2019 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
Jeff Holden (BS CS ’91, MS CS ‘92) has had a career filled with innovation. After graduation, Jeff joined D.E. Shaw & Co., LP as a software engineer, under the supervision of Jeff Bezos (now CEO and President of Amazon). Together, they created Shaw's third-market strategy (the off-board trading of listed stocks), which launched in less than a year. Holden then went on to build a proprietary middleware system and application framework upon which he created a number of different applications, including a client trading system for smaller partners, a real-time ticker with a UI for traders, a trade capture-and-execution system, and many others.
In 1997, Holden joined Amazon. Early on, he led the development of Amazon's supply chain and fulfillment technology, evolving it from, literally, a shell script, a command-line binary, and a modem to the architecture still largely in place today. For the latter half of his tenure there, Holden was the Senior Vice President of Consumer Applications, Worldwide. He was responsible for the worldwide consumer website experience, including personalization, ordering, community, search, automated merchandising, and online traffic (Associates, SEM/SEO). One of his proudest accomplishments during this period was leading the development of Amazon Prime.
Holden left Amazon in 2006 to start his own company, Pelago. Its flagship product, Whrrl, was designed to apply Amazon-like recommendation technology to the real world in order to help people discover and experience the best their cities have to offer. Before moving to Uber in 2014, Jeff also was the Senior Vice President of Product Management at Groupon (2011-2014).
As Uber's Chief Product Officer, Holden founded the Advanced Technology Group that developed Uber’s self-driving technology. He also led the development of Uber Eats from its inception, spearheaded the Uber Elevate urban air transportation initiative, and created Uber’s AI Labs.