I’ve been working in technology for over 20 years, the last decade or so mostly focused on digital media, cryptography, security, and incident response. I’m currently a Principal Product Manager at Adobe, working on Adobe Primetime – a suite of products and services that enables programmers (like broadcast and cable networks) and operators (like cable and satellite companies) bring video content online, monetize it, and monitor the results across computers, tablets, phones, and connected TVs. My main focus is Security (incident response, managing our Public Key Infrastructure,) working with content owners like motion picture studios and networks, and Video Compression Technologies. I’m also exploring Immersive Technologies Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). I’ve been with Adobe since early 2010.
The early days…
I got my start in technology (at least professionally) in the early ’90s while working at Scottsdale Community College – first in the performing arts center building computer labs and video production systems, and later in the instructional technology division as part of the team designing and building the school’s early web site. I started getting calls from an early Internet Service Provider called “NetZone” that was doing dial-up connectivity for the area, and had customers asking for web pages… they needed professional web designer/developers, and that was a profession that simply didn’t exist in 1993, so I was hired and started designing and building web sites for customers, and eventually found myself promoted to my level of incompetence as “Director of World Wide Web Services” at the company. I eventually left NetZone (which was acquired by Telesoft) for a larger company, Internet Direct (which was eventually acquired by Earthlink.)
The dot-com years
After whetting my appetite at local ISPs, I co-founded my first startup, called Netcetra. I was the company’s Chief Technology Officer, and we built web sites, software (including some fun games for computerized slot machines. Z80 Assembler is not your friend.) Netcetra eventually closed its doors, and I found myself as a Technology Designer at Big Tent Media Labs, building early dynamic, database-driven web sites with one of my best friends, Paul Thurrott. We cut our teeth with the first version of Active Server Pages, and battled database issues with Access and early versions of SQL Server… I still have nightmares of hard drive failures in Big Tent’s San Jose data center. I also wrote my first book while I was there, which was an overview of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS.)
One of Big Tent’s customers was an early-stage online vacation leisure lodging startup called “GetawayZone.” I joined the company as its Vice President of Technology… they were acquired by a company called Rezworks.com, which was acquired by VacationSpot.com, which was acquired by Expedia.com… I like to say I had the same job for ~4 years but worked for 5 different companies. (Ah, the dot-com era.) It was one of the most enjoyable jobs I ever had, and I learned a ton and got to work with some wonderful, incredibly passionate people. Indeed, I even met my wife Rachel while working at VacationSpot – she was the sister of one of my colleagues.
I ostensibly “retired” after the Expedia acquisition, staying on for a few weeks to aid in the transition. However, I quickly found myself bored and taking on the occasional consulting project (and my finances were decimated by the dot-com crash of the early 2000s) so I was happy 6 months later when I discovered I had accidentally started a consulting company in my basement with my brother-in-law Evan Hill. Critical Domain LLC did custom web programming and infrastructure for companies including a property management startup, and a digital watermarking company (that I eventually became the sole engineer for.) I got to build some really great technology, including an early content management system, and a digital watermarking technology that’s still in use today. Critical Domain LLC was acquired by MarketMatrix, and I served as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at MarketMatrix for a while.
After MarketMatrix (and while earning about 60% of my income from playing poker,) I started a few small companies, including a small online publishing house, a software consultancy, and even an early video podcast called PokerStreams. I wound up shuttering all of them before they got off the ground when an exciting opportunity to work at Microsoft in the Media Technology Group (part of the Windows division) came along. I was a Sr. Lead Program Manager in the team that developed digital media technologies for Xbox, Zune, Windows, and third party products. I started up and developed all the processes for an incident response team, and got to work with some incredibly advanced cryptography and A/V codec technologies. I lead the team’s engagements with standards bodies for a while, and got to work with folks who were easily an order of magnitude smarter than me. I left that group to work as a Sr. Program Manager on the Xbox security team, which I did for about a year before leaving for Adobe. I spent a little over 5 years at Microsoft, and had a great time working with some truly brilliant people. I look back fondly on my time there, and made many life-long friends. One of those friends had left the ‘soft for greener pastures at Adobe…
I started at Adobe in early 2010, joining what is now called the Primetime video team. My primary responsibility is around security (things like cryptography, incident response, vulnerability management, and audits/compliance.) I also manage our relationships with content owners (broadcast and cable netowrks, motion picture studios, etc.) and video compression technologies.