Werner Vogels, the chief technical officer of amazon.com, has spent the last five years developing his company’s vision of technology.
Prior to joining Amazon, Vogels worked as a computer science researcher at Cornell University, where he investigated the scalability and robustness of mission-critical enterprise computer systems.
He was kind enough to answer us when we stopped by Thursday to ask him “What’s up?”
What brings you to PICNIC?
“First of all, it was great to get an invitation to speak here,” Werner says. His driving force is a deep-set curiosity in the Dutch start-up culture: “I want to get a better understanding of how this interesting mix of creativity and everything is working, because Amsterdam is unique in this sense.”
What do you hope to gain from PICNIC?
“I don’t know yet, I like to be surprised and I am really expecting to be wowed.” There are myriad innovative things going on here on the lawns of Picnic. To get a better understanding of the whole scene, Vogels is going to hold a brainstorming session with young students, who he finds to be “usually bursting with ideas.”
But Amazon’s chief technical officer also hopes to give something back and share some of his own ideas with the next generation.
Business is changing
The way businesses are created is changing radically: whereas you used to need a lots of money up front to become successful, entrepreneurs have increasing access to both expertise and a range of services to build up their idea. “Everyone is trying to be the next YouTube or Facebook”, Vogels says, but many companies fail to build a sustainable business. “I will be bringing some good start-ups on stage and talk to them,” he said, to highlight the challenges they faced and show what they did to create the so-called long tail.
A green(er) Amazon
When asked what Amazon is doing in terms of becoming a greener company, Vogels said that the world’s largest eTailer has been optimizing their fulfillment process a lot in recent years, moving away from plastic and toward better, more sustainable packaging as well as giving customers more insight into the carbon footprint of their order.
Also, Vogels notes, Amazon is making their data centers a lot more efficient, which has the welcome side effect of becoming more green.
This video interview was created in collaboration with Joitske Hulsebosch
Before the news broke though, I had the opportunity to sit down with Tijs and get the super-quick lowdown on what Twistory actually is:
Setting up an (un)conference means a lot of work, lots of stress and, up until the point where it is actually over: one big headache and no matter how well you plan for contingencies, things can still go south really quick.
Dorien Aerts however, managed to pull it all off, with great results. I sat down with her during the (un)conference and talked about what the mobile Webcamp actually is and, more importantly: what her expectations were:
Alright so, The Next Web is all about, no pun intended: the next web, which, basically, comes down to web 2.0 technology.
One of the presentations during the conference highlighted some features of web 3.0 (and, incidentally: web 4.0) and while most of them where rather far-away, one technology stuck with me: Natural Language Search.
Imagine my luck, when I found someone who worked with said technology: Marcel Smit works for Q-Go, a profitable natural language search company with a huge client base (in excess of fifty million) and very useful technology.
They say that one should keep the best for the last and while I am not sure if this is the best interview of all, it certainly was the one I enjoyed taping the most. Why? Because I love the possibilities this technology brings: