Aicha Evans is the CEO of Zoox. For those who are curious, Zoox is a private company intent on developing a self-driving car for the self-driving taxi market. Something that has managed to catch the interest of Amazon.
1. Studied At George Washington University
Evans studied at George Washington University. Its namesake supported the founding of a national university in the U.S. capital throughout his later career, with the result that he chose to leave shares in the Potomac Company in his will for the purpose of endowing said school. However, that plan fell through because the company ran into financial issues, which is why the necessary funds had to be raised through other means. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the resulting George Washington University is very involved in politics, as shown by how it is one of the biggest feeder schools for the United States's diplomatic corps.
2. Not a Co-Founder
It is very common for tech start-ups to be run by either their founder or one of their co-founders. In fact, Zoox was once run by its co-founder Tim Kentley-Klay, who was caught by surprise when the other co-founder and the Board of Directors ousted him. In any case, Evans wasn't someone who was involved with Zoox from the very start. Instead, she was an outsider who was invited in.
3. Long-Time Veteran of the Tech Industry
It seems safe to say that Evans was invited in because of her status as a long-time veteran of the tech industry. This can be seen in how she spent more than a decade's time at the Intel Corporation. During which, Evans served in a wide range of roles with a wide range of responsibilities. That kind of experience tends to be very useful for start-ups, not least because the latter's lack of resources means that they can't afford to make as many mistakes as their better-established counterparts.
4. Was the Chief Strategy Officer of Intel Corporation
On top of being a Senior Vice President, Evans was the Intel Corporation's Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) before she headed on over to Zoox. Generally speaking, a CSO is exactly what they sound like in that they help the CEO with coming up with strategic initiatives. After which, they also contribute to the communication, the implementation, and the monitoring of their plans.
5. Leads Something that Has Managed to Stand Out
There are a lot of parties interested in self-driving vehicles at out there. As a result, one self-driving car company can seem much the same as another self-driving car company. However, Evans leads a company that has managed to stand out to some extent. Generally speaking, self-driving car companies are focused on applying their technologies to existing cars. However, Zoox is intent on designing a self-driving car for the self-driving taxi market from the ground up, which some interested individuals have considered to be one step ahead of many of its counterparts.
6. Evans Wanted to Work Somewhere with Societal Impact
Evans was happy with her position at Intel Corporation. As a result, she was only willing to head somewhere else if her conditions were met. One, she had to be capable of getting along with the founder as well as the employees. Two, she had to be capable of taking the job without having to move her family. Three, she had to join up with something with the promise of making a societal impact. No one knows the full extent of how self-driving cars will change society. However, it seems safe to say that their widespread use will be sending out waves once the relevant technologies have been perfected.
7. Has Experience with Combining Hardware and Software
Fundamentally, Zoox's mission is about the integration of hardware with software. After all, the hardware would be the self-driving car whereas the software would be the programs responsible for running the self-driving car. Fortunately, Evans had experience with this kind of thing from her time at the Intel Corporation. Moreover, she has experience interacting with the full range of stakeholders that can be involved in such processes, which are by no means limited to just the employees and the shareholders.
8. Responsible For Turning the Relevant Technologies into a Product
In recent times, Evans has been focused on overseeing the efforts to turn the relevant technologies into a marketable product, which tends to be a very challenging step for start-ups. It is interesting to note that Zoox's intentions in this regard seem to be relatively modest in nature. For instance, it isn't intent on producing a self-driving car that can be sold to every kind of customer with every kind of need. Instead, they are focused on producing a self-driving car that can serve as a self-driving taxi and nothing but a self-driving taxi within a relatively limited range of markets, which presumably makes it much easier for it to fine-tune its creation until it has something that it can sell.
9. Now Being Eyed By Amazon
Neither Zoox nor Amazon has confirmed it, but there has been a report that Zoox is being eyed as a potential acquisition for Amazon. Apparently, Zoox has become a subject of interest for multiple parties, with the result that Evans and the rest of the company's leadership are now evaluating them to see which one suits them the most.
10. The Future of Zoox Is Unclear In the Event of a Successful Acquisition
If the acquisition goes through, it is unclear what the fate of Zoox would be. The general line of thought is that Amazon's main motivation for acquiring self-driving car companies is to introduce such technologies to its transportation processes, thus enabling it to slash some of its biggest expenses. However, it isn't unthinkable for Zoox to continue with its intended product even if it gets bought out, particularly since it is so focused on a specific application in a way that many of its counterparts are not.
Written by Allen Lee
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