CTO Podcast
CTO Podcast
From Code to Cattle: Parallels Between Technology and Farming with Jennifer Cwagenberg
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From Code to Cattle: Parallels Between Technology and Farming with Jennifer Cwagenberg

Etienne is very excited to welcome Jennifer Cwagenberg, Head of Engineering at Protopia AI, to the podcast for an engaging discussion spanning technology, farming, and even the intersection of the two. Jennifer shares insights into her unique lifestyle as a technologist and baroness of Texas, where she navigates the balance between rural tranquility and technological challenges.

Their conversation delves into Jennifer's engineering journey, from her telecom beginnings to her diverse roles at companies like Match.com and Toyota, ultimately leading to her current role at Protopia AI. Jennifer provides a fascinating glimpse into Protopia's innovative approach to data protection for AI models, showcasing how their technology enables businesses to retain ownership of their data while still leveraging AI capabilities.

Beyond technology, Jennifer sheds light on the parallels between farming practices and engineering principles, highlighting the importance of efficiency, adaptability, and continuous improvement in both areas. Drawing parallels between optimizing soil health and streamlining code, Jennifer emphasizes the value of making the right practices easy for engineers, thus fostering a culture of excellence and innovation.

The conversation also touches on team dynamics, tool preferences, and the importance of enforcing coding standards to ensure maintainability and scalability of projects. Jennifer's dedication to creating unified developer experiences truly highlights her commitment to streamlining processes and maximizing productivity within her team.

Join Etienne and Jennifer as they explore the fascinating intersection of technology, agriculture, and engineering philosophy, offering valuable insights for both seasoned professionals and aspiring technologists alike.

Time Stamps:

[2:07] - Jennifer points out how living in the countryside brings peace but lacks local community and good internet.

[3:35] - Jennifer shares that she transitioned from telecom to startups, experiencing acquisitions and now focuses on AI data protection.

[6:32] - Jennifer highlights the power and satisfaction of technology's immediate impact on society and individuals.

[9:10] - Jennifer thrives on challenges across various domains, including farming, showcasing adaptability and passion for problem-solving in engineering.

[12:48] - For her farm, adhering to no-till practices is crucial due to regulatory requirements and land conditions.

[13:47] - How does Jennifer put her engineering prowess to good use on her farm?

[16:19] - Both technology and farming require balancing effort - investing time wisely for impactful, achievable solutions.

[18:57] - As VP of Engineering, Jennifer manages teams, contributes individually, and fills business needs.

[20:23] - Protopia AI aims to unify developer experiences, leveraging VSCode for powerful collaboration and shared settings.

[22:33] - Reading the book Clean Code impacted Jennifer profoundly, emphasizing best practices for writing maintainable, readable code.

[25:30] - Jennifer points out that, as an engineer, managing various tasks from coding to security is challenging, but setting standards helps.

[28:05] - Jennifer explains that enforcing pre-commit practices improves feedback speed, though it's not universal; CI/CD rules ensure code quality.

Resources and Links Mentioned:

Robert C. Martin - Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftmanship

We have 200+ CTOs in peer groups: Quick Testimonials Video

Contact Etienne: Website / YouTube / LinkedIn / X / Instagram / The CTO Podcast Website

Contact Jennifer: LinkedIn / Protopia AI Website

Schedule a meeting with Etienne on Calendly

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CTO Podcast
CTO Podcast
CTO Podcast explores the worlds of Chief Technical officers as they manage the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of technologists in the C-suite. Hosted by Etienne de Bruin, founder of 7CTOs and author of CTO Excellence in 100 Days: Becoming the leader your company deserves.