Astro Teller's innovation tip? Fail fast. Here's how he cultivates and rewards intellectually honest failures, and helps his team get comfortable with the idea.
Astro Teller is a Hertz Foundation Fellow and recipient of the prestigious Hertz Foundation Grant for graduate study in the applications of the physical, biological and engineering sciences. Teller is now the CEO, aka ‘Captain of Moonshots’, at the innovation factory simply called X (formerly Google X). In this video, he illuminates a critical difference: when undertaking a project, do you want to feel you’ve accomplished something, or do you actuallywant to accomplish it? With the support of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, he pursued a PhD in artificial intelligence at Carnegie Mellon University.
Hertz Fellow Astro Teller is now the Captain of Moonshots (aka CEO) at X, formerly Google X, where he oversees X's moonshot factory for building magical, audacious ideas that through science and technology can be brought to reality. Additionally, Astro is co-founder and director of Cerebellum Capital, Inc, a hedge fund management firm whose investments are continuously designed, executed, and improved by a software system based on techniques from statistical machine learning.
Previously, Astro was the co-founder and CEO of BodyMedia, Inc, a leading wearable body monitoring company that was sold to Jawbone in 2013. Prior to starting BodyMedia, Dr. Teller was co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Sandbox Advanced Development, an advanced development technology company. Before his tenure as a business executive, Dr. Teller taught at Stanford University and was an engineer and researcher for Phoenix Laser Technologies, Stanford's Center for Integrated Systems, and The Carnegie Group Incorporated.
As a respected scientist and seasoned entrepreneur, Teller has successfully created and grown five companies and holds numerous U.S. patents related to his work in hardware and software technology. Dr. Teller's work in science, literature, art, and business has appeared in international media from the New York Times to CNN to NPR's All Things Considered. Teller regularly gives invited talks for national and international technology, government, and business forums on the subject of the future of intelligent technology.
In addition, Astro is a writer. In 1997 Random House published his first fiction novel, Exegesis, which went on to critical acclaim and publication around the world in many other languages. He has since published a second novel, sold a movie to Paramount, placed many op-ed pieces and journal articles, and his third book, this one a non-fiction work called Sacred Cows about our society's confusions about marriage and divorce, was published in July of 2014.
For his undergrad work, Dr. Teller received a BS in computer science from Stanford University, and continued at Stanford to obtain an MS in symbolic and heuristic computation. Afterwards, Teller matriculated into Carnegie Mellon University, with the support of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellowship to pursue a PhD in artificial intelligence.