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Meet the
Red Vest

The Red Vest is a symbol of innovation and leadership in action.

Red Vest leaders not only stay on top of their field but they can apply it to real business problems even in the face of resistance. They uncover the true problems and frame them with clarity amidst uncertainties and diverging opinions. They focus on collective success instead of personal gain because they know that this is the most successful way forward in the long term.


Nikos Michalakis is an entrepreneur, software system architect, product strategist, and educator.

Nikos has been working in modern architectures and products in the web, mobile, artificial intelligence, robotics, and vehicle space and their corresponding developer tools, platforms, and experiences. He has led a team of 10 engineers in a start-up environment all the way to an organization of 400+ engineers, product managers, and business developers in a multinational corporation. While at Toyota he led multiple efforts ranging from the cloud and big data platform, to a novel vehicle software platform, to best practices in building digital cloud infrastructure and services in smart cities. Prior to Toyota, he was at Netflix's Cloud Platform, the team responsible for core cloud services that were the backbone of Netflix's content management system. There he wrote tools that helped scale the productivity of Netflix engineers and created a curriculum to educate them about microservice architectures.

Before Toyota and Netflix, Nikos helped develop software and teams in a series of start-ups in a variety of industries, sizes and growth trajectories: a 30-person big data start-up (acquired by Microsoft), an ed-tech start-up that grew from 60 to 200 employees (acquired by Wiley), an online advertising network that grew from 300 to 500 employees (acquired by Amobee) and a cloud provider start-up that grew from 5 to 40 employees. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his free time, he teaches children about computer science as DrTechniko.

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