Hello, my name is Zia Yusuf. I am currently the CEO of Streetline Inc. a global leader in smart city technology. Streetline deploys ultra low power sensor mesh networks that deliver real time data for both web and mobile applications. The first use case is around smart parking with extensions into traffic and other smart city sub-verticals.
Until recently I was an Executive Vice President at SAP AG where I had the privilege of leading the Global Ecosystem and Partner Group. I recently resigned from SAP after 10 great years. Since leaving in November 2009 I have been exploring various start-up opportunities and talking to a lot of people – VC, CEO’s, analysts, blogger, academics and a range of other really smart people involved in the technology industry.
Between SAP and Streetline I joined I joined Sutter Hill Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners as a Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). Streetline is a Sutter Hill portfolio company. I have also started my own strategy and advisory firm called Fallen Leaf Advisors, LLC and am working with leading technology and services firms and their leadership teams as they explore various growth options and consider innovative ways to leverage their ecosystems and utilize social media approach to differentiate in the marketplace.
If you are interested you can see my formal background below, or just skip it and go to the more interesting part which is the actual blog postings.
Currently CEO of Streetline Inc. a global leader in smart city technology. Streetline deploys ultra low power sensor mesh networks that deliver real time data for both web and mobile applications. The first use case is around smart parking with extensions into traffic and other smart city sub-verticals.
I Spent a few months in early 2010 at Sutter Hill Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). I am excited about working with the partners at both firms as I explore various entrepreneurial options. I have a particular interest in looking into how we can leverage the great advancements in consumer technology (social media, mobile, location based services, sensors, crowd sourcing etc.) within an enterprise or business context.
I am currently CEO of Fallen Leaf Advisors, LLC a strategy and advisory firm I started with a particular focus on corporate and competitive strategy, ecosystem design and development and social media strategy in the enterprise. Prior to that I was with SAP AG for 10 years in various roles, most recently for the last 4 years as Executive Vice President and Head of the Global Ecosystem and Partner Group, SAP AG reporting to Leo Apotheker (CEO of SAP and now CEO of HP !) and most recently John Schwarz (Board Member of SAP and former CEO of Business Objects). For a brief period I also worked with Shai Agassi (now CEO of BetterPlace and former Board Member of SAP). I had the privilege of leading this great team that designed and created the award winning ecosystem for SAP and its customers. With over 7,000 partners and 2 million people in the communities, the SAP Ecosystem had been an integral part of SAP strategy to deliver value to its customers.
I was also SVP and Head of Global corporate Strategy and in that position founded and led SAP corporate strategy team and its innovate Design Services Team (DST). In these roles I reported for several years to Hasso Plattner (co-founder of SAP and currently Chair of the Supervisory Board) and Henning Kagermann (former CEO SAP). I also co-founded SAP Markets (and SAP AG company) which was in the b2b marketplace business. This was my first role with SAP.
Design Thinking as been an area of keen interest and among other activities to further this interest I co-teach a course titled “Experiences in Software Design” with Hasso Plattner (c0-founder of SAP) and Terry Winnograd (professor at Stanford). I enjoy my work as Consulting Associate Professor at Stanford Design School and work on other courses on an adhoc basis as well.
Before my life in Silicon Valley I lived and worked on the East Coast as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs & Co. and for several years at the World Bank Group in Washington, DC. I loved Goldman as a company and a place to work but was not cut out to be an investment banker. My time at the World Bank, first working on health care issues in Southern Africa and then project finance and political risk insurance in South Asia and Indochina, was fantastic. I still retain a love for issues related to economic development and am involved in various efforts regarding education and social entrepreneurship in South Asia and Africa.
Spent way to many years educating myself with a MBA from Harvard Business School, a MS in International Affairs from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a BA in International Affairs from Macalester College. Each institution helped me develop a wide range of interest and skills which has served me well. Though the winters of Minnesota and Macalester College hold “fond” memories of non-California weather.
I am involved in several non-profit board and organizations such as Developments in Literacy (DIL) and Community Solutions for Africa Development (COSAD) and the South Asian American Forum. I enjoy working with these organizations and hope to continue to do so. I was also formerly on the Board of a great start-up called Innocentive and am currently in discussion to join a couple of other boards.
On a personal note I am married to Paru Desai Yusuf (who is of Indian origin so our small contribution to world peace) and have two wonderful daughters Saira and Sanam.
Thanks for reading through my background, I hope you will find the blog posting and discussions interesting and informative.