Inside Google Zürich: Innovation and Ideas for Business and Brands

googlenetworkingDo you think you know Google? If you think it is all about search, maps, Gmail, Android, and AdWords, you would be right, but INSEAD Alumni learned in October that Google has a greater mix of services that can be tapped by businesses and brands, some that are available for free and some for-a-fee.[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]The sold-out networking event in Zürich featured three speakers from Google[/pullquote]

The sold-out INSEAD Alumni Association Switzerland networking event in Zürich, organized by Matthias Frieden (MBA05), featured three speakers from Google’s Zürich R&D Center:Patrick Warnking, Google Country Manager, Switzerland, along with two INSEAD MBA alumni, Raphael Leiteritz, Group Product Manager for Google Maps (MBA04) and Daniele Rizzetto (MBA02) Head of StreetView Operations. They presented some of Google’s products, services, and its ideas to more than 80 members and special guests of the INSEAD Alumni Association Switzerland.

Do you know Google Zürich?

  • 1,100 employees at the R&D center in Zürich.
  • Google’s largest engineering group outside of the US
  • Engineers in Zürich work on Google Maps, Search Refresh, Gmail features, YouTube, Apps for enterprise, Emerging Markets, and Street View Operations

Do you know Google’s Corporate Culture?

  • Think Big: The main driver of product development is the desire to serve billions of Internet users. The Growth of the Internet has just begun. Engineers particularly like the “Think Big” idea because it is a challenge and it means driving fundamental changes with a huge impact due to the sheer number of people a new technology can touch. 

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]Big is hard to do. But it means there is less competition.[/pullquote]

  • Thinking big means investing in projects and advanced technologies.  Big is hard to do. But it means there is less competition. One of its largest ongoing projects is Google Books (formerly Book Search). Google has scanned, converted to text and stored in a digital database more 30 million books. There are few companies in the world today that have the will and the means to do such projects.

Caption: A Loon Network Node (Image Source: Project Loon)

  • Current examples are self-driving cars, Google Glass, and Loon, a new project (see photo) that aims to develop a lower cost broadband networking solution for the “next two to three billion” Internet users, the ones that don’t yet have high-speed Internet access, neither through mobile or fixed lines.
  • Thinking big means stepping past linear or incremental change, in favor of exponential change. Two examples of this kind of strategic thinking are to be found outside Google, in the types of projects undertaken by Singularity University, which has spawned more than 20 startups, each claiming to solve big problems; and the X-Prize, which aims to create a Star Trek-like Tricorder and land on the moon again. It has already developed a much improved oil spill cleanup agent, enabled a super energy-efficient car, and catalyzed a USD 1.5 billion space tourism industry.
  • Another noteworthy example of exponential change is the dramatic drop in the cost of DNA sequencing. Even a de-facto standard like Moore’s Law has proven inadequate for prediction in this case. Five years ago the cost of sequencing parts of the human genome was millions of dollars per dataset. Now experts are predicting it will cost USD 100 in 2015 to process a comparable sized dataset.
  • Google is transparent to employees, exhibiting a non-hierarchical management structure. It leaves room for employees to “dream”, even disrupt.
  • Clear goals for corporate development and innovation are communicated to employees.
  • “Eat your own dog food” and measure everything, particularly at the prototype or beta phase: Employees are encouraged to use Google products. The core function of a product manager is to understand the measurement data; Launch early and often; don’t be afraid to fail. Google offers highly motivating financial rewards for successful ideas.       

Do you know Google for Brands and Business?

Google Docs: It offers fewer features than MS Word; for example, versioning is not supported. But it does support a revision history of any stored document. The advantage of Google’s solutions is that there are no longer multiple versions of a document being emailed around an organization or a team. It enables better collaboration, meeting real user needs, says Google, and it is designed to support the way people really work: which is collaboratively.

Google Street View: businesses can create a 360-degree, interactive tour in Street View. The images are also accessible when users search for a business on Google Maps.

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]Did you know that Google shares its search data with its users and the research community?[/pullquote]Google Trends:Determining trends from massive amounts of data to make business decisions and better products is a strength at Google, no doubt. But did you know that Google shares its search data with its users and the research community? Trending search terms are graphically represented, reflecting the interests and concerns of Google users since 2004 – for free. The search term data is indexed, supporting the ability to sort data by region, by time, and by city. It is updated frequently, according to the Google Trends website.

Breakthrough trends (where growth is over 5,000%) are also indicated. Features include: “Hot Searches”, “Correlate” (which corresponds with real world trends over time – see image) and “Cold Searches”. The application is primarily used by search marketers and keyword optimizers. But it could be used as prediction tool, and it could be exploited by business and brands for things like competitive intelligence and consumer marketing.

Mobile Rising: A retailer would never have a shop that was messy and disorganized but that is exactly what smartphone users see when they land on a brand or business’ website that has not been optimized for mobile. Google has a solution for that too.
(Download  Inside Google Zürich_FINAL)

Byline: Valerie Thompson, MSc

04/09/2013 – GE:How to Become an Angel in Suisse Romande?

INSEAD Alumni Association Geneva, IPEN, A3 Angels and

EPFL Alumni Association welcome you to…




Joint Presentation, Panel Discussion & Cocktail

“How to become an Angel in Suisse Romande”

On Tuesday, April 9th 2013 from 18:00 – 21:30, Geneva, UBS Acacias

Switzerland is a hot-bed for the development of new, advanced technologies and ranked first in the INSEAD Global Innovation Index 2012. While it leads in innovation performance, it lags in mobilizing early-stage investment to allow new ventures to thrive. Angel investors can play a key role in providing start-ups with capital, expertise and access to their networks. In the US, angel investment is highly developed and accounts for as much as all venture capital funds combined.

What is the situation in Suisse Romande? How easy is it to access Angel Funding for start-ups? What role do they play in their success path? What is the ideal profile of an Angel Investor and/or Mentor? Come and join us to get a full picture ofthe Angels landscape in Suisse Romande. We will first present Angel networks and crowd-funding organisations in the region, to then share real-life experiences through a panel discussion featuring 2 highly successful entrepreneurs – Pedro Bados (CEO Nexthing) and Marco Boella (CEO Lemoptix) from the EPFL Parc Scientifique and 1 famous entrepreneur and serial angel investor, Martin Velasco. We will then inform on future Angel focused events, and end up the event with a networking cocktail.

We look forward to welcoming you to this first Joint Event between EPFL & INSEAD Alumni Associations, A3 Angels and IPEN with the objective to join forces to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.


Odile Batty, President of EPFL Alumni Association (EPFL, INSEAD Alumna)

Leila Ojjeh, President INSEAD Alumni Association Geneva (EPFL, INSEAD Alumna)



Claude Florin, President of A3 Angels, partner at Venture Concept, member of CTI program for start-ups (EPFL Alumnus)

Panel Discussion & Q&A:
Pedro Bados, President and CEO of Nexthink (EPFL Alumnus)
Marco Boella, CEO of Lemoptix
Martin Velasco, leading European “Business Angel”, board member Anecova, Sumerian, Cocomore, and Aridhia (EPFL, INSEAD Alumnus)
Kelly Richdale (Moderator), VP Marketing and Sales, ID Quantique, ex-founder of A4 vision (INSEAD Alumna)


Next Steps:

Colin Turner, currently with greenTEK ventures and previously with Inventages (the “Nestle Fund”), Intel Capital and Motorola (INSEAD Alumnus)


When: Tuesday, April 9 2013
18:00 – 18:30 Registration
18:30 – 20:00 Presentation, Panel and Q&A
20:00 – 21:30 Cocktail
Where: Main Auditorium – UBS Acacias – 35, rue des Noirettes, 1227 Carouge, Geneva

UBS Parking facilities (beneath the venue) are available for use by attendees.

We thank UBS for their support in welcoming us and offering their facilities for this event.


Price: 50 CHF (INSEAD IAA & EPFL Alumni Members) / 75 CHF (Non Members & Guests)

You’re welcome to invite a guest of your choice.

Registration online – latest by Wednesday April 4th 2013 at 12am using the link below:

Please note that after this date no cancellation will be possible.


Pedro Bados (Panelist): Pedro is one of the Nexthink co-founders and is President and CEO. He brings his leadership and vision to lead the organization and ensure its continuous growth. Pedro holds an M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from EPFL, Switzerland and Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain. While at EPFL he developed the first real-time end-user monitoring technology and he is the author of two patents on behavior modeling that form part of Nexthink’s core technology. Pedro is currently a Board member of the Alpine chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), he serves on the Board of several start-ups and he’s an occasional lecturer at EPFL on entrepreneurship and new technologies.

 marcoMarco Boella (Panelist): Marco Boella is Chief Executive Officer of Lemoptix and is in charge of the overall strategy and development of the company. Prior to co-founding Lemoptix, Marco held several leadership positions in sales, marketing and general management within global corporations, such as HP and Nokia, as well as IT, telecommunications and software start-ups, such as Solid Information Technology (acquired by IBM), CNET Channel, Inforay and Applic8. In addition to his wide industry experience, he has a very strong track record in developing new businesses from scratch, leading geographically dispersed teams and driving business growth across multi-country regions. Marco holds an M.Sc in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Technology, Helsinki, Finland.

 martinMartin Velasco (Panelist): Martin Velasco is considered a leading European “Business Angel” by the Wall Street Journal and one of the leaders of European change by Business Week. He serves on the Board of several high-tech companies such as Anecova, ART – In Vivo Fertilization, Sumerian, IT Analytics, Cocomore, Digital Communications Agency & IT Services and Aridhia, Health Informatics. Martin is the Founder and Chairman of Infantia Foundation, a philanthropic organization aiding children in the developing world. He is member of the Board of BlueOrchard, the leading private microfinance investment advisory company; Vice President of the Board of the Foundation EPFL+ and Vice Chairman of the European Tech Tour Association.

 Claude Floriclauden (Introduction): Claude Florin is President of A3 Angels, a business angel club at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology providing seed investment. He is a partner at Venture Concept focusing on international business development and investment advisory. He is a member of the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation program for start-ups program. Previously, he held management positions at Hewlett-Packard‘s Communications and Media Solutions and HP’s Medical Products Group (now Philips Healthcare). He has led 6 technology business unit launches growing annual sales from $10M to 100M and established ventures in telecoms (Alcatel, Cisco, HP, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, NEC) and MedTech (Bayer, General Electric, Philips, Siemens). Claude has an MSEE degree in Electrical Engineering from EPFL and executive education certificates from IMD and Harvard Business School on managing innovation and venture capital investments.

 Kelly Richdale (Moderator): Kelly is VP Marketing & Sales for ID Quantique, a Geneva-based company specializkellying in quantum cryptography and network encryption for financial institutions, enterprises and governments. She is a serial entrepreneur, having founded a television production company in Russia in 1994 and co-founded A4Vision specializing in 3D facial recognition in 2000. During her time at A4Vision she participated in fund raising from both angel investors and VCs, as well as in the acquisition of A4Vision by Bioscrypt in 2007. In 2008 Bioscrypt was acquired by L1 Identity Solutions. She holds an MBA from INSEAD (Fontainebleau) and a degree in modern languages (Russian & German) from Cambridge University.

Colphotoin Turner (Next Steps): Colin has 20 years of experience in venture capital, operations, fund-raising and as legal counsel. While at Inventages, the “Nestle Fund” (Geneva, Switzerland), Intel Capital (Swindon, UK, Silicon Valley, USA and Munich, Germany) and Motorola (London, UK and Chicago, USA) Colin worked across 5 continents on over 200 investments, acquisitions, listings and divestments in companies operating in high-tech, health-care and bio-technology. Colin earned an MBA from INSEAD and qualified as a lawyer in the United Kingdom.


IMG_4987 IMG_4996 IMG_5027 IMG_5044 IMG_5071 IMG_5073 IMG_5082 IMG_5107 IMG_5142 IMG_5229 IMG_5314 IMG_5468Joint Event INSEAD-EPFL, UBS Acacias Geneva, 9/4/13