We are technical folks from various companies.



Each member of our group is deeply technical in a specialized area and has been responsible for the design and implementation of at least one production system from scratch to being used by hundreds of millions of users. Across the whole group, all layers of the modern tech stack are represented, from bare-metal to pixel.


Adam Ballai


Adam was the first engineer to join Twilio. As an early employee, he wore many hats from engineering, developer evangelism, to devops. He was tech lead and architect for a micro-billing platform powering over hundreds of millions of dollars per month. Today, he creates new strategic product initiatives and creates highly successful engineering teams that power Twilio’s infrastructure services.

Currently: Twilio Previously: Earth911, Pinnacle Cart, The Front Networks, Blackacid Networks Positions Held: CTO, Senior Engineering Manager, Technical Lead, Senior Software Engineer, Network Engineer, Systems Engineer

Alek Kolcz

Machine Learning and Data Science

Alek has an extensive experience in applying Machine Learning to large-scale complex problems including user interest modeling, text and media classification and spam detection and email and social media. Most recently, he has made significant contributions to Twitter’s ML infrastructure. He also tackled large scale problems at Microsoft (MSR, Live Labs, Bing) and AOL and co-founded a startup in the area of adaptive news personalization. He holds a PhD in EE from the University of Manchester (UK).

Currently: Chief Scientist at Pushd Previously: Twitter, Microsoft, AOL, Personalogy, University of Colorado Positions Held: Sr. Staff Data Scientist, Principal Scientist, Systems Architect, Chief Scientist

Alex Payne


Alex is a programmer, writer, and angel investor. He currently works as an independent consultant. Alex was prev iously CTO of customer-friendly online banking service Simple, and before that was Platform Lead and an early engineer at Twitter. He is the organizer of the annual Emerging Languages Camp event, co-author of O’Reilly’s 'Programming Scala ', and a frequent speaker at technology and business events. Alex is based in Portland, Oregon.

Currently: N/A (Consultant) Previously: Simple, Twitter, ManTech International, various consulting clients Positions Held: CTO, Lead Engineer, Intrusion Engineer

Andreas Neuman

Infrastructure, Search and Recommendation

Andreas develops big data software at Cask, and has formerly done so at places known for massive scale. He was the lead architect for Hadoop at Yahoo! and also for the foundational content management system that Yahoo! built on Hadoop. Previously he was a research engineer at Yahoo! and a search architect at IBM. Andreas holds a doctoral degree in computer science for his work on querying XML documents.

Currently: Cask Previously: Yahoo!, IBM, University of Trier Positions Held: Engineer, Tech Lead, Senior Architect, Chief Architect

Andrew First


Andrew is the CTO and co-founder of Leanplum, where he built systems to ingest and analyze up to 1 billion events per day, a single-page web dashboard, and mobile SDKs on iOS and Android. Andrew previously worked on Google on the video ads team's A/B testing. He gradated summa cum laude from Duke University, majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science.

Currently: LeanPlum Previously: Google Positions Held: CTO, Co-founder at Leanplum, Software Engineer

Aneesh Sharma

Search and Recommendation, Machine Learning and Data Science, Growth

Aneesh is a data scientist and technical lead for Twitter's recommendations infrastructure. His work on graph algorithms powers relevance for a variety of products at Twitter: who to follow, tweet suggestions in emails, search relevance, instant timeline and home timeline injections. He is also an active network science researcher, and was an Edelman Laureate in 2014. Before joining Twitter, Aneesh received a Ph.D. from Stanford University where he was fortunate to be advised by Rajeev Motwani and Tim Roughgarden.

Currently: Twitter Previously: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Positions Held: Tech Lead

Austin Sarner


Austin has been developing products for iOS since the App Store launched, and over a decade on the Mac. He was instrumental in developing the Apple Design Award winning multi-touch interface at Push Pop Press. Austin developed the very successful iOS game, Heads Up, which is featured on a television show frequently. He owns a number of patents for user interface implementation.

Currently: N/A Previously: Push Pop Press, Sofa, Jelly Positions Held: Tech Lead, Product Design Lead, Software Engineer

Babak Hamadani

Growth, Search and Recommendation

Babak was an early Facebook and Twitter employee. He created the very popular Twitter TypeAhead (autocomplete) for users and queries. He also launched user search at twitter and worked on search at facebook. Babak worked on Yahoo Search Monetization and Oracle's clustering solution. He owns patents in search and distributed systems and advises several companies.

Currently: N/A Previously: Twitter, SGN, Facebook, Yahoo, Oracle Positions Held: Tech lead

Ben Finkel

Infrastructure, Growth

Ben Finkel is cofounder and CTO of Jelly, where he oversees product and engineering. Previously, he was at Twitter, running New User Experience on Growth. Before that, he was founder and CEO of Fluther, an early Q&A site which was acquired by Twitter in 2010. Ben studied CS and Math at Brown University, and worked at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where he developed applied algorithms.

Currently: Jelly Previously: Fluther, Twitter Positions Held: Engineer, Tech Lead, Senior Architect, Chief Architect

Christien Rioux


Christien Rioux, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist of Veracode, is responsible for the technical vision and design of Veracode’s advanced security technology. Before founding Veracode, Christien founded @stake, a security consultancy acquired by Symantec in 2005, as well as L0pht Heavy Industries, a renowned security think tank. At L0pht, Christien co-authored the best-selling Windows password auditing tool @stake LC (L0phtCrack) and the AntiSniff network intrusion detection system. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.

Currently: Veracode Previously: Symantec, @stake, L0pht Heavy Industries Positions Held: Chief Scientist, Founder

Dmitriy Ryaboy


Dmitriy Dmitriy is the VP of Software Engineering at Zymergen, a company that combines genetic engineering, automation, and machine learning to improve microbial strains used in industrial fermentation. Dmitriy was one of the founding engineers of the analytics infrastructure team at Twitter, where quickly became the go-to expert in all Hadoop-related matters. The team he created was responsible for a number of open-source projects including Apache Parquet, Scalding, and Twitter Heron. He also created and managed PIE, Twitter's team responsible for tools related to A/B testing, product instrumentation, and metric collection. He has a BS from UC Berkeley and a Master's from CMU.

Currently: Twitter Previously: Cloudera, IAC, LBNL Positions Held: Sr. Engineering Manager, Staff Engineer

Eric Kwan

Growth, Infrastructure, Mobile

Eric was an early Facebook engineer who spearheaded the i18n project in 2007. He built a patented crowdsourcing translation platform that make FB accessible to billions of users around the world. He was also one of the founding engineers who established the first FB office in Japan. During the 2 year period, he helped localize the FB experience and grow MAU in Japan from <1M to 20M+ and eventually overtaking the local dominant social network Mixi.

Currently: Operator Previously: Facebook, Yahoo, Oracle Positions Held: Senior member of technical staff, Senior software engineer, Tech Lead, Founding Engineer

George Lee

Mobile, Infrastructure

George worked as a tech lead and manager at Twitter specializing in analytics and iOS development. At Twitter, he created many of the core frameworks for mobile data collection, analytics, and experimentation. George was an engineer at the geolocation startup Mixer Labs and was tech lead for iGoogle analytics at Google. He holds a PhD in computer science from MIT and a BS in EECS from UC Berkeley.

Currently: CTO at PastureMap Previously: Twitter, Mixer Labs, Google Positions Held: Staff software engineer, Tech lead, Engineering Manager

Gilad Mishne

Machine Learning and Data Science, Search and Recommendation

Gilad is a former Director of Search at Twitter and Principal Scientist at Yahoo. His team built Twitter's realtime search technology, serving billions of queries daily to 100M+ users; he also worked on anti-spam, user modeling, trend detection, and content discovery. Gilad has a Ph.D in Computer Science from the Univ. of Amsterdam, holds 15 patents, and has published dozens of academic papers, cited thousands of times.

Currently: Operator Previously: Twitter, Yahoo, IBM, Intel, Intelliseek, CWNT Positions Held: Principal Scientist, Tech Lead, Staff Engineer, Eng Manager, Eng Director

Jan Chong


Jan is a Director of Engineering at Twitter, where she runs Client Engineering, including Twitter for Android, Twitter for iOS and Prior to joining Twitter in 2012, Jan ran client and server development at OnLive, a cloud gaming platform. Jan graduated from Stanford with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Science and a PhD in Management Science and Engineering. In 2013, Jan was named one of 21 Rising Technical Superstars by Hackbright Academy.

Currently: Twitter Previously: OnLive Positions Held: Tech Lead, Sr. Manager

Jimmy Lin

Machine Learning and Data Science, Search and Recommendation

Jimmy is a Professor at the University of Maryland. He graduated with a Ph.D. in EECS from MIT in 2004. Lin's research lies at the intersection of information retrieval and text processing, with a focus on distributed infrastructure and algorithms. From 2010-2012, Lin spent an extended sabbatical at Twitter, where he worked on services designed to surface relevant content to users and analytics infrastructure to support data science.

Currently: University of Waterloo Previously: University of Maryland, Twitter Positions Held: Professor, Research Scientist

Krishna Gade


Krishna is the Head of Data Engineering at Pinterest where his team mainly focuses on enabling data driven products and insights. Previously at Twitter, Krishna led data infrastructure, where he created the streaming compute platform known as Storm. At Twitter and Bing, he also built a lot of consumer facing data products and their backend infrastructure viz., Discovery, Typeahead, Personalized Search.

Currently: Pinterest Previously: Twitter, Microsoft (Bing) Positions Held: Tech Lead, Sr. Manager, Head of Data Engineering

Lien Tran


Lien is a Staff Software Engineer at Twitter, currently building Periscope for Android. Before joining the Periscope team, she was a tech lead on the Fabric platform, and before that, early engineer and lead on Twitter for Android. She has been developing mobile apps since 2009. Prior to 2009, she was building web services and enterprise client/server desktop applications. Lien holds a BS in Computer Science from Santa Clara University.

Currently: Twitter Previously: Motorola, Good Technology Positions Held: Tech lead, Staff Software Engineer

Loren Brichter


Loren was an engineer on the original iPhone at Apple. He left to start a company that made one of the most popular Twitter apps for iOS and Macintosh, Tweetie, which won an Apple design award. It was ultimately sold to Twitter and became the official client. He advises numerous companies and is the inventor on several patents (including widely used pull-to-refresh).

Currently: AteBits Previously: Apple, AteBits, Twitter Positions Held: Founder, Tech Lead

Marcus Phillips

Web, Infrastructure

Marcus led Twitter’s technical training initiatives and worked on the company’s JavaScript framework internals. Marcus directs the Hack Reactor curriculum and the software that supports it. He also runs JavaScript training tracks for JSConf and HTML5 DevConf.

Currently: HackReactor Previously: Twitter, Slide Positions Held: CTO, Lead Engineer

Michael Busch

Search and Recommendation

Michael is a senior architect in Twitter's Platform organization. He designed and implemented Twitter's search index, which drives Twitter's search products and APIs. Prior to Twitter Michael worked at IBM on search and eDiscovery applications. Michael is Lucene committer and Apache member for many years. As a volunteer he leads the software development efforts at the non-profit organization Literacy Bridge.

Currently: Twitter Previously: IBM Positions Held: Software Engineer and Architect, Senior Staff Engineer, Techlead, Platform Architect

Miguel Rios

Design and Visualization

Miguel leads a special projects team at Twitter, building products & services that highlight Twitter content from its complex datasets. He built & led their Analytics Insights team, responsible for services that help the company to find actionable insights from metrics, experimentation & other datasets. Previously, he was a doing research in UMD's Human Computer Interaction lab. He has a BS in Computer Engineering.

Currently: Twitter Previously: UMD Human-Computer Interaction Lab Positions Held: Tech Lead, Data Scientist, Engineering Manager

Momchil Kyurkchiev

Machine Learning and Data Science

Momchil is an expert in mobile app optimization and the CEO and co-founder of LeanPlum. Momchil started his career at Google where he spent 5 years as a software engineer. At Google, he launched multiple quality improvements to YouTube’s ranking algorithms, which resulted in millions of dollars in additional revenue. He also built some of the core A/B testing infrastructure for featured video ads. He has been a speaker at Google I/O, GDC, Mobile Shopping Summit. He has a M.S. in Software Engineering & Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Currently: LeanPlum Previously: Google, Youtube Positions Held: Senior Software Engineer, CEO

Pankaj Gupta

Machine Learning and Data Science, Growth, Search and Recommendation

Pankaj led the “Personalization and Recommender systems” team which was responsible for many of Twitter's discovery and relevance products. He was Tech Lead of Twitter’s user reputation system as well as its highly successful recommendation product called “Who to Follow”. He has founded two startups in areas of networking infrastructure and music search. He has a Ph.D. from Stanford in Computer Science.

Currently: N/A Previously: Twitter, Phulki, Netlogic Microsystems, Cypress, Sahasra Networks Positions Held: Tech lead, Sr. Manager, Architect, CTO

Patrick Ewing


Patrick led the ground-up redesign of Twitter's Profile page for Web and Mobile as an Engineering Manager. Prior to that, he was Tech Lead of the Web Client team and a senior engineer on the rearchitecture of in 2010. Prior to that, he wrote popular open-source libraries and was a senior engineer at several startups. He's currently doing design and engineering on Firewatch, a first-person adventure game for desktop and PlayStation 4.

Currently: Campo Santo Previously: Twitter, Grockit Positions Held: Engineering Manager, Tech Lead (on Web Client), Senior Engineer

Raghavendra Prabhu


Raghavendra (RVP) manages the infrastructure team at Pinterest, which is responsible for core backend infrastructure including storage systems, caching, service framework, and core business logic. Prior to Pinterest, RVP worked for many years on storage and search infrastructure at Twitter, Google, and Microsoft. He has a M.S. in Computer Science from UIUC. His chief focus areas are scalability and velocity, i.e. helping scale infrastructure to hundreds of millions of users and build abstractions and components to help improve product development velocity.

Currently: Pinterest Previously: Twitter, Google, Microsoft Positions Held: Head of Infrastructure, Engineering Manager, Tech Lead, Senior Staff Software Engineer

Ram Ravichandran

Machine Learning and Data Science, Growth

Ram worked at Twitter where he joined as their first data scientist. He played a pivotal role and led projects in growth, analytics, relevance and anti-spam at Twitter. He left Twitter to do a brief stint at Expa before starting Diagram, where he is working on building out the next-generation data science platform, and advising companies on data science. Ram's background is in statistical machine learning and analytics.

Currently: N/A Previously: Twitter, Intel, National Instruments, Carnegie Mellon Positions Held: Founder / Tech Lead

Ryan King


Ryan was an instrumental member of the team that got Twitter out of the worst days of the FailWhale. He then went on to start Twitter's dedicated storage infrastructure team, real time analytics team and engineering education team. He has successfully tackled many large systems problems. He currently leads engineering at

Currently: Bolt Financial Previously: Twitter, Technorati Positions Held: Engineer, Tech Lead, Eng. Manager

Sam Ghods


Sam is one of the cofounders at Box. He started with managing all software development, growing the team to 15 engineers before moving into the VP Technology role where he was responsible for overall technology direction. At 200 engineers, he switched to a hands-on role and is now the Services Architect, working to help Box move to a containerized, dynamically allocated, private/public hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Currently: Box Previously: N/A Positions Held: Cofounder, VP Engineering, VP Technology, Services Architect

Srinivasan Venkatachary

Machine Learning and Data Science, Search and Recommendation

Srinivasan worked as a Engineering Director in Google Search. He helped start and manage several critical projects: Machine Learning libraries (Ranklab), A/B testing, Logs processing, Realtime search and Web based Natural language Q&A. Prior to this he started a company, Sahasra Networks, in the networking space. He has a PhD in computer science from Washington University, St. Louis.

Currently: N/A Previously: Google, NetLogic, Cypress, Sahasra, Microsoft Positions Held: Engineering Director, Software Engineer

Steve Jenson


Steve led the 'User Service' team at Twitter, replacing a centralized monolithic component with an RPC service and caching system. He also led or co-led projects such as a custom Time Series database for service monitoring, a user search service, and reverse proxy. While at Google, he transitioned Blogger away from SQL Server and Tomcat onto the Google stack and also helped build the Google Reader prototype.

Currently: N/A Previously: Twitter, Google, Pyra Labs (makers of, and many other startups Positions Held: Software Engineer, Tech Lead

Ty Smith


Ty is an Android tech lead at Twitter, focusing on developer tools. He is a member of the Google Developer Expert program and regularly speaks at international conferences on Android. He organizes the SF Android Meetup group and teaches Android development at Missionbit. Prior to Twitter, Ty worked on the Evernote Android App and SDK, a messaging platform for Sprint, and Zagat for Android.

Currently: Twitter Previously: Twitter, Evernote, OneLouder Apps Positions Held: Tech Lead, Sr. Software Enginneer

Vítor Lourenço

Design and Visualization

Vítor is a designer, builder, and investor. He is currently starting new companies at Expa, a startup studio that has identified many techniques that help create successful companies. Vítor has helped startups as a founder, designer, investor, and advisor. Prior to Expa, he co-founded Envoy. Before Envoy, Vítor worked at Twitter for almost 5 years, having joined the company as its first designer in early 2008.

Currently: Expa Previously: Operator, Reserve, Envoy, Twitter, Yahoo Positions Held: Lead Designer, Co-Founder, Designer-in-Residence