I grew up in Salisbury, Maryland a small college town on the eastern shore of Maryland. I got my first computer at age 7, a Commodore Vic-20. By age 14, I'd published my first professional article ("GEOS Directory Printer") in Compute's Gazette (remember that magazine?).
Through my high school years at James M. Bennett high school, I participated in numerous extra-curricular activities. I was top seed on our tennis team from junior year on, lettered in track, was junior class president and student council president, and co-captained our state-semifinalist mock trial team. In May 1991, I graduated valedictorian of a class of about 210, and left Salisbury to attend Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
At Duke, I became an avid college basketball fan, was parliamentarian of the Associated Students of Duke University, and continued to play lots of tennis, winning the intramural singles tennis tournament my sophomore year. During my junior year, Scott Harrington, Nate Bronson and I placed first in the U.S. in the highly-prestigious ACM international collegiate programming competition, thus putting Duke Computer Science undergrads on the map, and landing me a summer job as an intern on the Excel group at Microsoft. I completed my B.Sc. degrees in mathematics and computer science in May 1995, graduating magna cum laude.
Immediately after college, I founded the engineering team of Transworld Numerics, Inc. where I worked for about 1.5 years as senior research scientist; we were located in Durham, NC as a wholly-owned subsidiary of a company headquartered in Bermuda. During my time with Transworld Numerics, I moved to Seattle, Washington.
In September 1996, I started the Ph.D. graduate program in the department of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. For my first three years, I was funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and for my final year I was funded by the Bradley fellowship. From February 1999 through May 1999, I visited Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. I earned my M.Sc. degree in 1998, and completed my Ph.D. in June 2000, a speedy 3 years and 8 months after starting the program.
In March 2000, I started working at Go2Net (Seattle, Washington) as Chief Technical Architect. That fall, we were acquired by InfoSpace, Inc. (Bellevue, Washington) where I continued as CTA through February 2003.
After three years at InfoSpace, in March 2003, I left Seattle and moved to Mountain View, California to work in the systems lab at Google Inc. where I was employed through early June 2009. From 2004 to 2007, I led Google's AdSense engineering team. From February 2007 to March 2009, I led several of the consumer Apps engineering teams including Gmail, Calendar, and Reader. From March 2009 to June, I led the Application Platform group.
From June 2009 through October 2013, I worked at Facebook as Vice President of Engineering and Products. I helped lead a handful of different teams at Facebook including Ads, Graph Search (and Search), Data Science, Data Infrastructure, Messaging, Commerce, Photos, Gifts, and other things.
In October 2013, I founded Prepared Mind Innovations and started advising a number of startups and growth companies in technology. Within that company, I also build prototypes around a variety of areas, including home automation, sensors, and lots more. Separately, as an individual, I'm also an active angel investor.
In 2012, I was honored with the University of Washington Engineering School's Early Career Diamond Award.
(unfortunately these flash links are no longer working)
I enjoy many sports (tennis, skiing, rollerblading, softball, day hikes), movies, reading, travel, and great conversations. While I work on expanding this section, here are some links for you to enjoy.
I've been angel investing since 2011, and have made a number of investments in companies that I try to help be successful. Here's a partial list of some of those companies. (See also my advisory company website, Prepared Mind Innovations, for a list of companies that I advise.)
(Acquired by SimilarWeb)
(acquired by Flipkart)