Kevin Thompson

M.S. 1988 — Computer Science

Kevin Thompson is a tech executive with several decades of experience as a software development executive. He has a track record of building and managing innovative engineering teams that push impactful software across the entire stack from UI to serving, with a strong emphasis on data and machine learning. His most recent operational role was as VP Engineering of Uber’s Marketplace team. Under Thompson’s leadership, the team dramatically improved measurability, its data platform and use of machine learning, and its delivery. He grew this team from 200 to 400+ engineers across 4 sites, upgraded the senior leadership with several key and strategic hires, and recruited his eventual successor. In 2019 alone, the team delivered substantial increases in usage and margin to a business with $50B bookings annually.

Previously, Thompson was at Google for 12 years, the last six as VP of Engineering, scaling its enormous YouTube Ads business. He led efforts that corresponded to a 50x increase in YouTube revenue while improving user experience through TrueView ads formats (‘skippable ads’). He built the engineering team almost from scratch to span advertiser buyside, video classification, serving infrastructure, ads quality, and end-user formats. He identified and attracted key leads and was a leader in all strategic product, sales, and engineering decisions. Before Google, Thompson played key roles at a series of companies, including co-founding a VC-funded dotcom in 1999. TimeDance was an invitation service that attracted over 500,000 registered users in the early dotcom days.

Thompson received his master’s degree in computer science from UC Irvine and his bachelor’s degree with high honors and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Virginia. During his graduate career, he worked as a researcher at NASA Ames Research Center, where he published multiple papers in machine learning, including one on theoretical analysis that has over 2,000 citations.