What’s the next big thing for man who told Mark Zuckerberg not to leave Harvard

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New Delhi | Updated: February 23, 2019 4:20:17 PM

Welsh was concentrating on his academia in his career and as expected he rejected an earlier offer to join Google in 2002 and a couple of years later, Mark Zuckerberg became a classmate.

Welsh helped built a version of the Chrome browser which could easily run on low-end phones and consume less data on typically slower wireless networks in rural areas and developing countries. (Source: Reuters)

The world today is different for millenials. There are jobs which are stable and there are the ones which are not. There are people who work from the comfort of their home and then there are people who are always networking, night and day.

A report published in Fortune interviewed software engineer Matt Welsh. You may recall that before Welsh worked for Google, he left a professorship at Harvard a decade ago. Welsh is known for designing small, wirelessly connected computing devices and according to Fortune Matt Welsh was on “sabbatical when he got the corporate itch.”

When Welsh had joined Google, it was trying to get around the fact that there were not many people on the internet so Google, as per Fortune, set out to find a software which could run on small, cheap, wirelessly-connected systems.

Finally, it was Welsh helped built a version of the Chrome browser which could easily run on low-end phones and consume less data on typically slower wireless networks in rural areas and developing countries.

However, Chrome for Android today is now developed product and leading a big team on an established product at a leading company did not allow Welsh to “stretch” himself or “learn”. And he set out to discover the “local tech scene’’ in Seattle where Welsh resides.

So, the startup bug did bite and Welsh knows it all too well.

READ ALSO | Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Harvard University addressed fake news but missed the centrepoint

Welsh was concentrating on his academia in his career and as expected he rejected an earlier offer to join Google in 2002 and a couple of years later, Mark Zuckerberg became a classmate.

Welsh even attempted to talk Zuckerberg out of quitting Harvard as Welsh had felt that the a social network idea was similar to MySpace and Friendster which were quite popular at the time. And as a result, Welsh rejected the job offer from Facebook which was early in its development stages. So, not until 2010 that he took a leap to Google.

So, Welsh took to another startup – XNOR.ai, which was built from the Paul Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence around three years ago and was seeking to hire a principal engineer.

The company is building AI as well as machine-learning programs to run on cheaper, less complex hardware which is what Welsh specialises in.

“It’s not just turning the crank on an existing technology,” he explained to Fortune.

XNOR’s software means a serious implication – less of the surveillance if AI apps “could work independently on a user’s own hardware” without the need to send all the data to the cloud to process.

Welsh also took part in the debate over AI at Google and also signed the letter in 2018 for more transparency. However, he made it clear that it was not why he’s leaving the company.

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