Jesse is a Director of Planning & Delivery at Sidewalk Labs, where he leads the company’s human-centered design processes and helps teams explore ways to improve city life through new digital products. Before joining Sidewalk, Jesse was Director of Product at BuzzFeed, where he worked closely with journalists, entertainers, and tech teams to push the boundaries of content and technology.
For over a decade, Jesse Shapins has been a leading designer and entrepreneur at the intersection of media, technology, and place. In 2004, before smartphones, Jesse invented Yellow Arrow, one of the first platforms to globally connect physical locations, digital media and communities. Jesse is co-founder of Mapping Main Street, a documentary arts project that tells the stories of the over 10,466 streets named Main Street across the United States; co-founder of UnionDocs, one of the nation’s leading centers for documentary arts, based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; co-founder and CEO of GoPop, a platform for visual conversation that was acquired by BuzzFeed in 2014; and co-founder and CEO of Zeega, a pioneering web platform empowering anyone to tell interactive stories by mixing their own media with maps, video clips, memes, and anything else they could find online.
Jesse holds a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University and a PhD in Urbanism and Critical Media Practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He co-founded metaLAB (at) Harvard, a research venture based at the GSD and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society that bridges humanities, urbanism, and technology. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Metropolis, PRAXIS and Wired, cited in books such as The Sentient City and Networked Locality, and been exhibited at MoMA, SFMoMA, Deutsches Architektur Zentrum and the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, among other venues.