• engineering manager and team lead
    strategy, staffing, lead by example
  • internet application architect
  • instructor and keynote speaker


Clara Health, San Francisco

Head of Engineering, 2018-2020

  • Managed all of engineering including hiring and career development at a pre-Series A startup through post-Series A
  • Built out replacement back-end API and analytics platform (GraphQL, OpenAPI 3, NodeJS/Koa/Typescript, Redis, Redshift, Elasticsearch) which replaced original (custom ReST, Python/Django, Zappa/Lambda)
  • Owned site operations and HIPAA-related site security responsibilities (AWS, Cloudflare, Terragrunt/Terraform) including HIPAA-compliant release infrastructure (Gitlab/Gitlab CI, Elasticbeanstalk, AWS VPC)
  • Created virtual development environments for local development (Vagrant, Ubuntu, Ansible)
  • Various engineering/IT-related SOP documents and budget decisions including title and compensation tiers

RaiseMe, San Francisco

Principal Engineer 2017-2018

  • Architected, designed and wrote a Netflix-style recommendation engine powering Raise.me’s college suggestion API in Go, Ruby and Python; deployment using AWS (EC2, RDS, ElasticBeanstalk), XPlenty and NewRelic
  • Estimated, planned and resourced engineering to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) for the web site before certification deadlines
  • Designed and implemented a standardized virtual development environment for the engineering team using Vagrant integrated with existing Chef provisioning
  • Other development in Ruby on Rails, React/Redux, MongoDB and Bootstrap
  • Created and managed Architecture Change Control initiative, which uses a well-defined process to evaluate all engineering projects in context of impact on architecture and software structure; this significantly opened up engineering velocity and infrastructure integrity at the organization, unburdening the CTO from being a bottleneck
  • Directly managed two sprint teams of engineers on critical engineering projects.

Tinker, San Francisco

CTO & Co-founder, 2015-2016

  • Tinker is a team feedback and review site that rethought the annual and performance review process to reflect the needs of top performers in high-concept/high touch disciplines such as engineering, product design, and public relations
  • Developed beta responsive website from scratch and handled everything from spinning up the servers to architecting the site and writing the bulk of the backend code and frontend UI (DigitalOcean, Vagrant, Ansible, NginX, PHP, MySQL, Memcache, AngularJS, Material Design)
  • Recruited and onboarded additional engineers to support the project and development environment (Git, Vagrant, Ansible)
  • Engaged in business development to get lighthouse accounts on board to test the beta; current users include teams from Pinterest and Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia Foundation, San Francisco

Software Architect, 2012-2014

  • Grew and managed the largest engineering group, features engineering, from 15 to 30 engineers (4 to 6 engineering teams)
  • Quadrupled the product release schedule for features engineering from 2 release per year to 8 releases per year in one year’s time including the release at the end of 2012 of a keystone project, VisualEditor, that had been started in 2009
  • Oversaw fundraising engineering team, which grew in individual donation revenue to $44M in 2013.
  • Oversaw and drove the release of major features products that contribute to editor engagement, including notifications, discussions, and onboarding experiments for first-time users
  • In FY2014-2016, responsible for staffing budget projections for all of Tech (2/3 of organization) and proposed a new organization scheme for engineering, product, and design going forward

Automattic, San Francisco

PlanetTaker, 2009-2012

  • Added domain purchasing/mapping to signup and registration: Doubled revenue of WordPress.com; mentioned by PCMagazine when ranked “Best Blog Software”
  • Created A-B Testing framework for WordPress.com, later was responsible for the annual blog statistics e-mail to WordPress.com users.
  • Created Twitter API for WordPress
  • Revised Global Tags pages (source of ad traffic and GooglePageRank), worked on JetPack enabling it for WordPress.org users
  • Worked on Major League Baseball migration from competitor to WordPress and Google Knol migration to WordPress
  • Implemented Auto-activation on signup
  • Worked on Writing Helpers, Guided Tour, and other things for First Time User Experience
  • Various bug fixes on signup, registration, store, TopicPress, password, and security

BuyWith5, San Francisco

Co-founder, 2010-2011

  • BuyWith5 was a group buying site where coupon discounts were based on sharing on social media and their purchase/sell-thru rate. In addition, it supported both white-labeling and deep integration into other websites not limited to transparently handling payments and revenue share, ticket sales, and coupon usage tracking.
  • Went from technical advisor to take over all development and go from zero to live site launch in two months for sales and ticketing for first client. Later managed a team consisting of two developers, one product manager, and one designer.
  • Site included e-mail marketing, account creation, Facebook and Twitter integration, PayPal integration (for payment processing and revenue share), ticketing and coupon integration (via QR code) to backend site, co-branding.
  • Participated in numerous fundraising and vendor pitches including winning a PGA Tour venue as a client, and successfully handling ticket sales for their event.

Tagged, San Francisco

Software Architect, 2007-2009

  • Solved all site stability, scalability issues allowing for virality curve to grow site from 18 million registered users (January 2007) to well over 80 million registered users (March 2008).
  • Rearchitectedstrong> site performance allowing a growth from 830 million monthly page views (Feburary 2008) to over 7.2 billion monthly pageviews (May 2009) while reducing the web server count in half.
  • Built the most popular dating application on the web in order to more than double site engagement (May 2008). The application generates over 87 million page views, 17 million yes clicks, and 2.2 million matches every day (January 2009). (Match’s app, Tinder is based on it.)
  • Help transition development from a waterfall release system (6 releases in 2006), to an agile one (27 releases in 2007), to a web-agile one (daily releases). Engineering codebase, team structure, work environment, and development process to reduce engineering churn from 100% a year when joining the company to <10%, while engineering team size has more than doubled in size.
  • Oversaw ~20 engineers. Rebuilt engineering codebase, team structure, work environment, and development process to reduce engineering churn from 100% a year when joining the company to <10%, as engineering team size more than doubled in size.
  • Examples of specific architectural issues addressed:
    • System was built on OPAL (Oracle PHP Apache Linux) and operations was dealing with daily crashes when I joined. Finished database partitioning to remove dependence on RAC (February 2007), responsible for decision to move parts to Java layer, split user objects and relationship tables to work within memcache , etc.)
    • Rewrote handling of all configuration, objects and caches in the system to reduce the startup time and memory footprint of system; AJAXified profile page to reduce footprint of 3rd party applications.
    • Architecture made to securely transparently and dynamically recover from various security vulnerabilities (XSS, session fixation, cookie vulnerabilities), of which there have been many attacks on the site. Previously a database transaction that took weeks to complete had to be executed to deal with cleaning up after attacks.
    • Designed API to integrate with third parties (March 2007). Transformed it to both an internal API and an Ajax/JSON one (February 2008) that is configurable, multiplexed, cacheable, and secure (XSRF, etc.). It is now used in every web page of the site as the DHTML library along with Yahoo User Interface (YUI) (supervised migration from various other frameworks starting in Feburary 2007).
    • Built and deployed static content compiler (CSS, JS) to also be dynamically edge-cacheable (November 2008) while limiting both bytes and transaction numbers. Built and begun deployment on memcache-based dynamic cache for API and pages (the latter edge cacheable) that is generating an average of 3% extra server capacity a day (March 2009).
  • This lead company to 14 months straight of profitability in the middle of economic downturn (since April 2008) and multiple success metrics by the time I left:
    • top 80 website worldwide (Alexa, since November 2008, up from #320 in December 2007)
    • #3 social network in advertising market share (HitWise, November 2008)
    • #3 largest overall socal network in the United States (Nielsen NetRatings, December 2008)
    • #3 and fastest growing social network in the United States in total daily users behind MySpace and Facebook, (comScore Media Metrix, February 2009)
    • #3 and fastest growing social network in the United States in time spent on site per user behind MySpace and Bebo (comScore Media Metrix, February 2009).

Plaxo, Mountain View

Web Applications Engineer, 2004-2006
Scientist, 2006-2007

  • Created Plaxo eCards website as a revenue product in the fall of 2006. This sent over one million eCards and generated a quarter of million dollars in sales in the first month of operation and helped close Plaxo’s second and final round of funding (before being sold to Comcast in 2008 for $175M). This is an Ajax site written in PHP that seamlessly integrates into a heterogeneous non-PHP back end.
  • Implemented Plaxo web client, including architecture of web-based Calendar, Tasks and Notes (Ajax, Remote Scripting) and introduced Ajax to Plaxo (2004). Originally attached to product design, helped create web engineering from one person (me) to seven people (2007).
  • Implementing next corporate website including g11n support and content management.
  • Designed and implemented survey and reporting engine (2005).

MyCasa Network, Palo Alto

Senior Software Engineer, 2002-2004

  • Developed Server3 Platform core technology and web-based services (SOAP, WSDL, XMLRPC) for remote home control and personal security monitoring.
  • Designed presentation layers (HTML control panel, WAP, VoiceXML, PocketPC, Palm) replaced outsourced third party product and consulting team.
  • Security code review; Created billing system.
  • Gave business presentations and wrote engineering white papers for partners and potential investors including Logitech, Telecom Italia Mobile, and Nokia.

QIXO, San Jose

Director of Engineering, 2000-2001

  • Developed core technologies for the first internet travel comparison search engine (XML, REST, C++, PHP) recognized in major media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Time, ABC News, Fodor's, and USA Today.
  • Implemented wireless presentation (AvantGo, PQA, WAP, VoiceXML, XSL-T).
  • Wrote a live real-time web front end to the search results using Remote Scripting (PHP, Ajax, Javascript).
  • Monitoring, load balancing, and web statistics for virtual network WAN (Apache, PHP, shell, C, Summary).
  • System (FreeBSD, Linux) and Database (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle) administration.
  • Supervised six programmers.

ZipAsia, San Jose

Engineering Manager, 1999-2000

  • Responsible for U.S. portal of Asian content provider.
  • Built multi-lingual, mutli-ui extensible website (ASP, IIS, XML, XSL-T).
  • Database administration (MS SQL Server).
  • Managed ten person team of programmers, writers, and designers.

Presentations and Publications


The Recommendation Engine: A Case Study.
Frames: Inside the Challenges of Wikipedia.
  • php|tek, Chicago
  • Keynote, May 2014
Tales of Virality
  • OSCON, Portland
  • July 2011
PHP without PHP
Making Frameworks Suck Less
  • ZendCon, San Jose
  • Unconference, September 2008
“The Internet is an Ogre: Finding Art in Web Architecture”
  • OSCON, Portland
  • July 2008
  • php|tek, Chicago
  • Closing Keynote, May 2008
  • ZendCon, San Francisco
  • October 2007
“PHP Scalability, Performance and the Future”
  • geekSessions, San Francisco
  • session organizer and moderator, January 2008
“The Underpants Gnomes Strategy Guide: An eCards Case Study”
  • OSCON, Portland
  • July 2006
“0 to 60 in 45 Minutes: A Down and Dirty Ajax Design Patterns Fire Drill”
  • OSCON, Portland
  • July 2006
“Building Liquid Web Applications with Remote Scripting”
  • OSCON, Portland
  • August 2005
“Patterns by Example in PHP Web Applications”
The Fear and Loathing Guide to PHP and Basic Object-Oriented Design Principles
  • PHPCon, San Jose
  • October 2003
The Wireless Home Attendant
XML in Web Application Development”


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Engineering Physics, Teaching Awards


Ceperley D., N. Goldenfeld, T. Chay, G. Bauer, E. Drager. “Prediction of Macroscopic Properties of Liquid Helium from Computer Simulation.” 1999.

Krieger D., R. Simon, T. Chay, and R.J. Sclabassi. “A WAN surgical monitoring application built on PVM.PVM Conf. Workshop. Pittsburgh, PA. 3/1996.

Chay, T. R., T. Y. Chay. “Effects of Channel Blockers on Reentrant Arrhythmias: Model Study.IEEE Proc. Comp. Cardiology. Bethesda, MD. 10/1994. pp. 245-248.

Krieger D., R. Simon, T. Chay, and R.J. Sclabassi. “A WAN Surgical Monitoring Application.” Int. Conf. Biomagnetism. Vienna, Austria. 9/1993.


References upon request