Being passionate about supporting fast growing start-ups and building high-performance teams keeps Kostas Vlassis from taking a permanent position within a large enterprise organisation.\nCurrently interim CTO for food waste management startup Winnow, Vlassis has spent 20 years building agile teams. During that time he has created scalable high-transaction platforms; rearchitected monolithic, legacy applications to microservices and refactored solutions from different programming languages to deliver B2B and B2C products.\nHe has supervised the the implementation of agile (Scrum and Kanban); continuous improvement and continuous delivery; DevOps; and tools (like JIRA and Confluence).\n\u201cI love working in this environment that is fast paced, decisions are made quickly, prototypes are constantly created and destroyed and evolution of products happens in weeks rather than months or years,\u201d he said.\nHe tries to combine his experience with the technology team to achieve deliver the desired results and achieve the company\u2019s mission.\n\u201cIn a startup environment the only constant is change and some people hate it, I love it,\u201d he said.\n\u201cAn enterprise organisation\u2019s pressure is always to make the \u2018best\u2019 decision that will be based on detailed business cases and review from various committees. Start-ups have a lot of \u2018moving parts\u2019 and a great deal of unknowns but with a great deal of autonomy and empowerment.\u201d\nVlassis said start-ups have a decision making mindset, which allows them to make choices with incomplete information.\n\u201cThey are able to move to implementation quickly and constantly assessing outcomes with the team because it is crucial to stop a bad decision as quickly as possible, rethink and move forward again,\u201d he said.\nHe has been serving as CTO at Winnow for over a year and has worked on innovations for the food waste management company.\n\u201cRecently we launched an AI-enabled product \u2013 Winnow Vision\u2013 change food management in commercial kitchens,\u201d he said.\n\u201cWinnow Vision \u2018learns\u2019 to recognise different foods being thrown in the bin and calculates the financial and environmental cost of this discarded food to commercial kitchens. For businesses and chefs, the technology allows them to adjust their food purchasing decisions and reduce their spending.\u201d\nIn Australia, Winnow started working with OzHarvest\u2019s innovation arm ForPurposeCo on food waste management, in September last year.\nOzHarvest is a local food rescue organisation, that collects quality excess food from commercial places and delivers it directly to more than 1000 charities supporting people in need.\nForPurposeCo is its \u201cprofit-for-purpose\u201d social enterprise that exists to increase funding for OzHarvest. The purpose of the OzHarvest arm is to invest in technology, products and services that are aligned with the charity.\nVlassis said the partnership allows ForPurposeCo to promote and provide Winnow\u2019s technology within the Australian and New Zealand market.\n\u201cWhen the concept of using AI in the kitchen was discussed about two years ago there were many who laughed at the idea,\u201d he said. \u201cThey thought it was unrealistic the ability to achieve human level food recognition results in the harsh isolated environment of a commercial kitchen and not in a data centre somewhere in the cloud.\u201d\nTo connect the commercial kitchen, with technology Vlassis tries to get his technology team members to interact with clients and understand first-hand their point of view.\n\u201cWe find out what works well and what needs improvement,\u201d he said. \u201cAll this input is gathered back at our HQ and reviewed by the Product and Technology teams to ensure we prioritise the tasks that will deliver the greater impact and remove and pain-points as quickly as possible.\u201d\nVlassis can spend anywhere from five months to over two years as an interim CTO, and after more than a year at Winnow he has no plans to move on, as yet.