Importance of Natural Resources

Women Techmakers Mountain View Summit 2017: Keynote


[MUSIC PLAYING] [APPLAUSE] MARION CROAK: Hi,
and thank you for that wonderful introduction. She forgot to mention
I have a cold. [LAUGHS] So if I start coughing,
I’ll just get some water. But I’d like to welcome all of
you here today to the summit, and I wish you could be standing
here with me on stage to see how beautiful you all look. I’ve been in tech for
over 35 years now. I have someone that I
mentor and she said, you’ve been in tech longer
than I’ve been alive. I think that was a compliment. But as I’ve spanned
this long career, I’ve watched the rate of
women entering and staying in the field rise and fall. And when I look at you all
today and I think about the fact that there is a growing
number of universities that are beginning to report that the
percentage of computer science majors and engineers
are almost 50% now at a female ratio
to men, it gives me a tremendous sense of
optimism that we’re reaching some type of inflection
curve, and moving away from what, as you probably
know, has been a downward trend. So again, I’m so happy
that you’re here. It’s a Saturday. It means a lot to us that
you joined the summit. I want to share with you a
lot from my professional life, but I’m going to
begin by telling you a little bit about my
childhood and my early youth. And I’m going to leave
a lot out because I have to protect the innocent,
as well as the dead. But I will let you know that I
did grow up in New York City, so I’m a lot tougher than
I actually look and sound. And when I was a child something
would break in our house my mother, who was
a brilliant woman, would inevitably call my father. And my father would
fumble around a bit and then inevitably he
would call a repair person. And it was a thrill of my
youth for these repair people, and they were inevitably
men, these plumbers and electricians to come into
our house and to fix things. And I was just
enamored with them. I would follow them around. I loved their smell. I loved to watch how they
were tinkering with things and listening to the
sound of the water going through the pipes. And I would really watch
them and pepper them with questions I’m
sure I was annoying, but they seemed to indulge me. And that sense of wanting to
be the one who could actually fix something that
was broken like I wanted my mother to call me. That has stayed
with me all my life and it has served me very well. And I just remember it
many, many times as things start breaking and I’m
being called to fix them. But that started
when I was younger and I remember being
a young mother. And I would come home and
my children would greet me and then within five
minutes it would be mom, the printer’s broken. The PC doesn’t work. And it would be my evening
is trying to bring that back to being, to life. And it was like, oh my god. What have I wished for? Even now they’re in their early
20s and I still get the calls, the microwave’s not working. And it’s like, OK. We’ll fix it. Don’t worry. But I had a
fascinating childhood. It was a bit unconventional
and maybe one day when we meet each other
in some other place I’ll tell you all about it. But when I became
ready for school, I started going to
Catholic schools. And I stayed in
a Catholic school until I was in 10th
grade, and then I had this burning desire to
join our local public school. And that’s because probably
that’s where all the boys were. But nevertheless, I can
remember to this day my father had to register me. And the school was about
15 minutes from our house. And with each and
every step we took, he would reassure me
that I was completely throwing my life away. And it was amazing to me that in
this kind of broken down place of a school I met the most
stimulating teachers who really had the expertise to bring
out the passion in students for math and science. So I thrived in
that environment. And my father was
so relieved that he built me my own chemistry set. And he would turn
his head when some of the experiments I would do
would go awry, and explode, and start fires. And it would be like, it’s OK. It’s OK. And he was just a
wonderful inspiration to me and very helpful. So from that school I went on
to Princeton, and then USC, and I finally got my
doctorate in what was then called Quantitative Analysis. I believe today it’s
called data science. As well as social psychology. And the combination of those
two have served me very well in my career. So I finished my graduate
studies on a Friday and I started working at Bell
Labs as a Systems Engineer the following Monday. And that was in 1982, and
I haven’t stopped yet. [APPLAUSE] Before I tell you about some of
my professional career stories, I want to let you know that I
have three lovely young adult children. And they have brought
immense balance to my life. And most times joy. Not always, but
they’ve also been the ones that have contributed
to some of the conflicting emotions I’ve experienced
throughout my career, especially when
they were younger, about being in a
demanding profession. It was hard. And at the same time they
were my primary motivators for staying because they
were very interested in, or maybe I made them
interested, in technology. And also just in corporate life. The people that I worked
with became the people that they thought
of as my friends. And they would ask
me, how’s Magda, how Shaker, how is this person? Because I was always talking
to them on the phone and they would be in the car
with me and whatever. But it was very inspiring to
hear them ask questions, begin to want to invent things. And I guess even
more significant than that I have not quite
reached one of my major goals in life concerning my children,
which is to completely get them off my payroll. [LAUGHTER] That has not happened yet,
so I continue to work. But I have tried very
hard throughout my career to make them believe
and feel, and it’s been true, that they are
the center of my life. So I can compartmentalize a lot. So sometimes I do focus
very strongly on work, but I’ve tried to
make them understand that there’s a priority. So when I get a
phone call from them, I will walk out of a meeting. I learned that from my father
who worked very long hours, and yet he always
made my sisters and I feel like we were
the center of his life. And that helped a lot. And then I also had
a department head at Bell Labs, my first one,
who also taught me that skill and how to do that. His name was Randy. And I remember when I
first joined the labs. Within a few months he took
me to a meeting with him and it was with other
senior executives. And he was going to give
a talk at 3 o’clock. And the meeting went on
and it became 3:15, 3:30. And then he turned over to
me and whispered and he said, I’m going to leave. And so I got up to follow him
and he said, no, you sit here. And he handed me as charts. And he said, you’re
going to give the talk. So my heart was thumping. And I finally, I think
around 4:30, gave the talk and I survived. And the next day I saw
him and it went fine. It was fine. But I was very, very nervous
and stressed about it. And I saw him the next day
and I said, why did you leave? What happened? And he said, I had to go
to my son’s baseball game. And this was before I was
married, before I had children, and it was like, what? And he could see the
puzzlement in my face, and he said, Marion,
don’t ever, ever, ever work for a company
that’s going to make you choose between your
career and your family. [APPLAUSE] And that song and those
words and that whole scenario has stayed with me all my life. And it’s really
helped and sometimes you really do have
to make a decision, and you always hope that
you err on the right side. But that experience and his
coaching helped me a lot. And it was maybe 10 years later
where it really came into play and I finally understood
what he meant. Because it seemed ridiculous
to me at the time. Baseball game? I couldn’t get it. But anyway, soon after
I joined Bell Labs, I was asked to start working
on messaging applications, and to try to understand
whether or not the messaging applications
that we had deployed were actually compatible
with each other and could interoperate,
or whether or not they were on proprietary protocols. And if they were, then to
come up with a protocol so that they could
communicate with each other. And this was at the
time when we were just beginning to grow a certain
market segment where we would sell into different
organizations of a single
multinational company. And so it was very
important for there to be compatibility among the
products that we were selling. So I did the investigation
and found out that there was very
little compatibility. And so with a team I
created a protocol, and then Randy went
about setting up a meeting with all the
product managers who own these messaging
applications, as well as their
senior executives, so we could reveal
the findings and then have them deploy new products
with this common protocol. So from my point of view,
that meeting was a disaster. It was in a very small room. Maybe as big as this
stage to where I am. And there were maybe, I don’t
know, 10 senior executives. So the room was way too
small for all of us. And then there were
product managers. And then it was at the
time when it was all men. And everyone had on a suit. A buttoned down suit,
very formal looking. And there was a
transparency machine. I don’t even know if half
of you know what that was. But it got so hot in that room. And so I was the one that was
presenting the findings to them and telling them
about their products. And as I went on, it
was very clear to me that the product managers
were getting extremely agitated and embarrassed. And they expressed
that embarrassment by relentlessly questioning
me, being very suspicious about my findings. Some of them and then
others would say, well, you know, that’s
in our roadmap already. We knew about it. This is nothing new. But their senior
executives were very quiet and all their eyes were on
me listening very carefully to what I was saying,
and they were not happy. Not with me, but with the people
who had developed the products. So I just felt mortified
in that meeting because they were so attacking,
and they had so much animosity, and they didn’t
know how to express their embarrassment
appropriately, so they took it out on me. So in the end, the meeting
ended and they said, if we do have this problem,
we will adopt a protocol. So Randy and I left and
we walked down the hallway and I was furious
at Randy because I felt like he had set me up. And I had no idea
that they would react the way they reacted. And I was like, why
did you do that? Now I probably won’t even have
a job in a week after this. And out of the
corner of my eye I could see our senior vice
president walking towards us. He was a very tall,
dignified-looking man, and he would walk
like a general. Like very ramrod straight. And he was marching towards us. And it was like,
OK, here it comes. And he looked at me
and he said, Marion, I am so glad that you are here. And he said, that was
a terrific meeting. And it shocked me. And yet at the same time
it also empowered me. Because I felt like, OK,
something can feel really bad, but you’re actually
doing the right thing. And if you see a company
starting to veer off course and you could have
help correct it, that’s going to be appreciated. And again, that has stayed
with me throughout my career. It really helped that he
took the time to do that and he must have realized
how I felt. But to give me that sense of
encouragement has really, I think, helped me tremendously
throughout my career, and made people think,
oh no, here she comes. Because I’ve been
kind of a chief troublemaker from
that moment on. Soon after that experience
I started working on data services and networking. And that was when 99% of
my colleagues at Bell Labs worked on voice communications
and what was called the Core Network at the time. Which was a network
that was designed to carry voice traffic because
that’s how people communicated. We picked up the phone
and called each other. And so there was relatively
little data traffic going over that network, but
it was an aging infrastructure. And the technology
had to be replaced, and a decision had
been made that it was going to be replaced
by a protocol that was called ATM and the existing
technologies that supported it. And ATM was a
proprietary protocol. And it was expensive, but
it was highly resilient and had a high quality of
service associated with it. So at the time it seemed
like it was the right choice. Now, I was on this
team beginning to explore data services and
we became very interested in this relatively
new technology in terms of its
commercialization called IP. And that was the
Internet Protocol. And as we started to
study it and explore it, it became clear to
us that the internet was going to win the day. It was open. It was flexible. It was multimedia. It was very rich. It was easy to implement. And there was a
growing ecosystem that was developing around it. So we did a lot of exploration. We did a lot of prototyping,
and a lot of invention to make it resilient. Because in all honesty, it
wasn’t a resilient protocol. And we finally
convinced ourselves that it could be made to carry
mission critical information. So we had to convince
the senior executives to turn from what they had
been looking at in terms of ATM and reconsider and think
about the internet. And so we found some
allies in high places. And through a lot of
blood, sweat, and tears, finally convinced the
senior executives at AT&T to reinvest their multi-billion
dollars from ATM technology to the internet. It was a big, big bet. And it was at this time that
I realized that I really had to change my ways. Because I was a big denial. I was a big person– a denier, I should say– where the way that I got through
life was by defense mechanisms are useful. And they serve their purpose. You just can’t use them too
much because then you get into some type of pathology. But if you use them
to serve your purpose, they can be very helpful. So my favorite defense
mechanism was denial. And that just simply meant
that I stayed optimistic, and I looked for
the best in things, and I was always optimistic
that things would turn out well. But I realized at the
time that that was not going to serve me well
in this situation. Because the truth be
told, the internet was not quite ready to
accept all the traffic. And AT&T at the
time was pretty much the dominant carrier, at least
nationwide, and to some extent in the Western world. So I knew that the internet
was not quite capable enough, so what we had to
do once we convinced these executives that the
internet was the way to go, was face the brutal fact
that it wasn’t quite ready. So what we did is decided
to merge the two teams that had been vehemently opposed
to each other, the IP team and the Voice
Networking team, and put them into
one organization. And I would lead
that organization. And that was like a nightmare. These teams who are really
quite different from each other. The IP team was
very fast to market. Would prototype a lot,
and iterate, iterate, iterate, and do very
quick deployments. Work with friendly
customers who were ready to try out
leading edge technology, were willing to accept
things that had bugs in them. And if something worked
once, just put it out, right? And so they were a great team. Very fast and fun to work with. The Core Networking
team, on the other hand, were very methodical. Very careful. Tested things
endlessly, making sure that things had almost
five nines of reliability before they would ever
be released to the field. Very, very slow
in their approach, but very good as well. So these were the two
teams that we had to merge. So we finally, after about two
years of finding the strongest people, finding out who
wanted to collaborate and who just dug in their heels,
and stayed where they were, and were unwilling to change. After we got called that
team, so we had the strongest members, they
became a dream team. But it took a couple of
years for that to happen. They were truly a dream team. Even when I think back
now across my career that was my favorite time. Not the two years to get them
there, but after that period. And I realized that we all
had to go through that process where we had to hold
these conflicting notions at the same time
that, yes, internet was going to win the day and it
was the right thing to do to put all the
investment there. But at the same time
it wasn’t ready, and it wasn’t really resilient,
and it was going to crash, and we just could
ruin the brand. So we had to hold those two
facts or those suite of facts together at the same time. So believe me, we worked
really, really hard and we did a lot of invention. And we finally got it to work. And we finally got it
to work very well, so that the services
that we put out, and we were one of
the first carriers to actually put out IP services,
and they were up to four, sometimes even five
nines of reliability. So it was something that I
feel very pleased with in terms of what the team was
able to do and what they were able to do so quickly. And all the inventions
that came out of that. And I was very happy
that towards the end of my career I’d say about
95% of AT&T’s traffic was going over an IP network. I didn’t think it would
ever take that long, but it did, and so
I was very happy. I should also mention to you,
you can look more information up about this, but holding
those two contradictory set of perceptions is a
very well-known paradox, and it’s called the
Stockdale paradox. And it came about
through a person that had been a survivor in
Vietnam for a very long time, and he was able to do that. And they studied
survivors, and that’s where that paradox came from. So you can look it
up and study it. But very quickly, after
I was able to complete what I think my mission was
at AT&T, I joined Google. And that was about
2 and 1/2 years ago, and I think I have one of the
most amazing jobs in the world, and that’s to bring internet
access to the emerging markets. And as you can
see by this chart, if you look at the
blue bars, those represent the emerging markets. And there’s been
exponential growth in those markets in terms of
the amount of connectivity that people have. 95% percent of the world,
or 7 billion people, now live within range
of a cellular network. So that’s pretty amazing. And the people that live in
these markets are very vibrant. They’re young. 45% are under the age of 25. They’re becoming
increasingly urbanized. 90% of the population
growth that’s predicted to occur in India
will happen in the cities. And that’s a very
important trend because people
that live in cities are three times as likely
to use smartphones as people that live in rural areas. And so, as you know from what
happened in the United States, when you’re using a
smart phone, you’re going to demand
broadband access. You need broadband
access to really use the full capabilities
of a smartphone. These people are also living in
an immense amount of poverty, but beginning to
have an increasing amount of disposable income. So smartphone
penetration is predicted to be 60% in the next two
to three years growth. 60% of growth of the smartphones
in the emerging markets. So there’s still a huge problem
though that needs to be solved. Despite all the good news and
the amount of connectivity, there is a huge gap between
the amount of connectivity that exists and the
number of people that can use the internet. Over 50% of the world has
never used the internet. Never. And even though each region
has its own issues around why they’re not using the
internet, especially if you look at the
red and the green, they have some things in common. One is that typically they have
very low spec phones with very limited memory and storage. Very unstable power sources. Very expensive data plans. Networks that are
congested and unreliable. And then finally, sometimes
the content on the internet is just not relevant
for these populations. If you look at Wikipedia,
for example, one fourth of the content in Wikipedia
is available to Hindi speakers as to English speakers,
even though Hindi is the fourth most spoken
language in the world. So Google, along with many
of the companies that you come from, is working very,
very hard to fix these problems. And it’s magical thinking
to believe that there’s only one technical
solution that can address the immense amount of
population densities and geographical terrains
that exist within the emerging markets. So we’re looking very strongly
to partner with as many people and as many governments
as possible to bring a range of technologies
and business models to address the problem of
internet disparity that exists within the world. And I welcome all of you
to join us in this journey. So I want to thank you again
for coming on this Saturday. It’s a pleasure to
see you and I hope I get a chance to talk to
each and every one of you later today. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING]


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