Austin Geidt, head of global expansion for Uber, recently turned 30. Five years ago, she had just graduated from college and become Uber’s fourth employee. Five years before that, she achieved sobriety, ending what she calls a bad relationship with drugs.
Geidt is a one-woman encapsulation of what makes the technology industry so special. Yes, it’s full of self-important, entitled millennials and obnoxious “brogrammers.” It is dominated by venture capitalists who believe, evidence to the contrary, they are the smartest guys—almost always a guy, by the way—in the room.
And then there is Austin Geidt. She joined Uber after being rejected for numerous jobs for which she had no experience. She didn’t have the right background for Uber either, but she says she poured all her energy and humor into a presentation she created for the guy running the place, Ryan Graves, who gave her a job that morphed into many new jobs at the company.
I told Geidt’s story, and those of other early employees, in an oral history this summer to commemorate Uber’s fifth anniversary. She shared even more of it on Tuesday for an audience at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit made up of young female business leaders like Geidt. Despite her age, Geidt oozes wisdom and perspective. She gets overwhelmed by her job sometimes, just like everyone else, she said. But then she reminds herself that she’s already done something far more difficult and momentous than a difficult business task. She got sober—and stayed that way.
Toward the end of her short but memorable interview with Fortune’s Leigh Gallagher, Geidt changed the subject in a way that brought to life the stories of Uber, Silicon Valley, and the reinvention of work. Asked what she’d do next with her career, Geidt said she didn’t feel compelled to have a plan. Life is good, and that’s all that matters right now. “Our company sheds a new company every quarter,” she said.
Imagine being 30, having already turned your life around, and bearing witness to the creation of a once-in-a-lifetime enterprise. And to know you’re just getting started.
BITS AND BYTES
Yahoo’s core business may attract plenty of suitors. While the company’s media properties, email services, and advertising business can’t boast the groundbreaking performance of either Google or Facebook, they still produce steady operating profit—up to $780 million for 2016, according to an estimate by Cowen. That predictable cash flow could be very appealing to a private equity firm. Yahoo’s board is pondering options this week during a three-day meeting. (Fortune)
Former CEO Steve Ballmer questions Microsoft’s cloud numbers. Ballmer, who is the software giant’s largest individual shareholder, tells Bloomberg that the company should disclose more specific profit and revenue metrics for Azure, Office 365, and its other cloud services. Right now, Microsoft reports overall results for these businesses as an annualized run rate, a far more hypothetical measure. Ballmer’s remarks came after the company’s annual meeting. (Bloomberg)
Target settles with banks over 2013 security breach. The retailer will pay $39.4 million to cover the cost of fraudulent charges and replacement cards issued after at least 40 million credit cards were compromised by an attack on its point of sale systems. An earlier settlement was rejected as too low. This one still requires final approval, which won’t come until at least May 2016. (Reuters)
Toshiba plans 3D printer that produces metal objects. Better known for laptop computers and tablets, the Japanese company is designing a printer that works with metal and iron materials 10 times faster than what’s currently available. Right now, this is a niche segment but 3D metal printers are the fastest-growing portion of an overall market expected to reach $17 billion in revenue by 2020. (Fortune)
Lockheed Martin finds many suitors for IT services business. The huge military contractor, also the biggest supplier of information technology to the federal government, was planning to divest its IT business by the end of 2015. However, increased buyer interest has prompted Lockheed Martin’s executive team to delay any decision about a spinoff or sale until next year. (Wall Street Journal)
Qualcomm scores deal with Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi. Under a licensing pact between the two companies, Xiaomi will pay royalties for devices that connect to 3G and 4G cellular communications networks. Details weren’t disclosed. Still, scoring a deal with China’s No. 2 smartphone company is a big coup for Qualcomm, given the trouble it has had getting Chinese companies to recognize and pay for its numerous patents. (Fortune)
Why you should stop calling ADP a payroll vendor. If you automatically associate the name ADP with payroll services, you are to be forgiven. After all, more than 610,000 businesses rely on the 60-year-old company to pay 24 million employees in the U.S. alone. Put another way, ADP touches the paychecks of one in six U.S. workers.
In fact, more than half of ADP’s national accounts use both its payroll services and its other human resources apps, ranging from employee benefits services to recruiting management. That’s something many people don’t realize, reports Fortune contributor Heather Clancy. ADP’s strategy for claiming more of that share centers on a year-old initiative to ally with other software companies—its newly expanded relationship with sometime rival Workday is one example—that drives more business for its core human resources software. (Fortune)
MORE FORTUNE TECH COVERAGE
Zuckerberg is giving away his money, but with a twist by Mathew Ingram
Google teaches your robot to recognize you (and your mood)
by Barb Darrow
Is LinkedIn’s mobile app redesign too little, too late? by Kia Kokalitcheva
These women want girls to play with tech-savvy toys by Laura Lorenzetti
TaskRabbit COO: This is how I landed a seat on HP Inc.’s board
by Jen Wieczner
Samsung adds Samsung Pay to mid-range smartphones by Jason Cipriani
ONE MORE THING
Google will turn defunct coal plant into green data center. What’s more, the entire site in northern Alabama will run off of clean electricity generated by solar and wind farms. Google has deals in place to source almost two gigawatts of renewable energy, enough to power two cities the size of San Francisco. (Wired)