How one startup founder got former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to join his advisory board by proving him wrong

OTOY CEO Jules Urbach is a master at impressing tech and Hollywood bigshots enough to convince them to sit on his company’s advisory board. For those unfamiliar with the company, OTOY is a cloud graphics startup that is heavily involved in virtual reality and 3D, and was recently tapped for a secret project with Jon Stewart and HBO.

One look at OTOY’s board and you’ll see it’s no stranger to big names, with current board members including:

  • Eric Schmidt, Alphabet’s Chairman and former Google CEO.
  • Sam Palmisano, former IBM CEO.
  • Ari Emanuel, one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood (the “Entourage” character of Ari Gold was based on him) and CEO of William Morris Endeavour.
  • Brendan Eich, the inventor of computer technology JavaScript, which powers a ton of websites today. Eich was ousted as CEO of Mozilla last year after being criticised for donating to an anti-gay-marriage initiative in California.

How does Urbach do it?

He says his secret is usually simply showing them technology they didn’t even know was possible, or that wildly exceeds their expectations. That was certainly the case with Eric Schmidt, Urbach says.

Ari Emanuel, who has known Urbach for a decade, introduced him to Schmidt. He showed Schmidt their rendering engine and the Google CEO immediately said he needed to be involved in it. “I didn’t know this existed,” Schmidt said, according to Urbach.

Schmidt was particularly impressed because OTOY’s technology ran counter to one of his own predictions. Urbach says Schmidt had gone on record saying 90% of all computing would soon move to the web-based cloud, but that the last 10% holdout would be high-end graphics. Now Schmidt had seen that OTOY was already moving graphics into the cloud.

That was a big deal to Schmidt. When he joined OTOY’s advisory board in 2013, he wrote that he saw OTOY’s technology as marking the “tipping point where the web replaces the PC as the dominant computing platform of the future.”

NOW WATCH: Google’s self-driving car has a huge problem

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.