Technology

Love and hate in google 

The story of the love affair of Google co-founder Sergey Brin and the marketing manager of Google Glass Amanda Rosenberg, as well as of his break with his wife Anna Voyzhitski, once stirred up the technology community. Recently, a huge amount of material appeared in Vanity Fair , revealing the details of this novel – it turned out that there is a deep emotional implication.Los Altos, a San Francisco suburb dotted with sequoias and apricot orchards, resembles the richest areas of Silicon Valley. There is an unimaginable set of children’s stores – and it is two steps away from the Palo Alto car dealerships with Tesla and McLaren cars. Even in restaurants there are special children’s rooms, in addition, the city has a huge children’s science center that would honor the most advanced schools and universities.

This children’s fantasy came true not accidentally: in part, this is the result of Sergey Brin and Anna Vojitski, his wife’s competent urban investments. This is the most important couple in the city – and one of the most prominent young couples in Silicon Valley. With a fortune of more than 30 billion dollars, they occupy 9th place in the list of American families who donate most of all to charity, becoming a kind of competitor to the Gates couple.

This is what outside observers say about Bryn: “Sergey is the weirdo that everyone likes, and, unlike Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, he is the one who thanks to Google all the coolest things happen. Sam Sergey says that Larry is doing hard and important work, and by the end of his life he will finally be engaged in interesting things, like Bill Gates. But Sergey cuts off all this nonsense and does cool things right now. ”

Vojitsky is a powerful woman with huge ambitions, both professionally and personally. She invests her energy in the company 23andMe, which is engaged in genetic research. Last fall, Fast Company Magazine placed it on the cover with the caption “The most daring CEO in America.”

With two children of preschool age (as a result of which, while actively involved in the children’s activities of their city, even with cameras,), the couple looked just perfect. Someone even called them “twins” – they are both the same age (40 years), both attended elite universities, both fanatically addicted to sports and yoga. Bryn likes jumping into the water, Wojitsky rides an elliptical bike to work. They both believe that they can make the world better – and both devoted themselves to this, donating $ 187 million last year.

But intimate scandals overtake even those to whom “luck spills a fabulous rain” (as they once wrote about them in The New York Times). About 10 months ago, they broke up. Bryn started dating a 26-year-old Google employee Amanda Rosenberg, who, in turn, left her boyfriend, the then top manager of the Android department, for Sergei. Rumors about this quickly spread among the rich and age-related parties of Silicon Valley. To confuse the situation even more, it is worth clarifying that Vojitski considered Amanda her friend.

Amanda Rosenberg, Diana Von Furstenberg and Sergey Brin at the fashion show
Amanda Rosenberg, Diana Von Furstenberg and Sergey Brin at the fashion show

 

Amanda Rosenberg is a stunning Englishwoman with Chinese and Jewish roots. She has an excellent sense of humor, and she often shares her emotions on social networks. Amanda studied in the same college as the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Eugene of York. At Google, she quickly moved up the career ladder, becoming the main marketer of Google Glass. At the same time, according to her colleagues, she liked to attract attention more than to work productively with her employees.

“ Glass ” is the abbreviated name for computerized glasses, which Brin began to promote last year. When the owner of the glasses says “Okay, Glass”, the device begins its work, performing most of the functions of a regular smartphone – mail, photos, social networks, calls, plus shooting video from the first person. Amanda herself came up with the catchphrase “Okay, Glass” and repeatedly flaunted her glasses at various conferences, events and fashion shows. And although her social status is incomparable with that of Bryn himself, she has become the face (young, female and beautiful) of Google Glass, which certainly attracts potential male clients.

Vojitski is now living by itself, raising children and trying to keep his business – 23andMe, to which the authorities put a spoke in the wheel . In addition, she has to deal with severe depression.

IT couple

Brin and Wojitsky crossed paths in 1998 when Bryn, a Stanford graduate, and his classmate Larry Page founded a new company in the garage owned by Anne’s sister, Susan. Susan met Brin when he met her friend. She made him pay $ 1,700 per month for a garage to cover a mortgage. Now Susan – the oldest employee of Google, she is the head of YouTube. Brin and Paige furnished the garage to their liking (they even dragged a ping-pong table). Their search engine was originally called BackRub and, unlike its competitors, ranked backlinks, not keywords, as a basis for ranking.

Bryn’s parents, Jewish immigrants from Moscow, moved to the United States when their son was 6 years old, with the help of the HIAS charitable organization (Bryn donated $ 1 million to him in 2009, and now his mother, Evgenia, works there as a director). The local scientific community took Sergey’s parents into their arms, although there was still not enough money – it instilled in his son a sense of frugality.

Amanda Rosenberg and Hugo Barra (her former lover)
Amanda Rosenberg and Hugo Barra (her former lover)

The Wojitsk family was also very friendly and also belonged to the scientific community. And she was also poor and thrifty. His father was the head of the physics department at Stanford, his mother taught journalism. Anna herself was very popular in her school, in her childhood she was engaged in figure skating, and at Yale University, where she studied biology, in hockey. After graduation, she worked for 10 years on Wall Street, which her parents were not very happy about.

Wojitsky found her spiritual ally in Brina – they were united by a modern approach to science, which implies the use of computer tools for processing huge amounts of data, instead of long and painful building hypotheses and testing them empirically.

When Bryn and Wojitsky started dating, Google not only survived the “dotcom crash”, but also began to capture the search market, earning from AdWords, the most effective advertising platform in history. Google now has 55,000 employees on a huge campus in Mountain View, California, creating the best Gmail mail system, its own Chrome browser, Google Maps navigation system, Google News news aggregator, the world’s most popular Android mobile operating system. Google has become a very powerful corporation, but in my heart has remained a startup. Despite all the efforts of major advertisers and the aggressive pursuit of innovation, Bryn and Page always adhered to the motto “Don’t be evil” and kept their search engine clean. When Google, due to random oversight, began to censor search results in China, Bryn,

Google’s corporate culture you’ve probably heard about – lack of a dress code, free food, pets at work, Pilates – was part of the creators ’plan to organize a productive workplace. When investors asked Brin and Page to hire an experienced CEO to look after them, they chose Eric Schmidt, a programmer and manager who liked to attend the famous Burning Man festival . Former “Googlers” say that the founders of the company have always strived for innovation and cared for their employees so that they could work as efficiently as possible.

Google manages to stay on top thanks to creativity – they think differently than other companies. Even when Bryn got married, he didn’t do it like the others. In 2007, he and his bride invited guests to a secret place in the Bahamas. Wojitsky didn’t particularly want to get married – on Wall Street, she constantly saw bankers cheating on their wives, but Bryn was the one she really needed. At the wedding, she put on a white swimsuit, and her fiance – black, together they sailed to the sandbanks to take the oath of allegiance, being surrounded by the ocean.

Anna Vojitski and Sergey Brin

A year later, Vojitski gave birth to her first child — just when Google’s top managers began to feel themselves the richest people in the world. Schmidt was the leader and incited his colleagues to unimaginable luxury – they even bought yachts and airplanes. Bryn, Page and Schmidt bought at least 6 planes, including Boeing 767 and 757. One of their friends claims that they have practically their own airline. Bryn also bought a house in the West Village (a rich district of Manhattan). Schmidt bought a mansion from Ellen DeGeneres for $ 20 million, an apartment in New York for $ 15 million (it filmed the film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), and also a house for $ 22 million near Hugh Hefner’s mansion .

Schmidt’s wife, Wendy, however, settled on their estate on Nantucket Island and rarely comes out. 58-year-old Schmidt sometimes appears in the society of young women, one of whom once worked at Google.

Several former employees say that Google has an informal attitude towards office romances. According to them, hundreds of people at Google meet each other. However, the company’s charter states that if such relationships create a conflict of interest, then this translates into either a personnel reshuffle or the dismissal of one of those involved.

That is, the love relationship between employees at Google resembles the love relationship between a doctor and a nurse – they are not illegal, but it is better to avoid them. IT-sphere – the world of men. Most of them are married with money, and young girls constantly revolve around them in search of profit. There is an old saying that you need to finish Stanford to get a job at Google to find a husband.

Of course, there were notable novels from representatives of the top management – to take at least the connection of Larry Page and Marissa Mayer, the current CEO of Yahoo. Employees often whispered about their connections, many believed that the closer your relationship with Marissa, the faster you can get approval for your project from Page.

Vojitsky, unlike other wives of rich husbands, did not seek to collect paintings or jewelery and was against the purchase of yachts and airplanes. Some say that she can be stubborn and restrained in praise, fervently give in to her ideas and be dismissive of others. Vojitsky really wants to live a normal life, but there is nothing normal in astronomical wealth, just like there is nothing normal in that power that allows you to change the world.

In 2006, Wojitsky founded 23andMe and soon attracted investment – including 6.5 million from Google. She hoped to attract more than a million customers who should spit into a test tube and send their saliva to the laboratory, where they will be given a genetic analysis for only $ 99. The company’s mission is to give a person as much information as possible about his health and heredity – on the basis that everyone has the right to know about it. But not everyone gets the good news – someone has to learn about the high risk of getting cancer, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Some doctors believe that it is rather dangerous to tell people about it – it can affect their psyche, especially without the supervision of a specialist.

Vojitsky, as it turned out, had a deep personal relationship to his business. Brina’s cousin suffered from Parkinson’s, and his mother diagnosed the same in 1999. For a long time, Parkinson was considered a non-hereditary disease, but since 2004, researchers began to assume that people with a particular gene mutation (very common among Ashkenazi Jews) have a 30-70% chance of getting sick. When Wojitski checked Bryn, it turned out that he had such a mutation. Thus, Bryn still had about 10 years to enjoy life to the fullest.

From such news, many of us would have curled up and wept, but Bryn steadfastly endured. Unlike Steve Jobs, who did not like to spread rumors about his health, Bryn started a blog and even spoke about his problems at the 2008 Google conference. Sergei began to engage in physical exercise, drink a lot of coffee – some doctors advise him to those who have a tendency to similar diseases – even though the taste seemed disgusting to him (then he switched to green tea). As he said in an interview, there was hope that such procedures would help him reduce the likelihood of the disease by 50 percent – and then another 50 if research in this area progresses.

In addition, Wojitski and Bryn had funds to support such research — in total, they donated more than $ 157 million.

New life

In the years after receiving the test results, Brin turned his attention to Google. Like many other leaders in Silicon Valley, he was bored with everyday problems, and he began to think about bigger things, those that are beyond the ordinary – about space flights or robots that will become our friends. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen invested in the technology of launching rockets, Tesla founder Elon Musk invented Hyperloop, and Bryn, in turn, working in a company with the country’s best engineers, put energy into the secret Google X lab.

In 2012, to announce Google Glass, Bryn hired a team of skydivers, who jumped with him from a blimp flying over San Francisco. After that, the media compared it with Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr. (in fact, the film’s director admitted that the image was partially written off from Elon Musk ). The glasses were the first big Google X project. Now Brin can switch to self-propelled cars, the first versions of which are already dissecting across San Francisco.

The first version of Google Glass – heavy, wrapped with wires, requiring additional blocks that the user hooked onto his belt – was not very attractive, but managed to be turned into something much more suitable for use. But they were still perceived as a device for “nerds”. Bryn and Wojitsky turned to the famous designer Diane von Fürstenberg with an idea – perhaps she would agree to help. She liked it – when the models put the Glass on during a fashion show, it gave the collection a tinge of workability, and the glasses began to be perceived more glamorously.

Before the event, the Google Glass team, including Amanda Rosenberg, came to New York to work with von Furstenberg. Bryn and Wojitsky organized a party at their home in the West Village, and also helped the designers to choose the right color for all outfits. On the day of the event, Rosenberg and Brin were photographed for the press with von Furstenberg.

While Glass blew up the media, Vojitsky and Bryn had a little discord in their relationship – as family friends say, “Anna is a beautiful woman, but it can be difficult with her.” When Wojitsky discovered the gene with which theoretically it is possible to save Bryn, she immediately patented it – this is considered not very ethical in the medical community, although not prohibited.

Wojitsky still wanted a normal life – to be a faithful mother and take care of the family. But Bryn was the founder of the largest technology corporation, a cool and interesting person, after all, a star – he clearly did not like to spend time at work on all sorts of cool things, and then come home and change diapers.

Vojitski started to help Bryn with Google Glass a bit. Rosenberg wanted her mother to use the device too, so she once came to Wojitsky’s house to discuss the possibility of cooperation with children’s centers. At that time, Rosenberg met with Hugo Barroy, one of the ambitious leaders of the Android division. A native of Brazil who studied at MIT, he was the face of their new Nexus 7 mini-tablet, and colleagues spoke of him as a gifted and creative product manager. Rosenberg published joint videos and was very proud of their relationship. During the New Year’s holidays 2012-2013, Vojitsky and Rosenberg became so close that Anna even bought her a Christmas present. They went together for a birthday to Russian investor Yuri Milner- they were joined by Bryn, Barra, the Wojitsk parents and Bryn. Rosenberg smoked cigarettes – Barre did not like it, and Vojitski explained to her in detail everything about the dangers of smoking.

Around the same time, Wojitsky accidentally stumbled upon a correspondence between Brin and Rosenberg and began to worry — she shared her concerns with Rosenberg herself. A few months later, Bryn moved out of their estate in Los Altos to another house nearby. Wojitsky and Bryn continued to maintain warm relations.

It is not known what a storm of emotions Vojitsky survived, but she, apparently, coped. However, something strange was happening – Rosenberg did not part with Barra and continued to meet with two of them at the same time. According to rumors, Page and Schmidt knew this very well.

At the same time, Barra was planning to move with Amanda abroad. He was offered a job in a Chinese phone manufacturer, Xiaomi. Despite the fact that Google was ready to pay him as much as he wanted, Barra seriously considered the proposal. Still not aware of Amanda’s relationship with her superiors, he discussed with her the possibility of moving to Hong Kong. However, in May, she invited him to leave (without mentioning the reasons).

A few months later, Bryn and Wojitsky began to think about how to inform the press about their breakup. This secret created many uncomfortable situations. Bryn wanted to publicly announce a divorce before the Burning Man festival, which takes place in August in order to be able to go there with Rosenberg.

Toward the end of August, Rosenberg removed from her social networks many photographs, including those in which she was captured with Barra. The news about Wojitsky and Brin appeared on August 28, and quickly she was overwhelmed with rumors about an affair with Amanda. Larry Page was very upset and for some time didn’t even talk to Sergey – this situation, especially covered in the press, did not quite correspond to his moral principles. Brin and Rosenberg continued to work together on Google X. Some employees (and, moreover, employees) were furious by this fact.

Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin - Google executives
Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin – Google executives

On the same day, August 28, Google officially announced the departure of Hugo Barra to Xiaomi – earlier than he had planned. Too many coincidences – the news sites just buzzed about the relationship between Brin and Rosenberg.

Hugo was advised not to speak publicly about his dismissal, leaving the press an opportunity to suggest that he could be asked to leave the company. In China, for their top managers, their image is very important, and on one day Barra’s value dropped by almost half. The Chinese wanted to attract a talented and promising guy from Google, but it turned out that they could have been expelled from there for personal reasons (however, these rumors did not last long, and Barra, on the contrary, increased his social capital through all these discussions). During all this, Wojitsk with her friends flew to Fiji to practice yoga and to recover a little.

Bryn looks quite happy – he likes the newfound freedom, but at the same time he likes to spend time with his wife and children. Together they visited Marissa Meyer’s Halloween party, which Rosenberg didn’t like very much – they had wild quarrels, but this is part of the passion, the chemistry of love.

A couple of months ago it was difficult times for Rosenberg. She herself wrote in her blog that she suffered from clinical depression. Amanda says that she looks normal in public, but actually suffers deep inside (though she is not ashamed of it). Rosenberg is treated with drugs. Barra, by the way, recently made a sweet gesture and rewrote Amanda’s story about her depression to her page.

In Silicon Valley, the story of this love rectangle was perceived differently. For some techno billionaire wives, this is a reason to support a member of the crowd and say that they will not tolerate the same attitude. For others, this is a parable about corporate culture allowing office romance. And still others see it as a warning about how carefully one should handle information about someone’s mortality. If Bryn had not learned about his potential health problems, he would not have survived an emotional crisis and would not distance himself from his wife (on the other hand, without knowing about it, he would not be able to start a healthy lifestyle in order to at least try to save himself ).

Rosenberg continues to work in Google X. Bryn – too, reflecting on new projects like Internet balloons and cheap energy sources. He now sits on a Paleolithic diet, based on a presumptive diet of primitive people.

Vojitsky, according to conversations, tolerates a good break with her husband, although she faced enormous difficulties in her company – last year the federal drug supervision commission forbade them to carry out part of the operations, forcing the company to stop providing research transcripts to clients.

Judging by the stories of her friends, she does not want to divorce. Despite the marriage contract, she has enough money to move on, and she does not want to spend time in litigation. And she still has a patent that, in theory, could save Bryn’s life.

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