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PLU alumnus, Android co-founder uses his marketing expertise to help students land jobs

Posted by: / March 2, 2016
Nick Sears ('87, '95), co-founder of Android, speaks Feb. 22 as part of the Executive Leadership Series at Pacific Lutheran University. (Photo: John Froschauer/PLU)

Image: Nick Sears (’87, ’95), co-founder of Android, speaks Feb. 22 as part of the Executive Leadership Series at Pacific Lutheran University. (Photo: John Froschauer/PLU)

By Samantha Lund '16
PLU Marketing & Communications

TACOMA, WASH. (March 2, 2016)- Co-founder of Android and Pacific Lutheran University graduate Nick Sears took the technology world by storm when he teamed up with inventors Andy Rubin and Chris White to market and launch Android, one of the world’s top operating systems for smartphones. Now, he hopes to team up with students across the country and help market their skills when entering the job force for the first time.

Sears (’87, ’95) worked at AT&T after graduating from PLU, eventually moving to T-Mobile where he became vice president of product marketing and management until 2005. Then he shifted to Android, where he took on the role as co-founder and chief strategy officer before Google purchased the operating system in July 2005.

Sears remained involved at Google, working on Android product development and marketing. By every account, Sears spent more than seven years creating and perfecting the modern-day smartphone. He credits PLU with helping him get there.

“I came to PLU to study business,” Sears said, “but I left with a lot more than a (Bachelor of Business Administration).”

Now, another former Lute has inspired his most recent project – an untitled book that aims to help students promote themselves, get jobs and start building their careers. Sears spoke at the Executive Leadership Series, hosted by the School of Business, on Feb. 22 to give PLU students a sneak peek.

The series supports business programs at PLU by giving industry and organizational leaders a platform to share their expertise and insight.

“I spent my last three years at Google as a project advisor and mentor to younger employees and it changed my perspective,” Sears said. Even though he still loves to create and market products, it isn’t as meaningful to him as it once was, Sears said. “Teaching provides an opportunity to help another person improve their life.”

Last year, former Lute Andre Tacuyan ’15 approached Sears for advice. Tacuyan had recently accepted a job at Google and asked Sears how to market himself and make sure he was ready for the career move.

Tacuyan impressed Sears, who reassured the new Google employee that he would do a great job. But it got Sears thinking that there were plenty of students entering the job market who needed similar help and advice. That inspired Sears to spend the next few years offering just that.

“Most people need a little bit of help and I’m going to use everything I’ve learned throughout my career to provide it,” Sears said.

Sears said his career failures are most important to share with new professionals. Failure is a key part of success, Sears said, because it taught him to project confidence through hard work and challenges.

“Most successful people have struggled and failed many times,” Sears said. “Failure is painful and it hurts, but it teaches you the lessons that you need the most.”

Teaching students how to enter the job force is Sears’ driving inspiration for most of his projects. His recently-launched company, SeriousBiz, strives to help students and new employees discover, build and navigate their careers. In addition to his upcoming book, Sears is also looking to host video tutorials and provide feedback in a way that simulates one-on-one coaching with the business-savvy advisor, even without face-to-face interaction.

“I also have two more book ideas that I want to write for fun,” Sears said. “That’s enough to keep me busy for at least five years.”

Sears’ new book will be available in the fall and the first thousand students to sign up at SeriousBiz will receive it for free. Sears will also teach a core management class in a School of Business master’s program next fall.