As Co-Founder, I do whatever it takes to keep the lights on. I invest in growing and developing our team, both technical and otherwise. I love building rituals with them. Recently I’ve been focused on refining our bi-weekly All Hands Meeting as a way to create authentic and meaningful company-wide check-ins.
As CTO, I focus on the quality of our technical decision making. I believe making effective decisions for both the short and long term is critical. I aim to question if we’re making the right trade-offs or if we’re even aware of them. I’m also especially passionate about Doing Right with technology. I believe that one of the most underrated skills is being able to recognize the difference between using our technology skillfully versus rightly.
At Autodesk, I specialized in browser technologies. My principal accomplishment was driving the first and highest-profile commercial use of WebAssembly in the world. AutoCAD web launched at Google I/O 2018. The launch culminated five years of investment to modernize a 30-year-old codebase, port it to browsers, and completely re-implement the user interface in modern web technologies.
In addition to AutoCAD web, I was deeply involved in the web development community inside Autodesk. While there was an incredibly active engineering community inside the company when I joined, it didn’t take browser engineering as seriously as C++ based application engineering. I worked hard to change that through education, building shared infrastructure, and leading by example.
I hired outside contractors to build a shared UI library. We implemented the Autodesk Human Interface Guidelines and then worked with key executives to finance an in house team permanently.
I persuaded browser engineers to pool our resources behind React.js. Previously we were running in many different directions. I encountered everything from homegrown pure canvas-based UI toolkits to Frankenstein apps that were in constant transition to the next library of the month.
I introduced the external web community to Autodesk. Through a combination of speaking and sponsoring key events, I helped Autodesk tap into a whole new pool of talented developers.
I learned a ton about Diversity and Inclusion at Autodesk. Not only did they set an example of how to communicate and be transparent, but I was also able to take advantage of numerous opportunities to volunteer and engage. For example, I volunteered with Code 2040 supporting Black and Latinx students with programming education, mentorship, and coaching. I saw first hand how a well run D&I program could transform the way we think about innovation and equal opportunity.
The Autodesk team was indeed world-class and global. I was lucky enough to travel to the Singapore, Shanghai, and Tel Aviv offices on more than one occasion. One of my most memorable experiences was visiting Shanghai tower, which was designed using Autodesk software.
The AutoCAD team is in San Francisco. To be closer, I relocated my family from Toronto to the San Francisco Bay Area (Marin County to be exact). I enjoyed taking the ferry to San Francisco or working out of Autodesk’s quieter San Rafael campus.
In 2017, my wife gave birth to our second daughter Frances.
Kera Software was my first attempt to build a venture-backed product company. Our small team learned an incredible amount about building startups in a short time. I aimed to create a company that genuinely followed Lean Startup principles. We shipped early, made decisions based on validated learning, and systematically worked to eliminate uncertainty by getting out of the building.
After failing to raise a seed round of funding, we sold the company to Autodesk. The AutoCAD team, in particular, believed in the tools we were building. They saw the value in making sophisticated software remarkably easy to learn by embedding the learning directly within the software. When I joined Autodesk, I quickly moved from learning tools to the core software, specifically the next generation of AutoCAD web.
I co-founded the business with Max Cameron and Jon Friis, two old friends and business partners. I’m incredibly grateful for all the experiences I’ve shared with these two and would start something new with either of them in a heartbeat.