I am currently a Product Manager at Google, working on integrating the Jotspot application into Google’s services. The best way to reach me is email: scott at happyinwater dot com.
I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was cold, I was raised a die hard wolverine fan, and I swam a lot. When they let me out of high school I headed out east to Brown University where I studied Electrical Engineering. Engineering was the default guidance counselor advice for people who were good at math and science. I focused on computer hardware design (which was great) but didn’t code enough (which was bad). If I had to do it over again I would have taken base CS classes instead of Physics. I left with some mad Perl skills but couldn’t write good C to save my life.
Water polo and windsurfing brought me out to San Francisco in the summers where I worked for NASA building Gravity Probe B, a satellite to test some of Einstein’s theories on gravitation (frame dragging). Despite my involvement, the satellite has not fallen from the sky although I strongly recommend helmets for everybody.
After graduating I worked for Silicon Graphics designing graphics subsystems for high end workstations. This was a ton of fun. Building graphics hardware has a great collection of problems that range from the psychology (how can you take rendering shortcuts without impacting perception), to art (texture, shading, lighting), to mathematics (vector analysis, polygons, culling), to networking (pipelines, parallel processing). I recommend it for anybody who wants to work for NVIDIA. At the time SGI had an amazing collection of really smart people (and me too) doing really interesting projects. After spending some time at Google it reminds me a lot of SGI in the day, except at SGI we didn’t have the wheelbarrows of cash.
I left SGI for Chain Link Technologies, a small bootstrap startup that built tools to migrate Oracle Application objects between instances. Without even knowing what that last sentence means, it sounds pretty boring doesn’t it?. Mostly that is because it was really boring. At the same time really boring often make for a good business and it was a really useful tool. In the end that is what I like to do — build useful tools. It was wonderfully easy to sell, “how do you do it now? Manually? Ah. How much time does that take? A lot? Great. How much do you pay the people to do it? OK. We automate all of that. See how this is a great deal?.
We were unable secure the chainlink.com domain (poor foresight when choosing a name) and after a couple years of using clti.com domain, with all of awkward moments caused by a simple dyslexic typo, we changed our name to Kintana. Like any startup it took us awhile to understand what we were trying to build. (Be very skeptical of those who tell you they knew from the beginning what they were building). After five short years we realized we were building IT Governance software, which at the root is a set of applications that help IT departments do the right things and do them well. Mercury Interactive acquired us in 2003 in an effort to continue to fill out their Business Technology Optimization vision.
In 2005 I tricked Joe Kraus into hiring me at Jotspot. The company blew me away with the platform they built and the quality of people that worked there. When I joined they had a very successful and growing Wiki business. I came on board to drive their application strategy and deliver a number of different applications, all based on a Wiki, that help people work together online. By delivering targeted applications that solve a very specific problem, I believe we to changed the way people think about wikis.
In 2006 we sold Jotspot and moved the team over to the Googleplex in Mountain View. At Google we will continue to realize our vision of collaborative applications built on an integrated development platform.
As I mention in my resume, I have been part of the management staff that lead many releases of large software products in both the enterprise and consumer space. Some of the releases went well, others went poorly. I had more fun with the former but learned a lot more from the latter. I have been a hardware engineer, java developer, architect, manager, director, and VP. I’ve worked in engineering and I’ve worked in products. I believe titles are meaningless, as are employee numbers. If you can’t tell me what have accomplished I don’t care if you were employee number ten and the VP of something important.
I have written a lot of Java and have built large applications using J2EE, JMS, hibernate, XML, XSLT, JSP, Struts, HTML, CSS and other such acronyms. I was a technical reviewer for the book J2EE and XML Development and the authors still speak to me. I admit to being skeptical that SOA will deliver on everything promised. Anybody that tells you XML is the key to interoperability is full of shit. Standards are the key to interoperability and sadly nobody seems that interested standardizing. Even something as simple as RSS has an Atom.
I love PHP and Perl and worship Larry Wall but still see the value in type checking. I regularly use and abuse MySQL for fun. I built and maintain the VIM website in my free time but don’t hold the look and feel or performance against me. I do have friends who use Emacs but I secretly feel superior.
I live in Mountain View, CA with my wonderful wife who would much rather live on the other coast. She is a very patient, tolerant women for more than just that reason. I have survived cancer and you will have trouble getting me to stop talking about it.
I love what I do but there is a really good chance I would rather be surfing.
scott at happyinwater dot com