So, you are apparently curious about the person behind this petty blog. Be my guest. I’d like to share two things with you on this page:
- Who I am (and what I’m doing when I’m not writing, which is > 99% of my time)
- Why I started this in the first place
So, who am I, after all?
First of all, I am a man blessed with three wonderful girls. My wife and my two daughters. One of them, Eleanor, you can see in the photo.
My full name is Cai-Nicolas Ziegler, just Cai for brevity. I am the CEO of Immowelt Group, a German digital company with a team of ~600 great people that helps to address a human’s biggest material need (next to eating and drinking), namely living. We connect people with the homes they love. And we do it large scale, boasting more than 65 million visits of users every month.
At the same time, I am professor for Computer Science at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg. My specialties are Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Recommender Systems, Social Network Analysis, and a twist of Game Theory. I’ve written several papers in the realm of Recommender Systems which are regarded as seminal by the research community.
However, most of my time is devoted to my CEO activity, which goes without saying.
You might have guessed that Immowelt is not where my work life started. You are right so. My professional life looked pretty much like this:
- Served as the CEO of XING Events, a digital company specializing in event management technology, for more than 5 years; managed a full-fledged turnaroung culminating in profitability and > 25% growth every year
- Headed the product management department at PAYBACK, an American Express company, which is the world-leading provider of coalition loyalty programs, boasting > 25 Mio. users in Germany alone
- Worked at BCG, the Boston Consulting Group, as management consultant, leading teams of consultants (I did enjoy an exposure to a broad range of industries; actually, this is what got me in touch with “business administration” and “management” matters)
- Did applied research and technical consulting at Siemens Corporate Technology in Munich. This was right after my Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Freibug. My speciality was Natural Language Processing and Reputation Intelligence. And my tenure at Siemens allowed me to file 16 US patents
Writing has always been one of my favorite pastimes. So I wrote more than 100 articles for Germany’s most renowned tech and internet print magazines while at university, which basically earned me a decent income. If you are German and are just a little interested in tech, you sure know c’t, iX, Internet World.
In fact, at some point in my life (before university) I wanted to become a writer. On the other hand, at some point in my life I also wanted to become a psychologist, specializing in marketing and commercials. At some point in my life, I pondered with philosophy as a viable path to earn money (and then discarded this idea for obvious reasons). Finally, I decided to study computer science, as programming in Assembler, C++, and Java had been a big passion of me during school time.
In the end, I am pretty happy about where I am today.