Summary

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.

Experience

Railway logo

VP, Engineering

Railway

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.


Groupon logo

VP, Engineering

Groupon

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 business.

  • 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 features like offline mode.
  • 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 in-house.
  • 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:
G.Nome image



Mixr logo

VP, Engineering and Operations

Mixr Inc.

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 engineers.

  • 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:
Mixr App



Line2 logo

VP, Engineering and Operations

Line2

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 $9.95/month.

  • 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):
Line2 iPad app image


Citrix Online logo

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 GoToMeeting®, GoToMyPC®, GoToAssist® 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 certified ScrumMaster , 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:
Citrix Online GoToMeeting

m2vc logo

VP, Software Development

m2vc, inc.

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):
m2vc m2axis service


Oracle logo

Director, Software Development

Oracle Corporation

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.


Indicast logo

VP, Engineering

Indicast Corporation

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 speech commands.

  • 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.

Advisory Boards

Anchor Free logo

Advisor

Anchor Free

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.


Prism Skylabs logo

Advisor

Prism

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 logo

Advisor

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

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, CSS, HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, AJAX, jQuery, Flash, ActionScript, Mac OS X, C#, VB.NET, Windows Phone, SQL Server, IIS, ASP.NET, SOAP, REST, Java, J2EE

Education

Master of Science, Computer Science; California State University, Fullerton
Bachelor of Science, Computer Science; California State University, Fullerton