ted_square twitter_cut zombie_square android_jb_shipgift mud140 io_badge_13

Hi. I’m Jennie.

Greetings from San Francisco!

I’m on a quest for adventure, and maybe you’ll join me?

Most recently, I spent a three-and-a-half-year stint as a product manager at Google, where I juggled people, decisions and deadlines and occasionally travelled the world. I shipped Google Play Games at Google I/O earlier this year, focused on developer experience. After leaving Google, I spent some time working on personal gaming, data and hardware projects to scratch all my pent-up creative itches, while consulting for some Bay Area startups. I’m now on the founding team at a startup in an interesting space, straddling data and people. We’re looking for more engineers! (Isn’t everyone?)

Before I moved to Silicon Valley from my tea-drinking homeland, I founded a startup in Edinburgh aimed at understanding the world’s emotions, based on my PhD research into natural language processing technology. Funded by 4iP, our most successful product was FestBuzz which catalogued the crowd’s opinion of Edinburgh Festival shows using Twitter and a dash of magic.

I’m an unabashed nerd with a handful of computer science degrees, specialising in machine learning and data. My undergrad thesis tried to solve the unsolvable (a reinforcement learning approach to playing Go); my master’s thesis tried to solve the already-mostly-solved (bayesian junk mail filtering), and my PhD thesis.. well, you just read above where that ended up.

One of my nerdy flags is that of a long-term gamer. Games got me into programming back when I was a six-year-old armed with curiosity and free time. Since then, I’ve gotten a lot older, worked in several roles in the games industry, and had a wonderful year playing Halo 2 competitively. I helped ship City of Villains and Guild Wars: Factions on the NCSoft community team, then switched to WoW and helped run a world-first guild, planning and writing raid strategies. I’m also a veteran GDC volunteer, GDC Next volunteer lead, and ran the IGDA Summit volunteer program in 2013.

My interests include fitness and learning. I am an active Crossfitter and impulsively run obstacle races for fun. I’ve also been dabbling in improv comedy for the last 10 years, and am currently taking a performance class with BATS Improv. In fall 2013 I completed Stanford’s Public Speaking course and I’ve taken a bunch of classes both at and outside Google, including Berkeley Haas PM Business Training, which is essentially a mini-MBA. I actively mentor beginning programmers, usually in Python development.

In my copious spare time I hang out with my dog, organise women in technology events, attend hackathons and drink excellent tea.

Sound at all interesting? Let’s chat. (My email address is mail@ this domain.)

(The TED talk was “Improvising Happiness”, a 3 minute TEDU spot at TEDGlobal 2011. How can improv make you happier? I’ll tell you over a brew.)

Find me on:

Jennie Lees, 2013