Lawrence Krubner


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The most popular articles I’ve written


Business advice:


Code theory:


Voice interfaces:




My history:

I’ve consulted with more clients that I can list, so this is just a sampling of what I’ve done:

  • Various Clients / 1999 – 2002 – Developed a CMS in PHP, for various clients. Example:
  • Bluewall / 2002 – 2008 – (Charlottesville, Virginia). My co-founder Peter Agelasto and I used $2 million in our attempt to commercialize our publishing platform. I managed a team including front-end developers, designers, a Flash programmer, and other PHP programmers and Linux sysadmins. We built niche communities around online video stores. was an immediate success, and it remains successful to this day:
  • TeamLaLaLa / 2008 -2010 – (Charlottesville, Virginia) The designer Laura Denyes and I teamed up to create a design firm which handled both print and digital clients. We oversaw the writers, videographers, Flash programmers, PHP programmers, graphic designers and project managers. This was a $250,000 effort to build an online social network that would offer a safe space to those recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction.
  • M Shanken Communications / April 2010 to April 2011 – (New York City) A rescue mission. The company had decided to switch to the Symfony framework, but they had no one on staff who knew it well. As I was a Symfony expert, I was brought in to educate the tech team. I helped them rebuild the and websites, converting them from Oracle/Vignette systems to MySql/Symfony.
  • / April 2011 to April 2012 – (New York City) Another rescue mission. Their newsletter had 3 million subscribers, and every aspect was being handled with technology that had been developed internally, using a chaotic and inconsistent mix of technologies, the core of which was a bloated framework that had initially been built with the CakePHP framework. There were many background tasks that were run with cron scripts. We rebuilt everything as 6 clean Ruby apps, some using Rails and some using Sinatra.
  • / January 2013 to November 2013 – (New York City) Another rescue mission. They got 100 million page views each month. However, Timeout had spent years building their CMS, using the PHP framework Symfony, and they were now faced with performance issues that left them crippled. They were losing market share to a company from Brazil that was selling a competing CMS for urban magazines. A new architecture was necessary. We looked for those background tasks that were the most CPU intensive and we re-wrote them as independent services using Clojure. You can read my summary of the evolution of the “microservices” architecture:
  • / April 2014 to November 2014– (New York City) was an early stage startup which built a proof-of-concept for the future of education software — a 2nd generation platform which integrated the scattered pieces of the 1st generation. The technology stack was polyglot. Working with Java, Ruby and Clojure, we built out the essential pieces of a micro-services stack, which both imported data from multiple LMS and SIS packages (for instance, Moodle and OpenSIS), integrated the data into a unified dataset, and then made it available via a RESTful architecture serving JSON. The frontend was pure Javascript, built with Angular.js. This software will transform the relationship between teachers, students and parents, by allowing a unified interface that draws together the disparate software packages currently in use in K-12 schools across the nation. The proof-of-concept was completed after 6 intense months of work.


SmashCompany / December 2011 to now – (New York City) When I wasn’t busy with the above clients, I consulted on these projects:

  • OpenRoad – Another rescue mission. Moving away from WordPress, moving toward React / Relay / GraphQL. We tore apart this: We adapated CodeFoundries project to our own needs. I focused on building the GraphQL API. I tore out the Cassandra code and switched to MongoDB for simplicity’s sake.
  • Rollio – Using Natural Language Processing to understand the text messages that salespeople type on their phones, Rollio transforms the texts from human languages to computer languages, and then makes use of the Salesforce API to update the Opportunities, Contacts and Accounts of each salesperson. Relying on Clojure and Java, and making use of the Stanford Natural Language Processing open source libraries, we built a system of microservices that can process a vast number of simultaneous conversations.
  • MaternityNeighborhood – helped build out their Python framework, which derived ideas from Flask. Attempted to reinvent the whole web eco-system for Python, with new security modules, validation modules, and serialization modules.
  • Waleup – Teamed up with the entrepreneur Pasha Galbreath to offer workshops to those entrepreneurs who were just starting out. Built “minimal viable products” with Ruby On Rails or Symfony so the entrepreneurs could see how easy it was to get started. Example:


January 10, 2012 1:09 pm

From lawrence on Fred Dewey is misunderstood

"Thank you, Charlotte. But what is the main advantage of Kachingle for you? You could perhaps find a more direc..."

January 9, 2012 2:29 pm

From Charlotte Monte on Fred Dewey is misunderstood

"I love your thoughtfulness and tone, however, I have questions about the "Community" of voters you mention. I ..."

December 14, 2011 10:58 am

From Lawrence Krubner on Fred Dewey is misunderstood

"Thank you all. I look forward to seeing the emergence of an innovative startup that is able to find the new mo..."