I'm been involved in various software organizations over the years, both professionally and as a member of open source communities. Here you'll find short summaries of what I worked on. Click through each organization to learn more and see related blog posts and talks by me.
I’m currently employed by Meta (née Facebook) as an Engineering Director. I oversee and support a global set of engineering teams, helping bring exciting new product experiences to life on our next-generation smart glasses.
Prior to my current role I led the engineering teams responsible for building our voice assistant product experiences. We shipped the Assistant on a slew of Meta’s hardware products, including Portal, Oculus Quest, and Ray-Ban Stories.
I also built and led the team behind the Facebook Knowledge Graph. This graph was used to power a variety of applications for hundreds of millions of users, ranging from search in the blue app to the voice assistant for our hardware products.
I was one of the first employees at Ozlo, a startup focused on building an AI-powered digital assistant. I worked on a number of aspects of the product, most significantly building a large scale data pipeline to construct and serve the knowledge graph used by it to answer questions. We built a graph containing 500M+ of the most popular people, places, and things. Ozlo was acquired by Facebook in 2017.
I was the fifth employee at Firebase, a startup building a cutting-edge real-time database and developer tooling to make app development easy. I wore a number of hats, but was primarily responsible for developer evangelism and support.
I built pivotal integrations with frameworks like AngularJS, and bootstrapped a static hosting service. Firebase was acquired by Google in 2014 has continued to grow as part of their cloud platform, now serving over 3 million developers worldwide.
Mozilla holds a special place in my heart: they were my gateway into Silicon Valley. I worked on a number of Mozilla projects in various capacities, first as a volunteer, then as an intern, and finally as a full-time employee for Mozilla Labs.
Perhaps my most significant contribution while at Mozilla was WebRTC, where I served as Mozilla’s rep to the W3C and IETF during standardization efforts. I was co-editor for two W3C specifications: “WebRTC” as well as “Media Capture and Streams”. Additionally, I led implementation efforts for getUserMedia in Firefox. Interestingly, this may also have been my most impactful contribution in the industry to date: WebRTC is in very wide use, ranging from Messenger to Discord, a significant portion of internet video/audio calling traffic uses parts or whole of the WebRTC spec and codebase.
I also spent a lot of my time working on various parts of Firefox Sync, which was still called “Weave” during incubation at Mozilla Labs. Sync is a privacy-first browser data synchronization solution. Aside from this, I made minor contributions to other active Mozilla Labs projects at the time, which included the Mozilla web app marketplace and Persona (a decentralized identity and sign-in solution).
I was enraptured by Plan 9 ever since I first heard of it: the idea of an operating system built for the networked world, and designed by the creators of Unix (who had surely learned a lesson or two from it), was too enthralling to ignore. I host a page on this site with more information and links if you’re interested. Here is another short write-up on Plan 9 by esr, the article also includes links to a little bit of history regarding UTF-8, which was invented for the OS.
I’ve tinkered with Plan 9 in a few different ways. The biggest endeavor was probably Glendix, a set of Linux kernel modules that enables the execution of Plan 9 “a.out” binaries natively. It isn’t maintained any more — plan9port is a much more practical way to run Plan 9 programs on modern UNIXes — but the code is probably instructive to anyone interested in understanding how to write Linux kernel modules or execution formats (like Plan 9’s a.out) at the lowest level.
I was also lucky enough to work with Sape Mullender at Bell-Labs, Antwerp on making improvements to the 9P network protocol. This resulted in a thesis and protocol implementation of what we called πp.
One of the nice side effects of being involved in the Plan 9 community was following the adventures of Ken Thompson, Rob Pike and Russ Cox, who all eventually ended up at Google and made the Go language. Unsurprisingly, Go borrows many ideas from Plan 9, a language I use almost exclusively for all my personal and professional projects these days.
Google’s Summer of Code program was the first time I was paid to write software, open source no less! It was a very exciting opportunity and experience. I participated in 2006 and 2007 as a student, working on projects for Gentoo and Plan 9.
In 2008 and 2009, I mentored four student projects: Setting Beacon Afloat, PHP Bindings for Cairo, Web-based Image Builder, and Implement per-process Namespaces.
The Summer of Code is a wonderful program and I’m very grateful to Google for having run it and keeping it going for all these years. If you are eligible and interested in software development or open source, I highly recommend applying!
PHP-GTK was my first foray into open source. It initially caught my eye while trying to build a UI application for my university, and I eventually ended up contributing tutorials and documentation for the project.
I am so grateful to the maintainers of the project: Christian Weiske, Andrei Zmievski, Steph Fox, and Scott Mattocks. I couldn’t have asked for a better set of people to onboard me into the world of open source and professional programming more broadly.
Gentoo was my primary choice of Linux distribution for many years. I eventually waded into helping out by maintaining a few packages and writing a web-based editor for GuideXML, Gentoo’s documentation format.
I owe a lot of my understanding of Linux to Gentoo. I would still recommend anyone interested in the operating system to install Gentoo at least once, you learn so much because the distribution doesn’t hide the internals from you. On Gentoo you compile everything from source.
Over the years, I found myself with lesser free time, so the practicality of Ubuntu on the Desktop and a MacBook Pro on-the-go eventually won over.
After contributing code for proper signal handling in GNU Parted, I was briefly the maintainer of the project for a little over a year. Parted is a partition manager and is widely used on most Linux distributions, notably in the default installer for Ubuntu.
Thanks are due to Leslie Patrick Polzer for his encouragement and help with my involvement in the project.