From Engineer To Entrepreneur: Lessons from 40 Years of Coding

(Time flies when you’re having fun!)


In this talk I will go over some of the key events in my life, which took a young nerd from a farm in the Bavarian Forest to a serial entrepreneur in a Castle in the Silicon Valley.

My family roots back to a small farm in the countryside of post-war Germany, but despite economic challenges, education was always top priority. Through my uncle I was exposed, and fascinated by Computers very early in my life. Before the age of 10 I already wrote BASIC programs. By age 16 I was writing (and teaching) Assembly Code and at age 20 I was the winner of the national German Science Faire. In my 20s I founded several companies, immigrated to Silicon Valley and invented “IoT”. Well, and got my MSCS degree.

Since then I have worked at SUN, Motorola and Google, and co-founded 3 start-ups. And I still enjoy writing code almost daily.

Fundamentally, life is about a never ending series of decisions and problems, whereas engineering is a framework and mindset for making decisions and solving problems. Computers, Open Source and the Internet, when properly harnessed, give us unimaginably powerful tools to solve any problems.

In this talk I want to give an insight into the constant passion of my life, coding, and some select “behind the scenes” anecdotes of how science, technology, friendships and sometimes chance encounters have shaped my career.


Christian G. Kurzke holds several Masters Degrees, CS/EE from University Erlangen, Germany and an MBA from Santa Clara University. As a lifelong proponent of Open Source Software he has spent most of his career developing frameworks and applications for Unix based systems, from embedded microcontrollers to traditional servers and “Cloud Infrastructure”.

In the 90’s, Christian developed the first truly “embedded Web Server” for VxWorks, the real time OS which among other things powers many industrial controllers, and the Mars Rovers.

In the 2000’s while working for Motorola, he brought Linux and Java to the embedded world, creating what we would call today “Smart Phones”.
After joining Google/Android in 2010 Christian helped to bring Android (== Linux & Java) to “Smart TVs” and cars (Android Auto).
Since 2016 Christian has worked with several Startups at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Vehicles, and he is now a Principal at ADL Ventures.

When Christian is not busy writing code or starting start-up’s, he enjoys building cars.

Time and Location

10/29/2019 1:30PM @ MH 225