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The Cruise family.
Cruise

"Why Our People Matter Most"

By Kyle Vogt, the Co-Founder, President & CTO of Cruise Automation

Below is an article originally written by Kyle Vogt, the Co-Founder, President & CTO of PowerToFly Partner Cruise Automation, and published on April 11, 2018. Go to Cruise Automation's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

We're taking a break from our usual technical discussions to focus on something a bit different: the people at Cruise and GM who make up our team.

The baffling thing about self-driving cars is that, even to brilliant engineers, they look seductively easy to build. The basic underlying concepts are well-understood, and there are now online university courses that teach them. In about three months, a handful of good engineers can retrofit a car with sensors and make it drive a short route without the apparent need for human intervention. In 2015 we did exactly that, and to the casual observer it was impressive. We're excited to see that there are now dozens of companies that have reached this stage of self-driving car development, and we look forward to seeing more in the future.

But there is a staggering gap between a prototype that can travel a few miles at a time and one that can drive as well as a human (especially in complex environments). Even with recent advances in computing hardware, machine learning algorithms, and sensors, it's still perhaps 10,000x more challenging to build a commercial product than a prototype.

In the web app world, you could think of the difference between running a website from a laptop in your dorm room vs. running it on thousands of servers across globally distributed data centers with redundant networking, power generation, data stores, etc. One might take a few long nights and a case of red bull to build; the other might take thousands of engineer-years of effort to carefully develop, test, and validate.

Think about reliability and failure modes. Your dorm room project will crash if more than a handful of users click on links or if you accidentally kick the power adapter out of the wall socket. The other website will support millions of concurrent users, survive earthquakes and other natural disasters, resist hacking attempts, and stay online even if servers fail or fiber lines are cut. Our product is a car that interacts with real people, so we've got to be even more diligent. It takes a small army of some of the world's best engineers to do it right.

So on that note, I'm pleased to announce an expansion of the Cruise and GM family — we recently invited the team from Zippy.ai to join us. The quality of our technologies and the time it takes to develop them is a function of the people who build them. Identifying, attracting, and retaining the right mix of people who work well together, share the same values, and are truly passionate about the work is actually one of the hardest things to do.

Gabe Sibley, Alex Flint, and Chris Broaddus co-founded Zippy.ai last year to develop robots for last-mile grocery and package delivery. Their expertise in machine learning, computer vision, and simulation is among the best in the industry. But perhaps more importantly, their commitment to working on a team — and doing things the right way — strengthens our ability to safely test, validate, and deploy our self-driving technology at scale.

When the time comes for you to request your first ride in a Cruise AV, please think of the hundreds of people who worked to make your ride a reality and make it safe. Because at the end of the day, you're not being driven by a robot. You're being driven by us.

Zapier Inc

How Zapier Director of Compensation Jocelyne Wright-McLemore Is Tackling Imposter Syndrome as a Black Woman in HR

Jocelyne Wright-McLemore has a sticky note that she looks at every day: "I'm overqualified and I can do this."

Zapier's Director of Compensation put that sticky note up shortly after she rolled out a big new project at the online automation company and received some critical feedback on it. Though the criticism came from a tiny portion of her audience and the project was a success overall, hearing it brought back some of the self-doubt and imposter syndrome that she faced earlier in her career.

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Webinars

Meet PowerToFly's 2021 Diversity & Inclusion Award Honorees

This past February, PowerToFly was very proud to wrap up the panel portion of our recent Diversity Reboot 2021: The 100 Day Kickoff virtual summit by presenting our very first Diversity & Inclusion Award Show, honoring some true D&I champions across multiple industries

Back in 2020, we launched a submission process to honor select individuals who just don't talk the talk but truly walk the walk when it comes to making their companies and the world a more diverse and inclusive place. From the many submissions that we received, we chose six champions to honor.

You can watch the acceptance speeches for our honorees below or click here to watch the 45-minute awards show which included a roundtable discussion with our six DEI champions.

Want to nominated a friend or colleague for a future D&I Award? Submit their info here.


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How These 30 Companies are Celebrating Women's History Month in 2021

Women have always had a lot on their plates, juggling their professional goals with societal expectations and responsibilities to their families, partners, and communities.

But women have never had a year like 2020.

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Career Advice

How Hopin’s CCO Knew a Startup Environment Was Right For Her—and Two Questions to See If It’s Right for You

If there's a thread that connects all the different facets of Rosie Roca's life, it's the power of bringing people together.

From how she was raised, to how she got her first job, to the decision to leave enterprise software to take on her current role as the Chief Customer Officer at fast-growing events technology platform Hopin, a focus on community has helped to guide Rosie's decisions.

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