Employee Profile – Lennard Wolf (EN)

We continue with the employee profiles after a one-week hiatus, moving away from the somewhat overly gender themed nature of Salomes Aphkazava’s profile but staying in chronological order with our longest full-time team member: Lennard Wolf. One of the first, who believed in our vision and still one of the biggest driving factors in our team – both on the technical and operational level. We trace his path from wanting to make films, turning towards computer science, followed by almost getting swept up in academic philosophy to Signatrix.

Lennard was always driven by an urge to create things. During his last two years in high school, he decided to go to the Filmgymnasium Babelsberg. He got to the Filmuniversität Babelsberg freshmen in their first week. In that time they had to conceptualize, produce, film and edit an entire short film. This high-pressure environment was exactly what he liked, but he realized that making movies was too chaotic for him.

He decided to move one step away from creating things in the real world to do his bachelors in computer science at the Hasso-Plattner-Institut in Potsdam with a stint at the school of design thinking.

Shortly before graduating in 2016, he got to stay with the history professor Paul Allen at Stanford for a few weeks. Allen inspired him to follow his interest in the humanities. An interest, which he had previously foregone because he had internalized that it was perhaps not a “serious” career. 

Fortunately enough for us, he decided to stay in Berlin and follow his intellectual passion in the philosophy program at the Humboldt-University, home to many important philosophers such as Hegel and Marx. An endless shift between moments of seemingly great insight and disenfranchisement with academia followed suit. No need to recap Lennard’s studies here, but if you want to find out a little more about his work, you can take a look at one of his early papers, engaging with an argument deeply connected with the possibility of General Artificial Intelligence – Searle’s Chinese Room. 

It was partially the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel that brought Lennard to Signatrix (still christened Cartwatch at that point – the more Kantian label we go by nowadays, might have been a turnoff ) and delivered him back to the tech world. He had spent three semesters studying the great german idealist – one might argue that this was the peak of his turn to the abstract – when he went to a party thrown by Philipp’s brother in law, got talking to the older Müller brother and was deeply fascinated by the Signatrix vision. We like to think that the company vision and the founders’ spirit was enough to convince Lennard to join the team as a software engineer, but getting to nerd out about Hegel with Christoph might have been the icing on the cake.

Lennard in Beijing

Lennard pondering deep questions pre-Signatrix.

Technically, Lennard made his decision before Salome joined. But, his first day was delayed slightly by a brief stint in China at the World Congress of Philosophy, a conference that, while fascinating, only served to deepen his doubts about pursuing the love of wisdom as a career.

He started in October 2018 and it was clear from the start that he was an invaluable asset, both on the development and support side and quick to pick up on any skills he needed to learn. The founders felt that Lennard was ready to potentially lead part of a team, which did not exist at that point.

A thirst for knowledge brought Lennard to Signatrix and it was also what drove him to become the company’s first full-time employee in January of 2019: „I was learning faster and at a higher intensity than I could ever have imagined at the university.” Signatrix is not exactly averse to academic philosophy and every utterance of that explanation feels like a badge of honour.

As the team grew so did Lennard, who was ever working to improve both our products and workflows. The fact that software development is properly documented these days is largely owing to him. Not surprisingly, excellent work prompted a promotion to Tech Lead in August 2020. He played a major role in product design,  feature development and project coordination ever since he joined us and we decided that it was time to honour that on paper. 

Rather than taking up all his energy the high-octane environment, he is in now has also enabled creative pursuits on the side. He’s been making music, videos and a podcast on the side. If you want to find out more about those creations, you will have to ask the man yourself though.

“We have reached a level of abstraction within the backbone of our products and in our internal tools, that enables us to rapidly prototype and build basically any Computer Vision product in an exceptionally small amount of time”. 

Lennard started out wanting to make an impact on the world via a visual medium delved ever deeper into the realms of abstraction and ended up with a synthesis of both paths – making an impact on the physical world with software. You don’t have to be a Hegelian to like that.

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