I solve the pain that startups experience as they transition from the first few
engineers to scaling the team and introducing process. As I grow the team, I
retain those valuable original team members, build an open supportive culture, and
implement light agile processes that make sense.
I started my career as a software engineer working on compilers and debuggers, moving to OS kernel
code and drivers. I’ve also taught CS classes part-time for pleasure. I gravitated to management
and discovered the joys of building teams and mentoring engineers and managers.
I’m now focused on growing and retaining great teams while building complex
high-availability web services and mobile apps. I’ve led engineering at five
startups—selling two to public companies. I also enjoy “paying it forward” by advising a
number of exciting technology companies.
My passion is helping others to reach their true potential. I’m lucky to know many who want to work
with me again.
June 2014 - Present
I joined Railway to bootstrap a company with a vision to leverage the information gathered from
Point-Of-Sale (POS) and beacon technologies. This information
(gathered with the users’ permission) is far more valuable to manufacturers and marketers than
selling the services themselves.
August 2013 - June 2014
I took on the role of leading all of the engineering and test teams in San Francisco
because I wanted to work with this exceptional team. They came from the
acquisition of multiple startups, and everyone there had an entrepreneurial attitude. Our
multi-year vision was to build a “merchant OS,” a platform for small businesses to run their
- Among those acquired companies was the
Breadcrumb Pro Point-Of-Sale (POS)
product running on iPads, including complex web
services, reporting, and administration. The original code was monolithic and unsupportable, so
we embarked on a complete re-design and re-write as a clean
Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) in Rails. We were then able to modify
other products to leverage the new services and remove redundant code. We also added powerful
- The team included a number of expensive engineering consultants who were critical at the start
of the effort. They were no longer as critical, so I drove an effort to gradually replace them
with employees. We were able to
reduce costs, and retain our technology expertise
- We had a PCI-compliant credit card processing service that was used by our
iPhone, Android, and laptop apps, as well as legacy card terminals. I drove
hiring of new engineers to improve reliability and scalability of this
critical service, while also adding new features.
Click to see the Merchant OS vision video:
VP, Engineering and Operations
January 2012 - April 2013
Mixr was acquired by Match.com for our ongoing business, technology, and team.
The company was originally named SpeedDate, and had recently hired a new CEO, who hired me. The
dating site was lucrative, but we wanted to add a new product that could deliver a
“hockey stick” growth curve. I joined to lead development, QA, and operations
because of this new product vision, and also because I wanted to work with this team of very strong
- The company was transitioning to a more structured development process, and while I was
interviewing some of these great engineers were leaving. After joining I immediately met with
each person individually. Armed with their input, I made changes that
stabilized the team and helped them to
refocus on technical challenges. I’m still very close to those engineers today.
- We went on to create the Mixr iOS app which brings real-time group
interactions to virtual, 3D-like environments like clubs and cafes. Users
customize their avatar, dance with others, visit a “photo booth” to take
pictures of their avatar in virtual or real backdrops, and earn “Cred” used to purchase items
and skills. We later renamed the company Mixr, after the app.
- We continued to grow the SpeedDate service to over 12 million members
through the web site and iOS, Android, and Facebook apps.
Click to see the Mixr app:
VP, Engineering and Operations
November 2010 - September 2011
I decided to move to San Francisco, the heart of the startup culture. Line2 (originally “Toktumi”)
was an exciting small company in SF with an iOS app that allowed normal phone calls and the sending
of SMS/MMS messages using a built-in second line number (thus “Line2”), all for
- The quality and reliability of the service was suffering. I set up new Dev, Test, and Staging
environments and drove other quality initiatives that
reduced outages by over 50%
- We were only on iOS, so I hired an Android engineer and we
created the Android app. I also set up processes to manage the substantial
compatibility challenges of the Android variations.
- The iPad user base was growing, so we built a designed-for-iPad app that
unified all voice and text messaging into one clean and powerful interface.
Now your iPad is also a phone!
- We grew the service to over 300,000 VoIP phone calls and
over 800,000 text messages a day, won
First Place at the CES Mobile Showdown, was hailed by the NY Times as a
Top Ten Must Have App, and made Entrepreneur magazine’s
Top 100 Most Brilliant Ideas.
Click to see Line2 HD for iPad (also available for iPhone and Android):
Director, Software Development
Citrix Online, Division of Citrix Systems Inc.
December 2007 - June 2010
I joined Citrix Online HQ in Santa Barbara to take on the exciting challenges of leading the development teams creating
and the other services with over 100 million users. This was a very senior engineering
team, building complex cross-platform native apps, architected to
share code between products and across platforms.
- Engineering was about to transition from a heavy “waterfall” process to Scrum. I became a
, trained by Ken Schwaber,
the co-inventor of Scrum. Afterward I
led initiatives to convert the entire development organization to Scrum, and even taught Marketing and Customer Support teams how to leverage Scrum for their projects.
- We needed to implement these desktop-only apps as mobile apps. I drove efforts to train the
teams in mobile development, and
we created apps for iPhone, iPad, and BlackBerry.
Click to see a sampling of GoToMeeting mobile and desktop apps my team created:
VP, Software Development
March 2006 - December 2007
A friend of a friend accepted the role of CEO, and
brought me on as a partner in the business.
- The first version of the service, a web-based
SaaS merchandising information exchange, was developed leveraging a third-party. They weren’t moving fast enough, and the quality was poor. I
hired a small but solid engineering team and
took development in-house,
dramatically improving feature delivery times and quality.
- We also
created a mobile app
to allow inspectors to check products in the retail locations and report issues.
Managers created an inspection form
in the web browser by dragging and dropping fields. Inspectors in the field
synchronized wirelessly to get the latest inspection forms and to upload inspections (including photos and barcodes) for immediate review.
Click to see m2vc Merchandising Information Exchange product brief (PDF):
Director, Software Development
November 2001 - March 2006
My entire development team joined Oracle following the
acquisition of Indicast (see below).
They wanted both our technology and people.
There we integrated our patented voice platform technologies, then created a
mobile plug-in XForms processor (a precursor to HTML5 Forms), and later designed
and built an RFID platform for mobile devices.
December 1999 - November 2001
Indicast was acquired by Oracle
for our technology and the development team who created it.
This was my first startup and first VP Engineering role, and I learned a great deal. The vision was
to build a speech-driven all-audio news and information service. The user called a
phone number and heard pre-recorded audio news reports as well as content presented in
“concatenated speech” (audio snippets combined to form sentences), navigating and selecting by user
- I joined immediately after the founders, and
hired the entire engineering and QA team. We created a robust and
highly scalable speech-driven service, eventually with
paying wireless customers. We provided
almost 2,000 pre-recorded audio topics including Wall Street Journal Report, ABC News, AP News, etc. The service also included voice-activated dialing,
email including voice replies, and
voice driving directions
- The acquisition by Oracle took months of diligence. During that time, all of the execs were on
half pay (unknown to others), and we later had to skip a couple of paychecks
for everyone. I held the engineering team together, we helped each other, and
I guided them through the process without losing a single engineer. I’ve remained close to many of those engineers.
- I was co-inventor of
three of the technology architecture patents
from this work.
September 2014 - Present
AnchorFree’s Hotspot Shield application
provides secure browsing and privacy, with over 200 million downloads. Hotspot
Shield secures all Internet communications and web browsing and protects each user’s privacy and
identity online. Growing by more than nine million new downloads per month,
Hotspot Shield is the most popular VPN service in the world and the
No. 1 security and privacy app on iPhone and iPad devices.
March 2014 - Present
Prism transforms any video camera into a visual merchandising,
auditing, and business intelligence tool that can be accessed from any device. Prism
condenses customer interaction and movement into stunning imagery
and reports that provide instant understanding of any moment or period of time.
Visual Group Inc.
July 2012 - Present
Visual is a powerful free app used to create simple animations or fully-interactive animated applications with just
swipes and touches on a mobile device, or using your keyboard and mouse.
Technologies my teams have employed:
Rails, Ruby, RoR, Node.js, iBeacon, BLE, Bluetooth Low Energy, iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android,
Objective-C, Cocoa Touch, Cocos2D, SmartFoxServer,
Amazon EC2, Hadoop, Solr, A/B Testing, C++, Linux, Apache, Perl, MySQL, memcached, beanstalk,
Zenoss, Chef, ejabberd, XMPP, Mahout, Cassandra, Oracle, DOM, XPath, XSLT, XForms, VoiceXML, XHTML, HTML,
Phone, SQL Server, IIS, ASP.NET, SOAP, REST, Java, J2EE
Master of Science, Computer Science; California State University,
Bachelor of Science, Computer Science; California State University,