Interview with Werner Vogels

posted in Media on September 25th, 2008

Werner Vogels, the chief technical officer of, 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.

The video clip of this interview is coming soon!


This video interview was created in collaboration with Joitske Hulsebosch

Interview: Marcel Smit

posted in Events on May 2nd, 2008

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:

The Next Web '08: Marcel Smit

Click on the image to see the interview, it is roughly 20 megs in size.


Comments Off

Interview: Stefan Silke and Rachid El Matili

posted in Events on May 2nd, 2008

During the third edition of the The Next Web conference, I had the good luck of meeting two recruits, Stefan Silke and Rachid El Matili, from The White Door recruitement agency.

Now, before you skip this video, let me tell you that any (cliche) prejudices you might have are totally ungrounded, at least, as far as these two guys go. Both Stefan and Rachid seem like the kind of people you want to work with when you are looking for a job, but please, see for yourself:

The Next Web '08: Stefan Silke

Click on the image to see the showcase, it is roughly 8 megs in size.


The Next Web '08: Rachid El Matili

Click on the image to see the showcase, it is roughly 12 megs in size.


Comments Off

Interview: Kristoffer Lawson

posted in Events on April 30th, 2008

Kristoffer Lawson, CEO of SCRED, a financial management application, took the time to answer some questions about his likes and dislikes as far as the web is concerned:

The Next Web '08: Kristoffer Lawson

Click on the image to see the showcase, it is roughly 6 megs in size.


On a personal note: I tried SCRED and it is a great way of managing expenses in a low-profile way. Give it a try!

Comments Off

Showcase: Twingly

posted in Events on April 30th, 2008

Martin Källström from Twingly sat down with me during the conference to provide some insight into the things that Twingly does and how it prevents (or at least: hopes to prevent) spam from taking over the system:

The Next Web '08: Twingly

Click on the image to see the showcase, it is roughly 8 megs in size.


Comments Off