Tech Moves: Startup vet Bryan Zug joins Amazon’s UX team; Allen School of Computer Science adds two big players; and more

Bryan Zug speaks about one of his ventures, animation studio What Now? Exactly! (We Make Seattle Photo via Facebook)

Bryan Zug is a familiar face in the Seattle startup world. He’s an entrepreneur and product design expert himself, but he’s also an avid adviser and organizer of the startup user experience (UX) community

Now, Zug is taking a step outside that world, taking a full-time gig at Amazon, where he’ll work the on UX for the company’s fulfillment centers.

Zug told GeekWire in an email interview that he was attracted to working at Amazon because of the company’s startup attitude.

“I’ve been in the startup and entrepreneurial world for the last 10-12 years. During that time, we’ve seen Amazon become one of the few enterprises that have scaled while keeping lean startup thinking alive,” he said.

“And especially over the last three years, we’ve seen a lot of delightful UX come from Amazon design teams – so many people I respect in the Seattle UX/design community have ended up at Amazon. That confirmed for me that they are investing in building great UX cultures that know how to design and ship delightful things.”

Zug joins the company after years of working as an independent consultant and holding various roles at Seattle-based startups. He most recently worked as the director for customer experience at Techstars Seattle and UP Global and founded and served as product manager for Bootstrapper Studios.

Zug is also involved in startup community ventures including Galvanize, Startup Weekend, Ignite and more, and told GeekWire he plans to stay active in those volunteer roles.

At Amazon, he will be working on solving UX challenges at the company’s growing network of fulfillment centers.

“Our society is changing at a pace that is unprecedented in human history. As the son of a blue collar family who grew up in the economically challenged desert of San Bernardino, I think a lot about dichotomies like digital vs. physical and info work vs. manual labor,” Zug said. “Working on projects that involve all of that, with all of the challenges that come with them – well, that’s my kind of fun.”

Jennifer Mankoff. (UW Photo)

— The University of Washingon’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering announced two new additions to its faculty this week: computer-human interaction experts Jennifer Mankoff and computer science professor Jon Froehlich.

Mankoff joins the department from Carnegie Mellon University’s Human Computer Interaction Institute, where she led a lab focused on making technology creation accessible to everyday people and communities.

Her research focuses on finding scientific and technological solutions to challenges of accessibility, health, and sustainability, with a particular focus on 3D printing as a tool. At UW, she will serve as the Richard E. Ladner Endowed Professor in Computer Science & Engineering.

“I visited UW feeling that it would take a lot for me to leave my wonderful colleagues and position at CMU,” Mankoff said in a UW release. “However, the wonderful welcome, fascinating research, many opportunities for collaboration, and warm community in the Allen School and DUB won me over.”

Jon Froehlich. (UW Photo)

Froehlich is returning to UW, where he earned his Ph.D., after spending five years on the faculty of the computer science department at the University of Maryland. There, he founded and directed the university’s Makeability lab, which focused on developing interactive technology.

He will serve as an associate professor at the Allen School.

“I am delighted to rejoin the Allen School — a place that helped shape and support my desire to work on applied problems with social relevance,” Froehlich said in the release. “The school has a reputation not just of research excellence and creative innovation, but of collegiality and a unique collaborative culture.”

Mankoff and Froehlich are among several new additions to the UW’s computer science and information departments. They are accompanied by Anind K. Dey, who will serve as the dean of the Information School; Leah Findlater, who will join the faculty of the Human Centered Design and Engineering Department; and  Alexis Hiniker, who will join the faculty of the Information School.

Telved Devlet. (Avvo Photo)

Avvo, a Seattle-based startup that offers a legal services technology platform, hired Microsoft vet Telved Devlet as VP of client services.

Devlet joins Avvo after a thirteen-year streak at Microsoft, where he most recently served as the company’s director of business program management. He previously led sales and strategy for various divisions of the company, including MSN and emerging brands.

At Avvo, Devlet will lead the startup’s client services team, partnering with attorneys to maximize their presence through Avvo’s online marketing tools.

“I’m excited to join Avvo and to work at the intersection of legal and technology, enabling lawyers and consumers to more easily connect through our platform,” Devlet said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to implementing new advertising strategies and building next generation technology to make that experience even better.”

— The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center announced the addition of three new members to its board of trustees this week, several with ties to the tech community.

Left to right: Bob Herbold, Phil Kent, and Leigh Morgan. (Fred Hutch Photos)

The first is Bob Herbold, who is most well known for his seven-year stint as Microsoft’s COO and EVP in the late 90s. He is now the managing director of consulting firm Herbold Group LLC and also a Fred Hutch donor.

Also among the new additions is Phil Kent, the former CEO of Turner Broadcasting and COO of CNN. Kent now serves as the chairman of music video giant Vevo, a joint project of Sony Music and Universal Music Group.

They are also joined by Leigh Morgan, the former pharmaceutical executive and COO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“We are well on track to deliver new cures for many cancers in the next decade, and I believe that Bob, Phil, and Leigh are going to make important contributions to the Hutch’s efforts,” Fred Hutch president Dr. Gary Gilliland said in a press release. “With millions of lives at stake, the urgency of this mission has drawn them and other talented, dedicated people to join the Hutch and advance our work to eliminate the suffering caused by cancer.”

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