In my last post, I offered a detailed reflection of my last five years in Academia at Cornell University. In this second part of that two-part tale, I’ll explain what the next chapter in my life is going to look like.
Joining the Team that’s Building the Future
Yes, you read that title correctly. In one week I’ll be moving from New York City to San Francisco to start a full time position at Google [x] in Mountain View, CA. For the uninitiated, Google [x] is essentially Google’s secret hardware lab, where they build things like self-driving cars, flying internet hotspots, and Google Glass (the product that I’ll be working on). Google Glass is an augmented reality, wearable tech device that floats seamlessly in your field of vision and keeps you connected to what you care about. You can’t truly understand how amazing Google Glass is until you wear it, but you can watch the following video to get a pretty good idea:
Google Glass is a product of Google [x], a division of Google run by co-founder Sergey Brin that focuses on moonshot thinking – essentially trying to do the impossible. I’m honored and humbled to be joining such an amazing team of inventors, engineers, and designers. Frankly, it’s a little intimidating to join such a stellar group of people – but I’m really looking forward to everything I’ll be able to learn and contribute. This video does a good job of outlining the vision of Google [x]:
Don’t bother asking me specifics about Glass once I start working there – I will not be able to share any info about what I am working on until it is publicly announced by Google.
Moving out West
I am madly in love with New York City. Both of my parents are from New York, much of my extended family lives here, and I have hundreds of friends in New York City. I’m a total snob when it comes to New York Pizza and Bagels – I apologize in advance to all my friends in San Francisco who I’ll be complaining to about the horrible pizza. I’ve built an amazing network in New York, and there is no doubt that moving was a tough decision. But, I also love San Francisco (having visited several times in the last few years), and the opportunity to join Google [x] is simply one that I could not turn down. I have plenty of friends out west, and I’m excited to immerse myself in the Silicon Valley community. It’s going to be very different from New York, but it’s going to be awesome. There’s room in my heart to love two cities :)
I’ll be living in San Francisco and commuting to Google’s Mountain View Headquarters each day. Thankfully, Google offers an awesome, wifi-equipped free shuttle to take me to and from work. I’m using PODs to ship all my stuff out west (3D printers, my desktop computer, lots of electronics, clothes, etc). The day before the POD was set to be picked up, I had a revelation that it would be cool to build a a GPS tracker and transmitter to update a map in real time as my stuff makes its way to San Francisco. Utilizing a GPS and GPRS radio module from the awesome folks at Cooking-Hacks.com (one of the sponsors of my Arduino Tutorials), I assembled the tracker in a few hours and installed it in the POD. I used the battery that I used to power my “Control-my-Cap” project, and I taped the tracker onto the POD’s ceiling beam. Using the Twilio and Google Maps APIs, I built an auto-updating map. Since I hastily built the system in about 3 hours, I’m almost certain that it will fail before it makes it to San Francisco – I simply didn’t have enough time to make it robust and error-proof. At the time of this writing, the POD has not broadcasted an update in over a day – I believe that this is because it is currently inside a PODs storage facility where it cannot get a GPS lock (some quick research revealed that the last broadcast came from a location a few blocks away from a PODs storage facility). I’m hoping it will resume transmitting when it leaves this facility, but I won’t know until sometime this week.
If and when it starts transmitting again, the unit will capture its GPS location and speed once every 10 minutes and send it to my twilio development SMS number in a text message. Twilio then passes this info to a PHP script on my server which parses the data and saves it to a text file. Then, I use the google maps API to display a map with all the posting locations. The most recent marker bounces up and down.
You can track the pod at: http://pod.jeremyblum.com [UPDATE: I’ve decided to lock the page until the journey is complete – there are potential security concerns with broadcasting the exact location of all my stuff]. Again, I threw this together very hastily and would be surprised if it continued to work all the way across the country.
What about all my Other Stuff?
It’s no secret that I’ve got lots of things keeping me busy. Obviously, once I start my full-time position at Google, that will be my number-one priority. Blum Idea Labs operates nearly autonomously and will continue to exist as the platform that powers my educational engineering content. If time allows, I’ll continue to post tutorials, but I can’t make any promises with respect to their frequency. But, I’ll always have weekend projects, so I’m sure you’ll continue to see lots of updates from me on my independent work! I will continue to market my book in my off-hours, and I’ll be attending the Open Hardware Summit in September at MIT.
I will continue to sit on the Board of Directors for my present startup, SUNN, but am stepping down from my role as CTO. I accepted this position at Google many months ago, so we’ve had ample time to build an amazing team that will continue to operate fine without me. Thankfully, we finished the majority of our technical development this summer anyways, so the majority of the remaining work is licensing our technology and getting it on the market! I’ll post more updates about SUNN as we are able to make them public. Again, my position at Google will be my top priority, and any guidance I provide for SUNN will occur strictly during my personal time, and with my personal resources.
Wish me Luck!
I’m looking forward to sharing my new San Francisco adventures with all of you. Stay tuned for updates on the move, source code for the POD tracker (if it actually works as planed), and lots of obligatory photos of me posing with various West-Coast landmarks. If you’re based in San Francisco or the Bay Area, ping me on Twitter!
Congrats Jeremy, You have a great future there…Lets not forget your readers.
Maybe this is really an anthropology experiment. Follow a young kid from NYC to SF while he is educated, gets a real job, and survives on his own. Can’t wait for the movie!
In other news, I’ll be selling a couple 3D printers and a bunch of electronics as soon as the map comes back online. All I have to do is assemble my hijacking team….
Congrats on the job! Can’t wait to see and hear what you’re allowed to talk about ;-)
That’s actually kinda a good point. I’ve decided to password protect the map until the journey is complete. I’ll unlock it (and probably obscure the start and end points) once it all arrives in San Francisco Safely. I’ll put up another post if the GPS tracking actually works.
D’awww, I ruined the party.
But seriously, probably a good idea. I mean…3D printers.
Regardless, I think the truck is moving again by now, but I’m not seeing any updates, so I suspect my tracker is dead.
Wow Google Glass hardware team! That is an awesome job!!
Hey Jermey. well done. i’ve been following u on ur site and blogs for while. you will be the next steve jobs and change the world.
Did you apply or did Google X contact you for the position?
It’s complicated. I’m not sure how much I can explain about the recruiting process.
Wow dude just wow, Congrats!
I would guess that getting a signal in and out of that steel POD would be hard/impossible unless you pierced the shell and exposed some kind of antenna. I love your concept though.
Congrats on the new job!
The top of the pod is not metal – it’s a plastic material. I tested and confirmed that I could transmit through it.
Wow,Google X!That’s such a future maker team,congratulations!I love your arduino tutorial,I can tell that even a chinese like me living in china is inspiring form it,It’s such a pity to heard that you can’t not update that frequency >_<.Anyway good luck for you in the new job in google!
Welcome to Silicon Valley. We could open a MakerBot alumni club branch. Good luck at Google. I’m in Redwood City at ISC.org.
I’m down – we’ll have to meet up!
great, Congratulations Jeremy, and don’t forget your followers.
You’re a very gifted and very fortunate young man – I wish you well…
Personally I don’t ‘get’ Google Glass, but that’s probably because I’m now in my 60s and have enough trouble normally in focussing on what’s in front of me – to have a frame in vision as well would probably addle my remainging grey cells.
I like the (X) vision though, there’s been a bit of a drought since JFK’s “we will…” thinking.
Best of luck
Congratulations and good luck. I think you’re going to like both SF and Google but I’m biased since I was born in San Francisco!
congrats jeremy. as i said b4 u r my celebrety ,all the best
Congrats on the new position. Can’t wait to read your book.
Congratulations! I live in Brooklyn now but am a Cal graduate and lived in SF for 20 years — you are going to love it there — not quite the big city that NYC is but it has the option to find peace and serenity near any time — and google has awesome lunches
Jeremy, we are SO SO SO thrilled for you! The google team is going to get such a dynamic engineer and vibrant innovator. We hope they take advantage of what inspires you and lets you go to town!
Congratulations Jeremy and All the best.
for the past two years after I saw some of your Arduino vids, if wonder where you’d end up after college.
after the nerf gun with sensor I was like ‘oh… secret new military stuff”
Well Google x seems like a perfect fit man, the $ and training to really go crazy. great stuff, congrats
Congratulations Man, I just moved back to Boston from Cupertino where I was working for Amazon Kindle.
Silicon Valley is great and there are some awesome people there. Google is also very awesome. I have a few friends there and they absolutely love it.
Your videos have been a great help and inspiration for my own side project.
From one East Coaster to Another who’s live on the “Left” Coast – Good luck!
Congrats Jeremy. My son and I have been following your youtube tutorials for sometime. As far as New York food is concerned. Bagels and Pizza are the ONLY things that are a little better. SF is known for its Chinese, Italian and French. You’ll never have a crab like the ones on the pier. and SF sourdough is legendary. For a decent bagel, Holey Bagel in the Noe is about as good as it’s gonna get. Pizza is gonna be tough but I took my Brooklyn brawlin buddies to Village Pizzeria on Van Ness and they didn’t squak more than usual :)
anyways, continued success in all you do :)
Thanks for the tips!
Congrats Jeremy. I and my students are new followers of you and your arduino videos on youtube :) When I first watched your videos, I felt somehow that you are going to be a star in oneday. Now I am happy to see you in google team. Never give up, the luck and success will be with you as long as you work hard.
Thank you, Yener!
If you don’t mind as Google-X Labs are secret do you mind telling how many people are part of this ?
Also is Andy Rubin now a part of this team building on Self-driving cars?
Hey! Jeremy congrats on your selection to google glass team…
But i have 1 doubt, was it difficult for you to leave your startup and instead go for some other company!!!
Joining Google was a complicated decision, but I continue to sit on the board of Sunn, and I still have time to continue doing side projects, like maintaining my Blog!
wow, jeremy its boon of google to have you in glassx,
I wish you all the success in your life,
please keep updating your blog,
THE BIGGEST FAN OF JB FROM INDIA,
What I do not like Google Glass is that people know that you are using, it is visible, people perceive you, and you pedempara get him, the ideal is that it was imperceptible, like a regular glasses, with several frames.
i wish you all the best and hope you excel in your work and activities and will make maithanis proud
Attending such seminars and events is really cool. I was also able to gain very deep insights into the domain of ethical hacking from such seminars.