Curriculum Vitae

Pierre de Vries is an Executive Fellow of the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Co-Director of its Spectrum Policy Initiative. He is a Visiting Senior Scientist at the Institute for Networked Systems of RWTH Aachen University, and serves on the FCC Technology Advisory Council. His current work focuses on maximizing the value of radio operation by modeling and managing inter-system interference.

De Vries was a Research Fellow at the Economic Policy Research Center of the University of Washington (Seattle) from 2007 to 2010, and served as a technology advisor on spectrum matters to Harris Wiltshire & Grannis LLP in Washington DC.  He was a Senior Fellow of the Annenberg Center for Communication, University of Southern California, from 2006 to 2007.

Prior to this he held various positions at Microsoft Corp. in Redmond, WA, including Chief of Incubation, Senior Director of Advanced Technology and Policy, and Director of User Experience Design (1993–2005). His work there included managing incubation projects in the office of the CTO, creating the company’s first integrated user experience design team, developing the Trustworthy Computing Framework, supervising the start-up of the European Microsoft Innovation Centre, and leading the company’s work on unlicensed spectrum policy. He started his career at Korda & Co, a London-based seed capital company and technology consultancy where he advised corporations on the business impact of new technologies, evaluated venture capital investments, negotiated investments and relationships, and served on start-up boards (1987–1993).

He holds a B.Sc. (Honours) from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and a D.Phil. in theoretical physics from the University of Oxford. He is named on six U.S. patents.

2011 – present:

Executive Fellow and Co-Director of the Spectrum Policy Initiative, Silicon Flatirons Center, University of Colorado, Boulder

2007 – 2010: Research and consulting

Senior Adjunct Fellow, Silicon Flatirons Center, University of Colorado, Boulder

Research Fellow, Economic Policy Research Center, University of Washington (Seattle) 

Technology Advisor, Harris Wiltshire & Grannis LLP, Washington DC

2006 - 2007: USC, Los Angeles

Senior Fellow at the Annenberg Center for Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

1993 – 2005: Microsoft Corp, Redmond

De Vries started at Microsoft’s Redmond campus in July 1993 as a Program Manager in the Advanced Consumer Technology group. His titles have included Chief of Incubation; Senior Director of Advanced Technology and Policy; Director of User Experience Design; and Director of Strategic Planning.  He worked for a number of senior managers, notably Craig Mundie, the company's Chief Research and Strategy Officer.  He has managed teams ranging from eight to 50 people.

In the course of twelve years he: designed and directed the construction of the first Microsoft Home demo suite in 1995; created the company’s first integrated User Experience Design team, including hiring the company’s first full-time anthropologist; developed the 2002 Trustworthy Computing Framework, which set the direction for a path the company is still following; ran an incubation that built a prototype context web service; started up the Venice wireless mesh incubation; managed incubations for Craig Mundie, CTO; supervised the 2004 start-up of the European Microsoft Innovation Centre (EMIC) from inception to a twenty-strong team playing an increasingly influential role in the European Framework Programme for collaborative research; led Microsoft’s efforts get harmonized 5GHz unlicensed spectrum world-wide; and framed the company’s world-wide “connected computing” technology policy agenda.

He is a co-inventor on six US patents (5819032, 6148304, 6928428, 6968179, 7363008, 7437683).

1990 – 1993: Art school

De Vries decided in 1990 to refresh his thinking by making a radical career change. He talked his way onto a one-year Fine Arts Foundation course at the Kingston University, London starting in September 1990, which led to being accepted on the Kingston BFA course, majoring in sculpture. He was hired by Microsoft at the beginning of his final year.

While in art school he made a living doing consultancy. His projects included managing consumer market research programs for major UK retailers including Bass and Northern Electric; devising course materials for Computer Science courses at Kingston University; researching and prototyping a multi-media teaching tool for the International Consortium for Environment and Development; and working as technology advisor on a TV documentary about “the electronic frontier,” which led to his hiring by Microsoft.

1987 – 1993: Venture capital and technology consultancy

De Vries worked for Korda & Co, a London-based seed capital company and consultancy, from February 1987 to December 1990 (latterly part-time while at art school). He advised corporate customers like Pearson and Scientific Atlanta on the likely evolution and business impact of new technologies such as satellite television and electronic publishing. He also evaluated potential venture capital investments, negotiated investments and relationships, and served as a start-up board member.

1980 – 1987: Study in theoretical physics

De Vries graduated B.Sc. (Honours) (cum laude) in theoretical physics in 1983 from Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He received a PhD in quantum field theory from Oxford in 1987 (supervised by Chris Llewellyn Smith, FRS), published as “The operator product expansion for minimally subtracted operators” in Nuclear Physics B (1988). 

Service: De Vries is currently a member of the FCC Technological Advisory Council, and a board member of TPRC. He has previously served on the boards of the Northwest Vipassana Association (Treasurer), Bread for the World (Finance Committee), and Seattle's Center on Contemporary Art, COCA (Treasurer).

Updated December 2018