Innovation 2020: An Entrepreneurs Journey from Michigan to Silicon Valley Startups to Google
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Abstract – R.J. Pittman will be on campus, Thursday September 17th to give a presentation on the past, present, and future of entrepreneurship and the information age through the eyes of a Michigan engineering student, a startup CEO, and now Googler. Innovation 2020 is about looking back and exploring key hindsights of the past decade or two and connecting the dots that inform the present and the future of our digital world. R.J. will share his college experiences at Michigan and explain how they prepared him for the wild west of Silicon Valley. Along with his startup experiences, he’ll then give a peak behind the curtain of one really big startup, better known as Google.
Biography – R.J. Pittman (BSE CompE ’91) is presently working for Google on a broad range of products, driving innovation for the company’s next-generation, consumer search products. As director of product management, R.J. serves as general manager of Google’s global search properties including News, Finance, Images, Blogs, Trends, Labs and many other products that together draw hundreds of millions of users and more than a billion page views every day. Previously, he was the co-founder and CEO of Groxis, the advanced search-engine technology company that created the industry’s first graphical information interface, the GII, to hundreds of prominent content services including Google, Yahoo and Amazon.
R.J. has spent the last two decades building internet software companies to help accelerate the evolution of a commerce-enabled Web. He has applied this experience to the creation of many pioneering internet companies and projects in the field of web search, social networking,
e-payments and online trading. R.J. has raised $50 million in venture capital for the companies he has founded or co-founded since 1992, completing two IPOs and the sale of two other companies. He also has led e-business transformations at large multi-billion dollar corporations including Mckesson (NYSE: MCK), and Interface Global (NASDAQ: IFSIA).
A graduate of the University of Michigan, with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, R.J. has been involved in numerous projects with the University. During his time on campus, R.J. worked for CAEN on North Campus for nearly four years. Over the years that have followed, together with his father, Raymond Pittman, he has worked with the College of Engineering to bring more innovation and entrepreneurship to Ann Arbor. Today R.J. is an active participant in helping U-M bridge industry, university research, venture capital and startups to foster a business and innovation ecosystem similar to Silicon Valley.