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5 Ways to Validate a Business Idea, Right Now

Don't let your day job or lack of capital stop you from finding and testing a business idea. Here's how.
Last year, I embarked upon a personal challenge to validate a business idea in 30 days. To make it even more difficult, it was a random idea chosen by my readers. They asked me to do it without using my existing website, traffic and business connections and without spending more than 20 hours per week on the project. On top of that, I limited myself to spending no more than $500 validating this idea. The experiment was a success.In just two weeks, I built an email list of 565 subscribers without having an actual website. Then, I reached out to a handful of those subscribers and pre-sold 12 copies of a book that didn't even exist yet, all in less than 30 days. I wrote about the experiment in real-time with in-depth weekly updates, successes, failures and lessons learned along the way, right here in my validation challenge. Today, I want to share with you the five most effect…

Google is leading a 'chip development effort' that could turn the heat up on Apple

Google Chromebook Pixel guts
A new job listing shows Google is seeking a "multimedia chip architect" who can "lead a chip development effort" and "work with other engineers to take chip to product shipment."

The phrasing of the job posting suggests Google is about to get a lot more serious about designing and perhaps building its own processors, following in Apple's footsteps.

The job posting comes from the company's Pixel team, which recently announced its high-end productivity tablet, thePixel Ca person close to the matter tells Business Insider.
The chip effort suggests a significant expansion of Google's ambitions in the hardware business, giving it a deeper-level of control over its products as it competes more directly with Apple, which develops everything from the silicon to the software found in iPhones and iPads.

"Normally, I wouldn't read too much into a job posting because often system designers need people with chip-level expertise," chip analyst Jim McGregor tells Business Insider.
"However, with the trend towards vertical integration, especially at Microsoft and Apple, it wouldn't surprise me if Google developed their own chips, especially for Android productivity tablets to compete with the Surface Pro and iPad Pro."

Google declined to comment on this job posting or its chip plans.

A better chip for handheld devices?
McGregor explains that it's common for companies like Google to have chip experts on staff to come up with and evaluate potential performance-improving features that they want chip-making partners to include. Google also spearheads various efforts, including the WebM video standard, that requires a constant stream of new intellectual property that must be included in chips made by other companies.

Still, the wording in the new job posting, recent comments by Google executives, and Google's expanding ranks of engineers with chip design skills hint that the internet company may be planning a more serious foray into the chip business.

The chip architect job listing specifically refers to "image processing, video processing, stabilization."

Those suggest that the chip in intended for camera-related tasks, and specifically for video capture rather than just video playback, said several chip experts that Business Insider spoke to.

The reference to "stabilization" points to a handheld device in particular.

"If you look at where Apple and Qualcomm and all the other guys who are designing next generation chips, or touting their current chips, they all talk about how they are trying to improve the camera technology. And a big part of camera technology is being able to stabilize the image," said Nathan Brookwood, a semiconductor expert with research and consulting firm Insight 64.

 Sundar Pichai
If Google were to go forward and make its own chip in house, it could create a full-fledged processor similar to Apple's A9 chip found inside the latest iPhones, or focus on a chip with a more limited set of capabilities that could be integrated or perhaps function alongside another company's processor.

Why would Google want to make its own chips?
Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, has boasted that the Pixel C is the first tablet that Google built "end to end."

By that, he means that Google created the gadget on its own, rather than partnering with PC makers like Samsung or LG as it does with the Nexus line of devices.

But Google still relies on partners for the innards of the devices.

The current Pixel C tablet device, which is slated to ship later this year, features an NVIDA Tegra X1 processor. The 256-core X1 is an advanced graphics processor, well-suited for video and data-crunching. Google's existing Pixel laptop devices feature Intel chips with integrated graphics capabilities.

While those chips are considered top of the line, Google is certainly playing close attention to Apple's success in going it alone on chips.

In a recent blog post, technologist and startup founder Steve Charney wrote that when Apple created an in-house chip design team after the first iPhone shipped it helped "create amassive moat between itself and an entire industry."

Since beginning to design its own chips, Apple has:

Consolidated its supply chain and stopped paying third-party license fees for chips
Hyper-optimized its A9 chips
Gained negotiating power with suppliers
Created products that competitors can't simply copy, because they can't replicate the chip capabilities
Attracted star talent to work on its designs
And as AppleInsider put it earlier this year, "Google and Microsoft have already reached a point where they have few options for assembling Android or Windows tablets that can compete with Apple's latest iPad at similar price points, and the chip supply for advanced phones is also down to a trickle."

Google would have to sell a lot of Pixels

Pixel C

Google's Pixel C tablet
The biggest argument against Google creating its own chip is that unlike Apple, Google does not currently produce enough machines to cover the expense of creating the chip.

Given the costs and complexity associated with the semiconductor business, the fact that Google deems it worthwhile to do in-house chip development could signal that it has plans to aggressively ramp the amount of Pixel devices it produces.

Brookwood estimates that Apple poured between $50 to 100 million into research and development to make the A9 chip. But Apple amortizes those costs over hundreds of millions of devices. It ends up being an easy equation.

"If you're Google, unless you sell tens of millions of units per device, then the math gets painful," he says.

No one expects Google's forthcoming Pixel tablet to ship in anything close to those kinds of unit volumes. But Google has already expanded the Pixel line from laptops to tablets, and the company may have ambitious plans to become a more prominent player in the consumer electronics and hardware businesses - just look at Google's Chromecast TV dongle, which has sold 20 million devices.

If Google thinks it can become that big with tablets, handhelds, and laptops, then perhaps making its own chips isn't such a tough equation after all.

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