It all started when...
Lindsay was building a marketplace company, One ilk, and looking for a work mentor. Werner, the CTO and VP of the largest marketplace company in the world, Amazon, decided to step-in.
After vetting One ilk, he suggested Lindsay shadow him for a year to better understand how you run a company at Amazon’s scale. She agreed. Throughout the year of shadowing, they had many debates about the ethical responsibility of individuals and companies within the technology community.
Their mental sparring sessions led Werner to propose they combine forces and start a company to solve for unethical realities in the technology community. Summer 2017, they co-founded Sapientia. A company focused on technology and ethics with impact.
Who are Lindsay and Werner?
If you’re into bikes, purposeful design, dogs, human rights, or gruelling adventures, you might get along. She spent the first part of her professional life working off Parliament Hill in Canada helping change federal legislation in support of basic human rights and the cessation of genocide.
Changing federal legislation is slow. Craving pace, Lindsay left the hill and entered the technology world. This translated to freelancing as a curator and consultant, which involved building and leading teams, often internationally, and executing a slew of projects themed to human rights policy. Some of her collaborators included the Canadian Government, TED, Google, the World Economic Forum (WEF), Black+Blum, and more.
She sat on the board of Open North, an organization that uses open data and technology to engage citizens in the political process. Then moved to Indonesia to help run three companies. Upon returning to Canada, she was pulled into the WEF’s Global Shapers community, and led their first international project involving over 250 cities.
Following this, she moved to New York, where she started One ilk. On the side, she helped launch the first global Makers Digest, and curated New York’s publication for a year. She’s also a self-taught designer, has created products from concept to market, including bags, rugs, shoes, digital fun, and supported a complete gutting and re-design of an old loft in New York. Now she’s building Sapientia, and trying to spend less time in planes.
Dr. Werner Vogels
A man with many layers. Werner spends much of his energy driving currently driving
He’s best known for his role as the CTO and VP of Amazon. However, this barely scratches the surface of Werner’s skills, fixations, and way, in life.
The first part of Werner’s career was spent in health care, where he worked in radiology and imaging to help diagnose cancer patients. Understandably, the environment was intense. Eventually, it was too heavy for too long, and he decided to go back to isolated brain time (school) to continue studying computer science.
Working in Lisbon followed, then becoming a professor at Cornell. Randomly, he decided to accept a speaking request from Amazon. He went, with skepticism, and after seeing the tools they were using to build things, he was thrown. He wanted to build things with their tools. Jeff saw and understood the machine that is Werner’s brain. Shortly after this, he asked him to join Amazon. Upon the guidance of one of his closest friends and work mentors, Jim Gray, Werner decided to accept the offer.
He went-on to help create, what we now know as ‘the cloud’. This tool made the machine that is Amazon scale in ways it didn’t understand was possible. Beyond Werner’s engineering muscle, he has a deep fixation with motorcycles, exploring remote places, people, and culture, music (he’s Dutch;), homeless dogs, photography, his two tigress lady offspring, and more.
Our point? Sometimes people make assumptions about what it means to be an executive at the third largest company in the world. Werner is an embodied reminder that people are more than the title they hold, and it’s possible to do it all. Work at the large company, steer the large company, and also choose to direct your energy into healing entities, such as Sapientia.
He is currently the CTO and VP of Amazon, where he drives the company’s technology vision. A vision anchored in supporting Amazon’s customers, and helping the company innovate.
at a global scale.
the innovation of Amazon’s customer
where he is responsible for driving the company’s technology vision, which is to continuously enhance the innovation on behalf of Amazon’s customers at a global scale.
Prior to joining Amazon, he worked as a researcher at Cornell University where he was a principal investigator in several research projects that target the scalability and robustness of mission-critical enterprise computing systems. He has held positions of Research Engineer, VP of Technology and CTO in companies that handled the transition of academic technology into industry.
Vogels holds a Ph.D. from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and has authored many articles for journals and conferences, most of them on distributed systems technologies for enterprise computing.