at every stage is primarily driven by personal networking and it might not always be the best option for everyone. “This premise pointed us to a clear knowledge gap and we decided to fill it. Our driving force was to create a service which we needed at different points of our careers,” says Anurag. Bloomigo came to be on this premise. Bloomigo is a data-and-design-driven intelligent platform, which helps people explore and make better career decisions by doing predictive analysis on career paths already taken by relevant people and their experiences. The company is serving information to answer three basic questions about any career associated point: 1) How to get there? 2) What happens there? 3) What will happen after it? Bloomigo launched in September with trends and insights from 100+ colleges, 800+ companies and more than 400 alumni stories. For instance, if a person is looking for a job at HP, one can raise a query on the company and a skill-set (say business development, C++, Java). Bloomigo mines data from its pool and dishes out all the information related to that position at that particular firm. “We currently have over 2,000 users on board, an average session duration of eight minutes, and an exceptionally low bounce rate of just 25.67 per cent,” says Vikrant. The product is free to use right now and Bloomigo has raised an angel round from Taj Haslani (Valley-based HR tech evangelist), Ankit Gupta (former Google employee and current principal engineer at WalmartLabs) and Ankit Srivastava (IIT-D, IIM-A, currently Roposo). The focus is on product development but for revenue, Bloomigo is looking at the hiring and e-learning spaces and monetising via providing search and discovery of personalised ‘opportunity’ and ‘means to achieve them’. Bloomigo is a product in a space which is still charting out a direction. Jombay is an Indian startup in a similar space; there have been a few efforts like PayScale in India which let users estimate salaries at various companies, and globally there is Glassdoor which is a pioneer in the space. LinkedIn ideally would be a great match for these companies but the tech biggie hasn’t made aggressive progress. The vision for Bloomigo is to create a well-informed community where the decision making is driven by organised data and structured information. “We want to map each and every probable career path on our platform and will consider ourselves successful the day when people start taking the path which will take them to their potential and desired destination,” says Vikrant.


News Article | June 10, 2013
Site: gigaom.com

Walmart, it seems, will not go gently into that good night when it comes to the company’s fight against e-commerce giant Amazon. It offered more evidence of its longevity on Monday, as WalmartLabs, the company’s division dedicated to developing new technologies for the web and mobile worlds, acquired a predictive analytics startup called Inkiru. Inkiru, which has created software for real-time predictive analytics for things like customer targeting and credit risk, seems like a fine fit with the WalmartLabs mission. On mobile devices, for example, being able to deliver deals to customers at the right time and the right place is critical. Here’s how WalmartLabs characterized the fit in a press release announcing the acquisition: “Inkiru has developed an active learning system that combines real-time predictive intelligence, big data analytics and a customizable decision engine to inform and streamline business decisions. … “Inkiru‘s predictive analytics platform will enable us to further accelerate the big data capabilities that @WalmartLabs has propelled forward at scale…including site personalization, search, fraud prevention and marketing. Walmart’s data scientists will now be able to work with big data directly and create impact faster than ever before.” Not that WalmartLabs hasn’t been focused on building a more data-driven company since its inception. The division was created after the acquisition of social media startup Kosmix — which was co-founded by big data pioneer Anand Rajaraman — in 2011. Subsequent acquisitions include OneRiot, Tasty Labs and a cloud computing startup called OneOps. All of these new capabilities around social, behavioral and mobile data are likely critical to Walmart as it attempts to keep relevant against Amazon and other e-commerce companies that have digital data in their DNA. Walmart has perfected data analysis and the big-box experience in its brick-and-mortar stores, but mastering the digital experience and even fusing that with the in-store experience takes a new set of skills that it seems determined to acquire. To hear more about what WalmartLabs is up to from a data perspective, check out this interview with Stephen O’Sullivan as he talks about how the company is building and open sourcing big data tools.


News Article | December 17, 2013
Site: www.cnet.com

Minecraft is one of the most widely used games around these days. So it was notable when the programmer who wrote it, Markus "Notch" Persson, embraced Google's Dart programming language for Web apps. "I love it," Persson tweeted in November, shortly after Google released Dart 1.0. That's music to the ears of Google developers who created Dart to rewrite the rules of Web programming and, as they see it, to overcome shortcomings of the JavaScript language at the foundation of Web apps today. To fully succeed, though, Google will have to persuade a lot of skeptics to see things the way Notch does. Google believes Dart speeds up both developers and the programs they write, but skeptics worry that it fragments Web programming and undermines the industry's focus on better JavaScript. So far, it's been a largely academic debate, but that will change in coming months. That's because Google right now is building Dart technology directly into Chrome. "The next step for us is to get the Dart virtual machine into Chrome," said Lars Bak, the leader of Google's project, adding that he hopes it'll be done within a year. "If everything pans out the way it's predicted, with a factor of two performance boost and a factor of ten in startup-time boost, I'm pretty sure the other browsers will be enticed with what we're doing." Bak is "pretty sure," but Mozilla, Apple, and Microsoft -- which make the other three of the top four browsers in use today -- don't care for Dart. When Google ships a Dart-enabled Chrome, the debate over the language will transform from dueling blog posts to live code on the Web that affects the public. Dart on the Web There are two ways Dart can make its way to the Web. Today, it can get there only with Google software called dart2js that converts a programmer's Dart software into JavaScript that any browser can run. That's not controversial, and indeed many languages including CoffeeScript, Red Hat's Ceylon, and Microsoft's TypeScript take that approach. Second -- and this is the project the Dart team is working on now -- is building the Dart virtual machine (VM) into a browser. A virtual machine is a software layer that acts like self-contained computer on its own, running instructions in its own particular language. So far Dart programs only work directly in an experimental Chrome build called Dartium, but building the Dart VM into Chrome would mean native Dart programs would have a place on the Web. That's the phase that Dart fans such as Mixbook are eager to see. That same step worries some other developers who've seen past problems when the Web was fragmented with software platforms that worked in one browser but not another. "What I find worrying is [Google's] tendency to push for in-house, works-only-on-Chrome solutions instead of trying to work with the wider web standards community," said Henri Bergius, founder of the NoFlo project and co-creator of FlowHub. In this they strongly resemble Microsoft of the bad old IE market dominance and ActiveX era." Dart has some big differences compared to ActiveX, though. For one thing, it's open-source software, which means anyone can adopt it for free and that Google is, at least in principle, open to outside contributions. And last week, Google convinced the Ecma standards group to tackle Dart, an effort that could more formally ensure that others get a say in Dart. Dart's Dash debut One advantage of JavaScript is an informality that encourages a seat-of-the-pants programming style -- you can write and go without too much advance planning. But that informality can become a drawback for big programming projects -- and sophisticated Web apps have hundreds of thousands of lines of code. Dart is geared for larger-scale projects where informality can cause problems. For example, it's got optional "typing," which essentially means that when one part of a program calls upon another, the programmer must lay out what kind of data it sends out and what kinds it expects back. That's the kind of thing that lets programming tools do a better job finding bugs early, and it's something that could make Web-app programming easier for developers coming in from native-app languages like C++ and Java. Google released Dart in testing form two years ago. Before it was publicly announced and was still called Dash, though, Dart got off to an inauspicious start by antagonizing JavaScript fans with us-vs.-them wording: "The goal of the Dash effort is ultimately to replace JavaScript as the lingua franca of Web development on the open Web platform," an early memo about it said. "Things that start out revolutionary and with a 'replace' agenda have failed repeatedly on the Web," said JavaScript founder and Mozilla Chief Technology Officer Brendan Eich. Google doesn't really intend to replace JavaScript -- indeed, such a feat would be impossible given how many sites rely on it -- but more to compete alongside JavaScript. A victory for Dart would mean a gradual shift toward Dart, though, so that new Web sites employ it and programmers use dart2js to handle browsers that only can handle JavaScript. JavaScript performance improvements have been impressive, but Bak thinks "it's harder and harder to get gains. I think if you really want to go to next level, like a factor of two, you have to go to a different technology," he said. Unlocking that performance will free programmers to tackle new classes of Web apps, he argued. Dart resistance Eich is skeptical of Google's performance claims and of the wisdom of adding a Dart virtual machine. "Most browsers have no reason to include Dart because doing so would not only be extremely difficult for engineers to accomplish in each major browser, it would also result in a quality hit," Eich said. Specifically, he pointed to problems with having two separate virtual machines, both trying to clean up computer memory through a process called garbage collection and both trying to control Web page elements through the browser's Document Object Model (DOM) interface. "Two runtimes sharing the DOM adds both bug habitat and a performance tax," Eich said. That's an objection Apple has raised, too. Luke Hoban, Microsoft's TypeScript product manager, believes that speeding up JavaScript will deliver limited returns. "In practice, JavaScript performance is not the bottleneck in real-world performance," Hoban said. More often, it's things like pre-written libraries of JavaScript code and the interaction between JavaScript and the browser pages via the DOM, he said. Dion Almaer, vice president of engineering for WalmartLabs Mobile, agrees. "I think the JavaScript engines are awesome," he said, adding that he'd like to see DOM improvements and better use of graphics-chip acceleration. The practical difficulties of Dart, including the resistance of other browser makers, means that moving to Dart "feels like a big pill to swallow," Almaer said. Microsoft's TypeScript approach Microsoft, which in recent years has re-engaged with the Web standards world and rebuilt Internet Explorer into a much more competitive browser, agrees with Google that JavaScript programming has problems. "The difference is in the approaches to how we solve that. Our belief is that we can build on JavaScript and get it to where it can scale up to large-scale application development," Hoban said. TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript: it'll run JavaScript software unchanged but adds techniques that ordinary JavaScript engines can't handle today. That means TypeScript can take advantage of "one of the most successful programming ecosystems over the last 10 years," Hoban said. "The JavaScript ecosystem is one of the strongest ecosystems around. There's an enormous set of frameworks and libraries and tools. There are millions of programmers who know JavaScript and are comfortable working with it, and it's built into the browser itself," Hoban said. "If you can build on it, you get to leverage all that goodness." Today, TypeScript also relies on a compiler that transforms the code into ordinary JavaScript. It doesn't guarantee a performance boost when that JavaScript runs, but when programmers use TypeScript's more industrial-strength approach, "that tends to be the same code that the JavaScript VMs are very good at optimizing," Hoban said. TypeScript is nice, Bak said, but ultimately too limited. "We are trying to solve a bigger problem," fast program execution and fast program startup, he said. There's only so much that computing industry companies -- Google among them -- can do to improve JavaScript through the Ecma standards group. "Whatever you do in a standards committee, it has to be backwards compatible always," Bak said. "There are things in JavaScript that are just real hard to make really fast." Microsoft is committed, though. About a dozen people are on the TypeScript team, including Anders Hejlsberg, the chief designer of Microsoft's C# programming language, and Steve Lucco, the architect and lead engineer of the Chakra virtual machine at that Internet Explorer uses to execute JavaScript. Microsoft is eating its own dogfood, as the expression goes: it's using TypeScript to power the Bing.com Web site; the Visual Studio Online programming tools, and the Xbox Music app on Windows 8.1, the Web, and the Xbox One game console. Multilingual future Bak is no JavaScript foe. He played a lead role developing V8, the engine in Chrome that executes JavaScript code and that helped push JavaScript performance industrywide to new heights. Now, though, he wants to see many languages flourish on the Web -- not just Dart and JavaScript, but something more like the panoply that you'll find elsewhere in the computing industry. "I hope we get the Web platform to a point where there are different types of technology that can be used, so there is innovation going on," Bak said. "The more the merrier."


A few decades ago discovering events was difficult and there was no unified platform to search for them. Fast forward to present, technology has made our lives easy and it is now simple for people to discover events around them and also keep up to date with the latest news and developments. But with the sheer volume of content available both online and offline, a new problem has arisen — searching for relevant events among all the clutter. EventsHigh aims to help people with this pain point. What is it? EventsHigh is an event discovery platform that aims to bring all events under one roof and help people find relevant events based on their location, interest and availability. While there are many events discovery platforms in the market, EventsHigh’s USPs include a map and list based UI, recommendations and other personalized features. In a survey they conducted, EventsHigh found that 85% of the participants generally came to know about an event after it had happened and then regretted missing it. So they aim to make event discovery easier and more seamless through their mobile and web based app.The app is functional in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and two international cities, Singapore and Jakarta. They cover over 20 categories of events some of which include events related to music, technology, comedy, and literature etc. – User Interface: While checking out events under various categories for a particular area, users can opt for either a list or a map-view based on their preference -Users can also keep themselves up to date about events happening ‘today’, ‘tomorrow’ or ‘weekend’ and ‘favourite’ or invite a friend to an event. –Custom feed: Based on the categories users chose and their likes and dislikes they can customize their feeds and see events they may be interested in. –Notifications: Users can set alerts for their interests and the app will send them a notification whenever a relevant event comes up. The event detail page on the app gives users details like venue, time, link to book tickets etc. EventsHigh was started by Nikesh Garera and Arvind Batra, who were part of the Kosmix team in the Bay Area that was later acquired and became WalmartLabs. They developed a strong background in machine learning and big data as a result. Nikesh (CEO) is an alumnus from Carnegie Mellon and Johns Hopkins where he pursued his MS and Ph.D respectively. Arvind (CTO) did his MS from Georgia Tech. Parag Sarda, a ME from Indian Institute of Science, joined them a few months ago. He leads their Android effort and brings his engineering experience from his prior work at Google and WalmartLabs to the table. While Arvind and Nikesh were working at Kosmix, they had a strong yearning to attend the Google I/O event but kept missing out on the announcements and were never able to book tickets for it. So they built a web-based crawler that would notify them when the Google I/O tickets went up for sale. This was how the idea for EventsHigh came about. They realized that there was a need for an event discovery platform and started working on it after moving back to Bangalore recently. They found that most Indian cities had thousands of events happening every week, but as all the information was scattered the onus was on the user to sift through and find what he or she needed. So they developed a product to address this pain point. EventsHigh bagged the second place at Tie Pitchfest San Francisco, first place for their Android app at Startup Launchpad and were among the top 10 startups shortlisted by TiE Bangalore for ‘AnthahPrerna’. They were also selected for the $20K bootstrap track of FBStart mobile app programme. While their mobile app is free to download and use, they have a B2C business model through which they help event organisers get the right leads and reach the right target audience for their events. They have events from over 50,000+ event organizers on their platform and about 100,000+ monthly unique visitors. What we liked? While the content, layout and overall user experience is good, what stands out is the map based UI, which gives users a bird’s eye view of events happening in their area. Users can also pinch and zoom in on events and favourite or invite their friends while still in the map mode. The notifications for various events are a boon for absent minded users. The volume of events and search filters makes event discovery simple and easy. The search bar in the app delivered desired results for different keywords as well. What could be improved? While the app makes event discovery easier, the next step could be to make it more social and let users know if their friends or contacts are attending a particular event or if they have also checked out the details about the same event. Nikesh confirmed that they are working on this and are in the process of adding other new features too. For example, in the future users will be able to see more event attributes such as whether an event is free or ticketed, kid ­friendly or not, parking available at venue etc. With an experienced team and a well-executed product, EventsHigh is a unique app and it is definitely worth trying out if you are interested in discovering and attending events in your city. What do you think about this app, do let us know in the comments. Also do check out other apps under our App Fridays and Pursuit of APPiness series.


News Article | July 29, 2014
Site: www.zdnet.com

Walmart could be on the way to honing its recommendations skills through a new purchase made by its tech R&D group, WalmartLabs. The item in the digital shopping cart is Luvocracy, a three-year-old online community for surfacing product recommendations made by the most persuasive of tastemakers: family, friends and select online influencers. Ben Galbraith, vice president of Global Products at Walmart.com, described Luvocracy in a blog post on Tuesday, highlighting trending and collection features while also suggesting throwback references to the heyday of retail catalogs. "In the retail business, we thrive on these moments — on finding products we think our customers will love and introducing them to each other," said Galbraith. "Whether in pages, pixels, or aisles, facilitating such moments is at the very core of what we at Walmart do." Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. WalmartLabs noted that "sixteen highly talented people" will be joining the new parent company. That includes some of the existing leadership at Luvocracy, such as CEO and co-founder Nathan Stoll. But Luvocracy's team page lists a few dozen developers and specialists, some of whom will not be moving over to WalmartLabs for undisclosed reasons. Some of WalmartLabs's previous acquisitions include web developer Torbit , Platform-as-a-Service startup OneOps , and product search and e-commerce outfit Adchemy. Most recently, the division marked its 13th takeover in three years with the purchase of Stylr, a location-based mobile app that allows shoppers to find clothes in nearby stores.


News Article | February 21, 2015
Site: www.economist.com

AT A recent dinner party in Silicon Valley, Schumpeter was chatting with an impressive entrepreneur who was grumbling about how hard it was to find a decent date. The tech types she meets turn out to be too geeky, even for a self-confessed nerd who runs her own computing startup. “The odds are very good,” she explained, “but many of the goods are very odd.” For recruiters trying to hire software whizzes, the odds are poor. A recovering economy in America and an explosion of entrepreneurial activity are driving up demand for tech talent. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the unemployment rate among software developers and engineers was just 2.5% in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared with a national joblessness rate of 5.7%. A global search engine for jobs, Indeed, tracks the ten hardest positions to fill; in the final three months of last year, seven of these were roles related to computer science. It is all reminiscent of the late-1990s dotcom boom. Chunky signing-on bonuses and “precations”—paid vacations before taking up a new position—are being dangled in front of tech folk to tempt them to jump ship. Bidding battles are breaking out, with salaries and bonuses rising fast for experts in popular computer languages such as Python and Ruby on Rails. Some programmers are even being wooed for their celebrity potential by talent-management agencies that also represent musicians or sports stars. Look out for the rise of the geek entourage. Although the competition for talent is particularly stiff in Silicon Valley, the phenomenon is a global one. In India, e-commerce giants such as Flipkart and Snapdeal are scrapping for software engineers to help them compete with Amazon there. One of China’s largest internet firms, Baidu, is sponsoring matchmaking events for workers because surveys have shown that married employees are less likely to hop to a rival. In a broad spread of industries, from carmaking to aerospace to domestic appliances, products have ever more lines of code embedded in them. These firms, too, are struggling to hire enough developers. Ford advertises as many jobs in software as many a midsized tech firm. As they seek to serve their customers via smartphone apps, all sorts of service businesses, from banking to retailing, need more people with software skills. If the battle for programming talent is not just being fought among the titans of tech, that is where the front line lies. To a greater extent than makers of hardware, software-based firms are dependent on the hard-to-replicate talent that walks through their doors each morning. Hence the effort they put into recruitment and retention. Tangible rewards in the form of large salaries and attractive share options are part of it. But there is more to their human-resources strategies than generous compensation and perks such as on-site yoga classes and free gourmet meals. Corny as it may sound, tech types really do want to feel they are somehow making “a dent in the universe”, to borrow a phrase from the late Steve Jobs. Grandiose mission statements abound. Google wants to “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. Facebook’s goal is to “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected”. To help foster a sense of boundless possibilities, the firms are also spending heavily on adventurous projects outside their core businesses. Google is working on everything from driverless vehicles to web-connected gadgets for the home. Facebook has bought a company whose drones can provide internet connections to remote swathes of the Earth. And Apple is said to be working on electric cars and virtual-reality headsets. Like other creative types, the best software workers strongly believe that caring means sharing. All-hands meetings are not just for tiny startups; staff at even the largest tech firms expect their bosses to appear frequently in person or by video link, to be grilled about everything from corporate strategy to the quality of the office coffee. The prospect of such radical openness makes buttoned-up executives in other industries quake in their boots. Some hotshot developers still prefer to work in a small firm rather than be just another cog in a giant tech machine. To get their hands on such talent, the big technology firms “acqui-hire” it: they spend lavishly on buying companies with little revenue, just for their staff, and then seek to retain them by offering plenty of autonomy. Last year, for example, Google paid $400m for DeepMind, an artificial-intelligence startup that has some of the best engineers in the field working for it. The web giants are increasingly aware of the need to broaden the talent pool in which they are fishing. Some are making greater efforts to attract and retain female recruits, who are still woefully underrepresented in their ranks. Apple and Facebook have said they will cover the cost of freezing the eggs of female employees who want to delay having a baby while they pursue their careers. Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has championed the causes of getting more women into executive suites and more female students on to computer-science courses. Other types of companies—even the banks—will struggle to match the Silicon Valley firms in the lavishness of their compensation and their willingness to pamper their software talent. But they can compete for it more effectively by copying some of their techniques. Insurers, for instance, could woo developers by touting their mission of making the world safer from cybercrime and other big risks. Banks and retailers could infuse their ranks with more tech talent via acqui-hires. Indeed, WalmartLabs, the Silicon Valley research arm of Walmart, which faces stiff competition from Amazon, has been busy buying small startups, some of which it has swiftly shut down while keeping the employees. The odds may be stacked against it and other non-tech firms, but the goods are worth fighting for.


News Article | May 6, 2014
Site: searchengineland.com

Adchemy made significant inroads in the product search arena in its short time, powering Google Product Listing Ads for brand name customers such as Macy’s, Overstock.com, Finish Line and Walmart. Today, @WalmartLabs, the retailer’s technology lab based in Silicon Valley, announced it is acquiring Adchemy for an undisclosed sum. Adchemy’s technology takes a semantic search approach to streamlining and scaling product campaigns and moved away from pure keyword-driven targeting. The company designed the Adchemy IntentGraph, a semantic graph containing over 25 million products, their attributes and associated consumer intents. Advertisers could then automate their product feed campaigns to be organized by consumer shopping intent. The Adchemy acquisition marks the twelfth acquisition for @WalmartLabs in the past three years. The retail giant had been late to the e-commerce game, and its initial efforts were clunky — thus the creation of @WalmartLabs three years ago. The Silicon Valley based lab is tasked with making Walmart a tech-driven e-commerce leader globally by building capabilities in-house. “We set forth to recruit, acquire and integrate the best technologies and talent in Silicon Valley,” writes Jeremy King CTO of @WalmartLabs in the announcement VP of Products, Ethan Batraski, formerly the head of search innovation at Yahoo, who has spoken on PLA optimization at SMX conferences (see one of his presentation decks here), Rohit Deep who was the VP of Engineering and was previously the Chief Architect and Engineering Lead at WebEx and data scientist Esteban Arcaute, Head of Research, who holds a PhD from Stanford and also worked at Yahoo will be among the 60 members of the Adchemy team moving over to @WalmartLabs.

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