By Chanelle Bessette, reporter
FORTUNE -- Mike Abbott is a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm. As the former vice president of engineering at Twitter, he brought his experience to the firm in 2011 and now focuses on digital investments. He has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University and has completed coursework toward a Ph.D. in molecular biology/pharmacology from the University of Washington. We asked him 10 questions about his accomplishments at both work and home. Find out below how he gets his news, his biggest missed opportunity, and what he would rather be doing in Argentina and Nepal.
Fortune's annual Brainstorm Tech conference brings together the best and brightest minds in tech innovation. Fortune periodically turns the spotlight on a different conference attendee to offer their personal insight into business, tech, and entrepreneurship.
1. What is the best advice you ever received?
"Just keep pushing." In short, it pays to be persistent. Life always presents challenges on many fronts, and focusing where you want to go can keep you stable when your world around you is spinning.
2. What was the last book you read?
Quiet by Susan Cain. Found it both helpful for areas that I struggle with personally, as well as to help me have more empathy.
3. What would you say to a group of young people looking to enter the tough job market?
Focus on just doing not talking. In the end, what matters are your core skills and how you communicate them to others. Go build things that help you in life -- whether interacting with friends, family and/or co-workers.
4. What was your biggest missed opportunity?
My biggest missed opportunity was also the best decision I've ever made. I turned down the opportunity to be VP of engineering at Facebook (FB) several years ago in order to pursue the woman who is now my wife.
5. How do you get your news?
I primarily listen to folks that I have the privilege to meet with, the folks I follow on Twitter, and I read, in particular, academic journals, blogs, and the paper version of several periodicals. And then I contemplate while running and swimming.
6. What was the most important thing you learned in school?
The importance of intense focus. The ability to shut out external "noise" and apply your mind to one problem/thought is incredibly powerful. Frankly, I am finding this increasingly difficult to do in our attention economy.
7. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
Patagonia, Argentina. I had the opportunity to trek, mountain bike, and river raft there a couple of years ago -- it is an amazing part of the planet! However, returning to the Buddhist monastery in Tengboche in Nepal also is quite appealing.
8. What is your greatest achievement?
Fatherhood -- without a doubt.
Professionally, I've had the chance to be part of multiple teams that have built products now in use by both consumers and companies. From building an enterprise business out of my house, Composite Software, which remained independent with over 100 employees for 12 years until recently Cisco (CSCO) acquired, to helping redefine, build, ship webOS at Palm, and to rapidly expand the engineering team at Twitter to stabilize the infrastructure -- I have been very fortunate to have had these opportunities.
9. What business or technology person do you admire most? Why?
Bill Campbell. [The chairman and former CEO of Intuit (INTU) and current Apple (AAPL) board member.] Bill embodies deep empathy, deep experience, and deep care for people and companies. He is an amazing person and can provide insights and guidance unlike any other person that I have ever met. I am privileged to be able to call him a friend and mentor.
10. What technology sector excites you most?
Deep learning, which is a new approach to achieving artificial intelligence with applications in daily living, digital health, and other new use cases. Deep learning is a new area of machine learning research, which has been introduced with the objective of moving machine learning closer to one of its original goals: artificial intelligence.
Hot interior design startup didn't have the usual beginnings.
By Colleen Leahey, reporter
FORTUNE -- Adi Tatarko planned big things for her Silicon Valley ranch-style house. But making them a reality proved an expensive -- and miserable -- experience. Tatarko's friends described similar frustrations while renovating their homes, so she and her husband Alon Cohen began developing what would eventually become startup Houzz. Cohen understood the mutual need between buyers and sellers MOREMay 31, 2013 5:00 AM ET
Apple figured prominently in the Queen of the Net's 2013 presentation of industry trends.
FORTUNE -- If you don't have 23 minutes to watch the video of Mary Meeker's state-of-the-Internet report at AllThingsD 2013 -- or if you just want a chance to study more closely slides that she showed for an average of 14 seconds each -- here are the 10 that pertained to Apple (AAPL).
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There is still lots of room to grow in mobile, says one of the world's top Internet analysts in her annual report.
FORTUNE -- Mary Meeker's annual Internet Trends report is a little like Cokie Roberts's Monday morning appearances on NPR -- a litany of points of unsurprising conventional wisdom.
That doesn't make it valueless: Like Roberts's weekly reports, Meeker's annual presentations put a lot of disparate information in context and offer MOREDan Mitchell, contributor - May 30, 2013 6:48 AM ET
This AdMob vet wants to bridge the divide between desktop and mobile advertising. If she succeeds, even Google could find itself at a disadvantage.
FORTUNE -- Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan never planned to go into advertising, much less run a startup. But when the 37-year-old Stanford graduate, with a Ph.D. in Information Theory, met AdMob founder Omar Hamoui, she turned her back on Wall Street and joined AdMob as a research scientist in MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - May 21, 2013 7:58 AM ET
Three of the Bay Area's marquee investment firms want to capture the most interesting ideas before they're hatched.
FORTUNE -- It was classic Sergey Brin. Dressed in sports shorts, an exercise shirt and blue Crocs, the Google co-founder showed up riding an elliptical bicycle, and as he does these days, wearing Glass, Google's futuristic wearable computer that fits on a head mounted display. Oh, and he was a few minutes late.
The MOREMiguel Helft, senior writer - Apr 10, 2013 5:00 PM ET
How Sean Parker bumbled his new startup's launch; HP CEO Meg Whitman opens up.
Airtime makes an awkward first impression [FORTUNE]
The company aims to offer frictionless video networking that allows you to chat with your existing friends or with strangers based on location or interests you share on Facebook. Like predecessor Chatroulette.com, it's easy to switch to a new chat partner, but unlike that service, which became known for its shock MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jun 6, 2012 1:04 PM ET
Aaron Sorkin talks about future Steve Jobs movie, impact of technology on his writing [ENGADGET]
The highlights included a frank quote that whoever ends up playing Jobs in his movie -- not to be confused with the one already in production with Ashton Kutcher -- will have to be "good, and intelligent." He also confessed to being fully engaged in the "three screens" movement, but wasn't too prideful to admit that he MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - May 31, 2012 12:08 PM ET
Fortune's curated selection of tech stories from the last 24 hours. Sign up to get the round-up delivered to you each and every day.
* Zynga (ZNGA) raised around $1 billion in its initial public offering (IPO), giving the social gaming champ a $7 billion valuation. Check out colleague Dan Primack's list of the biggest winners to come out of this, including CEO Mark Pincus, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and Institutional Venture Partners. MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Dec 16, 2011 3:00 AM ET
More jobs are opening for Android developers according to a report today.
CC Flickr user MJ/TR (´･ω･)
Dow Jones' VentureWire reports this evening that most of the companies seeded with cash from Kleiner Perkins famous iFund are taking their iApps and porting them over to Google's (GOOG) Android platform.
A telling stat:
13 of the 16 companies backed by the $200 million iFund now have both iOS and Android apps or will within a few MORESeth Weintraub - Apr 7, 2011 12:37 AM ET
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