I am an experienced software engineering leader with the demonstrated ability to:
- build and lead teams
- architect large scale systems
- achieve high performance and scalability
I am passionate about the development process and tooling that supports it, the evolution of remote work, and building high performing, diverse teams. At this stage in my career I am not actively seeking new full time roles – however I am open to advising and consulting relationships if there is a mutual fit.
While it’s true that I’m officially old now, I make up for it with some decent experience. For instance, I know better than most when it comes to scaling Internet services. This includes things like being able to say one million RPS and sub-millisecond response time with a straight face, and I can even help you get there. It’s worth noting in that context that I’ve seen both sides of the monolith to microservices evolution a couple times now, and have managed to maintain a pragmatic outlook there.
I’ve also spent my fair share of time in the engineering management saddle. I’ve repeatedly built organizations from the ground up, as well as occupied squishy roles that are best described as “senior engineering leadership”. Feel free to reach out if you’re interested in my perspective on recruiting, reviews, titles and org structure, team dynamics, one-on-ones, and anything else as it relates to managing engineering organizations up to a certain size. n=100
Finally, I enjoy building tools and spent several years working on developer tooling at Twitter. We had challenging large-scale development issues while I was there, and I’m always happy to share notes or offer any hard-earned advice that may be helpful. I learned far more than I expected to about build systems, dependency management, version control, code review, test infrastructure, and deployment pipelines – all while the rocketship was mid-flight.
Beyond developer tooling, which is covered above, I am particularly passionate about a couple topics that are relevant in the industry today. The first is diversity. As a self-taught engineer who experienced financial hardship both growing up and early in my career, I believe it’s critical to get a wider range of voices contributing to our industry. Race, gender, sexual identity, religious beliefs, educational background and socio-economic status are all dimensions along which the tech industry is distressingly homogenous today and I am eager to help anyone who is trying to change that.
Somewhat related to this but a distinctly separate issue for me is one of geography. The Internet initially captured my imagination because it allows for the creation of communities of interest that transcend geography. This may have something to do with living in Philadelphia at the time. No offense to Philly! It seems odd to me that the people who are building these systems are often forced to live in a region of less than 8 million people with a diameter of under 100 miles. One of the easiest hiring hacks I know of today is to recruit people who don’t happen to live in Silicon Valley. I am firmly convinced that the technology allowing for remote work both has a lot of room to improve and the potential to completely reshape our industry. If you’re working on that, I’d love to chat.
My first exposure to the Internet was via an illicit account on the UPenn computing system. My freshman year roommate was an engineering major (I was doing theater and film) and had a spare account. Hopefully the statute of limitations has expired on this, because he let me use this account and I learned about Unix, the Internet, Usenet, IRC, and MUDs in that order. That forced me to learn to code (first LPC and then C so that I could help create MudOS).
The aforementioned account came with an expiration date, requiring me to develop some nefarious skills to stay online, which in turn led to being on staff at MindVox, joining The WELL, discovering the Web and Linux, moving to San Francisco, starting a company with some friends, and getting heavily involved in the pre-bubble Internet boom. Eventually we sold the company In 1999. I have good timing. and I had to get a real job.
Since then I’ve been a consultant, involved with or co-founded a few other startups, and worked in senior roles at some marquee Internet companies Salesforce.com and Twitter. I currently work at Fitbit, where I describe my job as finding high leverage whitespace to color in.