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laser is the sauce @sarahjeong
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#UberWaymo has begun. Here's what's at stake:…
Most journalists have been relegated to the overflow and Judge Alsup is mad
ALSUP: This is unconscionable that the law firms take up this much space. The reason the public is not in here is that you've failed me once again.
Laughter in the overflow room, where we are not subject to the steely gaze and terrifying silence of Judge Alsup's courtroom
(I doubt I will be in the overflow room for the entirety of the trial but it really is not the worst place to be)
I haven't been here for the hearings but from the tenor of the transcripts and orders and Alsup's tone just now, it really sounds like he wants to strangle everyone who's involved
Some housekeeping matters: first, the issue of reasonable royalties (evidence will not be bifurcated).

More importantly, Judge Alsup is mad about the "rat's nest of wiring" in his courtroom
ALSUP: I’m not going to name any names, but someone with a very important witness asked for a private room. No. You don’t get a private room just because you’re famous.
Another housekeeping matter:

ALSUP: What *is* Ottomotto?
Ottomotto, says Uber, is owned indirectly by Uber through a holding company.

ALSUP: So if the jury decides a billion dollar verdict against Ottomotto, Uber’s going to pay that?

UBER: Well, we hope that doesn't matter but yes.
Lawyers are arguing over whether certain video evidence is allowed, Alsup calls it "Soviet-style negotiating," at this point my read is that he's enjoying dunking on them because he so rarely gets cases where he can dunk on everyone without feeling bad about punching down
Jury is coming in.
And now we've crossed the Rubicon.
Both sides are now introducing themselves for the record and it's like a basketball team's worth of lawyers on both sides
sorry, internet is a little laggy, no doubt from so many reporters connecting to it -- my tweets aren't guaranteed to be real-time. Alsup now giving preliminary instruction to jury, explaining fact/law and warning them not to read about the case online
Opening - Charles Verhoeven for Waymo.
WAYMO: Playing fair wasn’t working because Google was way too far ahead. Winning was more important than obeying the law.
Internal email shows Kalanick referring to a "cheat code," Verhoeven explains that a cheat code lets you skip a level in a video game (lol) and says Levandowski was supposed to help Uber leapfrog ahead of Google (like a cheat code)
Technical difficulties.
WAYMO: I have a series of slides here. I’d like to start with a more detailed presentation …
ALSUP: Is it showing up in the jury box?
WAYMO: It is, but it isn't in ours.
ALSUP: And not mine either.
All fixed now and we're starting off with the Google fairy tale of how Brin and Page innovated the shit out of the world etc
Now we're looking at a demo video. "First car you can see. There’s no one there. It’s driving itself."
"No one’s driving. No one’s sitting in the front seat. Working perfectly."

Now they're explaining how self-driving cars are going to improve road safety, give new mobility options to old people, and "combat climate change" lol
Now explaining LiDAR. There's a picture of the Grizzly Bear LiDAR on the screen. "It spins really fast and shoots out thousands and thousands of points of infrared lasers."
AND NOW THE DRAMATIS PERSONAE. Ominous black and white photo of Google engineers with only Anthony Levandowski in color.
And here come the damning emails! First a quote from Travis Kalanick in Bloomberg Businessweek, where he says that if they don't catch up to Google in autonomous cars, "we will be out of business."
John Bares email: "Team really strained on trying to figure out best sensor"
Holden email: "we started from a huge gap with G, and I think we’ve all been sobered by how hard it is to close that gap, even with exceptional effort… we should double down on laser."
And now, a Google Calendar invite for a meeting between Levandowski, Lior Ron, and Uber on Dec 11, 2015, shown next to a machine forensic record that Levandowski downloaded 14k Waymo files on Dec 12.
Verhoeven says there's evidence that Levandowski and Ron covered their digital tracks with the nefarious software known as...

Slack and iMessage
Bares writes some embarrassing emails and meeting notes!

In one 2015 meeting:
TK what we want
- Source
- All of their data
- Tagging
- Road map
- Pound of flesh
- IP

Bares email: "I’m in SF working on something I can’t talk about (wonderful, huh). I am trying to SWAG a dream case long range laser.
Holden email: "Laser is the sauce (AL laser ends up being critical to AV success, no clear substitute)"
Every time AL had a meeting with Uber, shortly after, he accessed Waymo files (he was working at Waymo tho?)
Verhoeven pressing hard on AL accessing a file called "Chauffeur TL weekly updates - Q4 2015” which he says is "the file that’s the entire plan for the project" with all of the technological details for every single area of expertise
More Uber meeting notes. TK recorded as saying: “This is all about winning. To win we have to cross the finish line first, losing is not an option."
In an April 2016 board presentation, Uber was going to spend $592 million on Ottomotto (partly Uber restricted stock).

This is a few months after Levandowski leaves Waymo. "They hadn’t done anything yet! What were they buying?"

in. deed.
I'm loving these notes from the Travis Kalanick meetings, they're so ominous. "Cheat codes. Find them. Use them.”
"The golden time is over. It is war time."
"There are rules that separate order and chaos. Need to understand those rules."
"Reality that matters is catching up. This is the only reality that matters."
don't let a tyler durden wannabe be your CEO
“The war is the long term defeat of Google.”
Kalanick told Bloomberg, "I feel like we’re brothers from another mother" re: Levandowski.
Waymo is getting out ahead of a key piece of Uber evidence, an email from Sasha Zbrozek of Google, a sysadmin(?)
"It’s all electronics designs, schematics and PCB layouts and the component library for their creation. It was considered low-value enough that we had even considered hosting it off Google infrastructure."
Verhoeven emphasizes that Zbrozek is a "non-Lidar engineer"
"If it's so low value" then why the hyped emails so and forth?
And now we're talking about the Stroz Due Diligence report. 🍿
I wrote about that shitshow when the report came out:…
We're taking a 15 minute break at this time.

ALSUP: Don't talk about this case. ... talk about the Superbowl or something else.
Waymo opening is done, Uber is going next. Then there will be a private session closed to the public where they discuss the trade secrets.
Uber opening has begun. we're having a lot of technical difficulties with the sound cutting in and out.
UBER: We just heard a tale of conspiracy between Levandowski on the one hand and Uber on the other hand.

There’s no conspiracy, there’s no cheating, end of story.
Uber points out that Levandowski is not a party o the suit.

(That's because the case has gone to arbitration btw)
Now we're back to the Zbrozek email. "....low value enough that he had even considered hosting it off Google infrastructure."
UBER: You know it’s bad if they have to mention it in their part of the opening and explain it away.
UBER: You know what else Waymo didn’t tell you? Uber never got any proprietary information.
UBER: There’s not a single piece of Google proprietary information at Uber. Nothing. Zero. That’s it. Period. They don’t want to talk about that.
UBER: Anthony Levandowski did some things at Google he shouldn’t have done.

But there’s no connection whatsoever between any files he downloaded, all these little emails, and what’s in here.
UBER: Engineers are free, in California and elsewhere, to go from one job to another. They bring all of their engineering talent... ...the only thing that's not okay is to take trade secrets.
Uber doesn't think what's at issue aren't real trade secrets (and indeed, it's up to the jury to decide)
Carmody is now hyping Uber's ATG (Advanced Technology Group) and its roots at Carnegie. Essentially, Waymo's goal is to hype Levandowski's talent, and Uber is to downplay it
Audio has been hijacked and someone is now reading names over the intercom
ALSUP: ... what is that?
The mysterious voice continues speaking

ALSUP: ... where is that coming from?
Alsup's lips are oving on the screen but no audio now, overflow room is fuuuuucked
No sound but we can see turmoil in the courtroom and attorneys milling around while Alsup speaks
i'm dying
i hope the verge pays for lip reading classes so i'll be prepared for the next time this happens
Each side only gets 70 minutes total for the opening and Alsup only lets the trial go until 1 pm each day, by my calculation this delay will only be cutting into witness testimony -- my guess is we're only hearing from Waymo CEO Krafcik today
We're back!
ALSUP: The mystery signal from outer space we don’t quite know about yet.
Carmody on again but the sound is still spotty T_____T
In 2015, before Levandowski went to Uber, head of Google Chauffeur was telling Page and Brin that "UBER is acquiring the people I suggested we hire 1.5 years ago but was denied the opportunity to do so."
2016 email: "Larry is upset we allowed him to leave and walked him out even though the leaders didn’t trust him. Larry is worried he’s going to start something competitive."
July 11 2016 email from Krafcik: "fyi — two people to Otto… need a plan..."
Dmitri Dolgov (Google) email: "One of the significant effects of today’s Otto/Uber news is increased attrition risk for us."
"This, combined with interesting and plentiful exit opportunities (e.g., via Baidu, Didi, Lyft, OEMs, etc) makes Chauffeur look less competitive from the financial perspective, so I think we should be seriously concerned."
Back to the Zbrozek email about the 14k documents being "low-value." A second email in 2017:

"I’m a little leery because both of those numbers aren’t really meaningful to any narrative."
"It also has a chilling effect on being a hardware engineer -- we all do full checkouts, and it makes me uncomfortable to think that lawyers are trying to ascribe suspicion to it."
This case is fascinating because the rank and file of Silicon Valley are almost uniformly rooting against Uber, but what's happening is that talent is getting punished for hopping companies
It's possible that Levandowski represents everything that Silicon Valley workers hate about their own workplaces.
UBER: Counsel talks about sensational emails -- of course they’re going to talk about that because they don’t want to talk about the technology.
E - M A I L S
LMAO Uber's case really is that Levandowski is a useless piece of shit
2011 email from David Lawee: "As Google I suppose I am prepared to take the risk with Anthony, but I can say, definitively, that if I was choosing a business partner to start a company with, there is no way in hell I would proceed."
Levandowski, says Uber, "has a pattern of surprising… unusual behavior…"
Google retained AL despite “early warning signs that he wasn’t trustworthy." Ultimately Uber fired AL.
Uber emphasizes that engineering skills and talents and publicly known ideas are different from trade secrets, that engineers should be allowed to move from company to company with their talent.
Uber is done with the public part of their testimony. We're now proceeding to the nonpublic part of opening statements.
ALSUP: I hate to bring this up but... *sigh* My law clerk tells me there’s someone on Twitter pretending to be me.
ALSUP: I don’t have a Twitter account. I don’t.. I don’t do those things. For obvious reasons.
Courtroom cameras are off, everyone not covered by the protective order has been expelled from the main courtroom.
We're back on. The first witness — Waymo CEO John Krafcik — has been called to the stand.
Waymo starts off by asking him about his work experience, his education background, and the first car he bought 🙄
Before he came to Waymo, he was at TrueCar, and before that, Hyundai for ten years.
Counsel asked why he came to Google, which he's taking as an opportunity to pitch self-driving cars as a way to prevent car crashes
It sounds to me like a jury consultant suggested that the jurors might be resistant to self-driving tech as inherently dangerous and creepy
On how many people die in car crashes in the US: "That’s like a 737 crashing every hour of every day."
WAYMO: How does LIDAR work?
KRAFCIK: *sigh* It's... it's a rather complicated technology, but...
He describes it as "painting the world with beams of light" so that they can figure out where things are precisely.
WAYMO: How does Waymo ensure safety without anyone driving?
KRAFCIK: We’re driven by safety at Waymo.
this is almost as good as the time eric schmidt smugly stated that he was the fastest email replier in this company and that it was part of how he managed
WAYMO: Are you confident that Waymo's cars are safe?
KRAFCIK: Very confident.
Now asking about his kids. He describes his kids.

WAYMO: Would you put those kids in a driverless Waymo car?
KRAFCIK: Absolutely.
lol a jury consultant definitely wrote A Memo here
Fun testimony: Krafcik says Waymo has racked up 4 million real world miles of testing and has racked up "billions and billions" of miles with virtual testing
We're now watching a Waymo promo video from the Arizona pilot project
We.... are going to see so many promo videos, aren't we?
There's three cameras following three cars, which have Waymo employees as passengers. Yay the cars worked yay
The Chauffeur group photo again.

KRAFCIK: Anthony Levandowski on the far right.
WAYMO: Anthony’s on the far right with the hat on?
K: Yes.
WAYMO: Have you met Anthony Levandowski?
K: I have.

here we go
"He was an interesting character."
"He always had a little bit of disappointment. Not necessarily a bad thing. Something that would drive you to do more, to do better."
"I think it’s fair to say we had different points of view on safety."
For Pacifica, they added redundant steering and braking systems. "Anthony had a strong point of view that we didn’t need those redundancies."
omg they're going to make krafcik the safety-first dad and smear levandowski as the seatbelts-off teen
Krafcik woke up one day and Page emailed him to tell him that Levandowski had resigned.
Currently in evidentiary dogfight over which rule lets Krafcik can talk about the lunchtime phone call he had with Levandowski after he suddenly resigned
KRAFCIK: We didn’t have a good sense of what he was doing. At this point, based on the disappointment that I personally felt when he left without telling me, my perspective on him shifted dramatically. I went from considering him a friend to considering him an enemy.
KRAFCIK: … Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. So we needed to maintain that relationship.
Krafcik & Kalanick had a meeting in the summer of 2016.

KRAFCIK: Honestly it felt fairly empty. … I do remember one thing very vividly. At the time it didn’t seem in context or apropos of anything else that was said. Kalanick said, "We don’t give up 1% of the company lightly."
(Otto was acquired for approx 1% of Uber)
Witness has been passed to cross-exam. Uber is disciplining the witness for the statement that he hadn't heard anything about Otto getting acquired during the Kalanick meeting
In deposition:
UBER: Did Otto come up at this meeting?
KRAFCIK: Possible, I don’t, I don’t remember.
2015 email from Astro Teller who had been his predecessor at Chauffeur --
Larry was talking to me about Anthony wondering what the changes are that we lose him and wondering if there is any way that still makes sense for us to keep Anthony with us and engaged.

I think Larry is just worried about helping the competition.


: )
yes smiley face is in the original
Levandowski had a potential bonus of $120 million, the largest of anyone at Google.
Early January, Levandowski went over Krafcik's head and emailed Larry Page directly:

“Chaffeur is broken. We’re loosing our tech advantage fast."
(yes, "loosing")
"We don’t need redundant brakes & steering, or a fancy new car, we need better software.

To get to that better software faster we should deploy the first 1000 cars asap. I don’t understand why we are not doing that."
"Part of our team seems to be afraid to ship. Deploying now would show where our system is not working and push the team to fix it asap instead of inventing new things which I think are not needed."
Witness is now getting cross-examined about having lunch at Five Guys
Dmitri Dolgov email: "There are a lot of companies (Tesla, Apple, Uber, Toyota), that are stalking our folks, and they seem very willing to burn a lot of cash to try and catch up with us."
Uber is painting a picture of a team that is bleeding talent. I think they might try to position the case as Google trying to make an example out of Levandowski to prevent attrition
July 2017 email to Larry Page after losing another guy:

"FYI Sergey we lost another laser guy to Otto.
Our hiring freeze and the attractive SDC offers out there are definitely impacting us."
i'm not sure the ins and outs of labor scarcity / elite labor conditions in Silicon Valley are going to mean that much to the jury but personally I find this fascinating
Even with the long description of his wonderful kids
We're now getting a long list of employees lost to Otto.

UBER: Brian Celeste leaves too, is that correct?
KRAFCIK: Correct.
UBER: Russell Smith leaves too, is that correct?
KRAFCIK: Correct.

And it keeps going.
Krafcik says that their team was hundreds of people so these aren't actually that many lost. Emails suggest he was a little concerned tho!
Uber has gotten Krafcik to say that at the time they filed the lawsuit, he was not aware of what the trade secrets at issue even were
KRAFCIK: At the time there were more than eight.

Skating dangerously to saying that there were originally over a hundred, which I believe is not supposed to be presented as evidence (but could come in through the backdoor)
Cross examination is done. We're now on to redirect.
Waymo asks about Chris Urmson.

KRAFCIK: He left and started his own company.
WAYMO: Has Waymo filed a lawsuit against him for misappropriation of trade secrets?
KRAFCIK: No we did not.
Now going down a list of many of the engineers they lost and asking if Waymo sued them or accused them of misappropriation of trade secrets. No, no, no, and no, etc.
WAYMO: Did you file a lawsuit against Apple accusing them of misappropriation of trade secrets?
WAYMO: Tesla?
WAYMO: Toyota?
Now we're in recross.

UBER: None of those companies are directly competing with Waymo in the ridesharing business, are they?

Krafcik waffles, Uber rephrases. Krafcik affirms none of those companies are currently in the ridesharing business.
We got a re-redirect and a re-recross lol but it wasn't very interesting. Re-recross did mention Elon Musk specifically.
Krafcik has been dismissed as a witness.
Dmitri Dolgov is next. There's only 10 minutes left (Alsup never goes over 1 pm), so Waymo is going to try to speed through this and make the best of it.
Dmitri Dolgov is VP of Engineering at Waymo, has worked at Google for a while.

Lmao he got a question about his kids too
While discussing his educational background, Waymo asks him to explain DARPA to the jury
Dolgov was brought on to Google specifically to work on self-driving cars — Project Chauffeur. In those early days, no one else (in the private sector) was working on this tech.
gosh i hope they bring out toy cars and smush them together for the jury
Dolgov is explaining how self-driving car technology works with slides that show 3D models of cars in a parking lot and brightly colored lines and boxes to indicate obstacles and trajectories
Lawyer asks how Waymo's self-driving car works and Dolgov rushes through a sentence like he's extremely tired of answering this question: "The cars take all the information that’s around and predict the future and combine that with their understanding of the rules of driving an
1 pm. Jury is done for the day. Dolgov will be back tomorrow. Doing some motions practice now
We're fighting out some docs including the Stroz report, which Uber says is hearsay upon hearsay
Is the other document the Jacobs letter? didn't catch.
Alsup tells them to brief him by 6 am tomorrow and says "that's why you're paid $1000 an hour, to stay up all night."
It's only the first day of Waymo v. Uber and Travis Kalanick already looks ridiculous…
PS check the story stream for ongoing coverage…
The worst quote from the exhibits shown today is “laser is the sauce,” followed closely by the enigmatic “pound of flesh” that Travis Kalanick wants…
Something I *am* really curious about is whether employees of big companies (like Google/Alphabet!) are now feeling uneasy about leaving and starting their own ventures
Slight inaccuracy in how I quoted him here -- he meant globally.
Because, yes, as others pointed out it is incorrect for US statistics
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