Resume / CV

In short I have ~25 years of experience building software and leading teams that build software. I much prefer smaller companies. I really enjoy most of all working for companines with strong products and/or product vision. It is not just the tech that I love but the product. Additionally, I have spent the better of my career working remote and/or with distributed teams. At my last job I built and lead a 100% remote/distributed engineering team.

And in case you missed the link above, here is my Resume / CV.

On Naturalists and gallformers.org

Coincidentally I had the opportunity to take some time off away from work that happened to be timed with the global coronavirus pandemic. My original plan was to do some traveling that I have always wanted to do. This obviously was not possible. But as with so much in life this setback was actually a huge positive. I found a Black Widow spider in the woods at my local park. Wanting to know more about it I found this site called iNaturalist and uploaded a photo of it, and thus began a wonderful journey.

Using iNaturalist I rekindled the long low-burning passion that I have for nature. In all of this I went on many, many hikes, and have seen many new species to me (~1500 so far), but the ones that caught my curiosity to most were plant galls, specifically Cynipids (Oak Gall Wasps). They are everywhere but little seen, their lifecycles are mind-boggling fascinating, and they are both indicator species for ecosystem health as well as cornerstone species on which so many other species depend. I began scouring every tree I came across looking for more. The more I found the more my eyes were opened.

The wasps themselves are tiny, most less than 4mm with many around 2mm and thus incredibly hard to identify. However the galls they induce on Oaks are unique per species and thus an excellent way to identify the wasp (which you hardly actually ever see given that the adults are only alive for a short period of time and the larva are safely ensconced away in their galls until they emerge as adults). There was much great work done by previous generations of scientists on the Cynipids, but almost all of this work was done from the late 19th century through the 1950s. The original papers are mostly available online thanks to the wonderful Biodiversity Heritage Library but the information is scattered and is all in PDF or image form, making it a difficult resource to use for all but an expert or a seriously dedicated amateur.

This difficulty led me to several of the gall experts on iNaturalist and eventually a partnership with one of them to create gallformers.org. The goal of the site is to be the most comprehensive and accessible source of information about plant galls in North America. I have built out the site pretty much single-handedly and we have a group of gall experts that are curating the data. We have a small but dedicated user base and I am very much looking forward to it becoming a foundational resource for gall fanatics across North America.

My low burning passion for nature has more than re-kindled it has become a major component of my life. I have started to make a serious investment in learning some botany, particularly for Oaks, and have learned so much about so much else. For example, it is likely that the largest group of species on Earth is the Cecidomyiidae (gall and forest midges)? See: Counting animal species with DNA barcodes: Canadian insects and Quantifying the unquantifiable: why Hymenoptera, not Coleoptera, is the most speciose animal order

This Site

I have been through many, many iterations of this site since I first stood it up in 2001. The current incarnation is hand-crafted and its style is largely inspired by rudism.com a site that I ran across on Hacker News in March 2020. It all runs out of an AWS S3 bucket with other AWS bits and bobs to make it all work.