Over the last 19 years I have been the technical co-founder at 3 different startups.
Contact me at : email@example.com
or at: 434 825 7694
- Why do entrepreneurs engage in self-sabotage? Three patterns.
One on One meetings are underrated, whereas group meetings waste time
Christian McCarrick interviewed me about this essay, check out the podcast here:
- Discretion still matters — don’t ruin your career by sharing too much
- Why are large companies so difficult to rescue (regarding bad technology)?
- Why are women being pushed away from the tech industry?
- Object Oriented Programming is an expensive disaster which must end — the Wikipedia page devoted to Object Oriented programming lists me as one of the critics and links to this essay.
- Docker is the dangerous gamble which we will regret
I’ve consulted with more clients that I can list, so this is just a sampling of what I’ve done:
2009 to now – (New York City)
I architect software systems that solve problems for large and small organizations. There are two main types of problems:
1.) integrating new functionality with legacy apps
2.) team disagreements, or disagreements among teams
Regarding legacy apps, and the integration of new functionality, I’ve seen large enterprises first embrace ESB, then move on to an API approach, and more recently move to the unified event history log approach, using something like Kafka. The right decision for an organization needs to be sensitive to the skills of the teams, the amount of future independence required, and whatever legal constraints are binding.
Regarding team disagreements, I’ve found the strategy that leads to the fewest regrets in the long term is to get the highest ranking owner of a project to clarify what their top priority is, and then all other teams need to clarify their concerns in relation to that priority. This often brings a much needed clarity.
As a software developer, over the years I have worked with a very broad set of technologies, including PHP, NodeJS, Python, Ruby, PHP, Apex, Java and Clojure, and databases such as MySQL, PostGreSQL, Redis, ElasticSearch and MongoDB, and a broad set of AWS services. I fully endorse the modern devops philosophy of “infrastructure as code” and I’ve used Terraform as the building block of all projects for the last 2 years.
I bring the perspective of someone who has been both an entrepreneur and a software developer. Having grown businesses from scratch, I have some experience with every aspect of development: marketing, design, technology, sales and raising funds.
I’ve recently helped these clients:
I built the Salesforce app which allows PrivCo.com to sell it’s data as a direct import to Salesforce. Code Foundary’s Universal Relay Boilerplate. We adapted the CodeFoundries project to our own needs. I switched the Cassandra code to MongoDB so we could work with pure JSON.
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.
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.
Timeout.com / December 2012 to November 2013 – (New York City)
They got 100 million page views each month. However, Timeout had spent years building a bloated and inconsistent mix of technologies, 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 publishing system. A new architecture was necessary. I educated the team regarding the idea of “an architecture of small apps” which was similar to microservices. You can read my summary of our internal debate here: http://www.smashcompany.com/technology/an-architecture-of-small-apps
ShermansTravel.com / April 2011 to April 2012 – (New York City)
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.
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 www.winespectator.com and www.cigaraficionado.com websites, converting them from Oracle/Vignette systems to MySql/Symfony.
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 TheSecondRoad.org: 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.
Bluewall / 2002 – 2008 – (Charlottesville, Virginia)
My co-founder Peter Agelasto and I raised $2 million to commercialize my software. I ran a team of 8, which included programmers, designers, and QA. We built niche communities around online video stores. Ihanuman.com was an immediate success, and it remains successful to this day. The company has since rebranded as ReLab
1999 – 2002 – Developed software for managing websites, using PHP and MySQL. Had dozens of clients, mostly in the media profession.