I’m a software engineer / entrepreneur / strategist and activist who focuses on justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality. My current software project is The Nexus Today, an anti-oppressive news aggregator. I also consult for and advise tech companies on software engineering, technology, and security.
For the last fifteen years, my research focus has been on re-imagining computer science as a social science. Sex, pleasure, and diversity-friendly software: the article the ACM wouldn’t publish gives an overview of work combining an intersectional diversity perspective with classic software engineering approaches – and the institutional barriers this kind of work tends to encounter. Diversity-friendly software and strategy (from TechInclusion Seattle) is a short overview with links out to more. The 2017 SXSW presentation, with Shireen Mitchell, goes into detail.
Other related work includes Transforming Tech with Diversity-friendly software (from TRANSform Tech), a trio of collaborative presentations at the Open Source Bridge conference with Deborah Pierce, Lynn Cyrin, and Tammarrian Rogers, and the resource page on Gender HCI, Feminist HCI, Post-Colonial Computing, Anti-Oppressive Design, and Design Justice.
Previous work includes
- Creating the static analysis tools PREfix and PREfast as founder and CTO of venture-funded startup Intrinsa (acquired by Microsoft in 1999) and then at Microsoft Research, where I was part of a team that won the prestigious “President’s Award” for our industry-leading static analysis work.
- Security planning, research, and company-wide culture change with the Microsoft Windows Security Push and XPSP2 task forces. The project I led analyzing and recommending for mitigations to reduce exploitation of buffer overruns helped make SP2 the most secure commercial operating system of its time; the attack surface reduction work I did with Mike Howard and Jeannette Wing helped lead to a broadly-used internal tool that got shipped to customers a decade later.
- Leading the Ad Astra (Analysis and Development of Awesome STRAtegies) project as General Manger for Strategy Development in Microsoft’s Online Services Group, at the time the only multi-million dollar oppression theory project done at a Fortune 500 company in conjunction with McKinsey. The strategic principles have held up well. “A very special Ad Astra holiday” has some reflections from various group members; my Quora answer has the public narrative.
- Co-founding Qworky, a Seattle-area startup developing an intelligent platform for “meetings that don’t suck”, with Mikal Lewis and Sally Abrolous
- Running an international 60-person engineering and product management organizations as Senior VP of Products at Accellion
- Talks at software engineering and security conferences including ICSE, ICSM, ISSTA, and RSA, and publications in IEEE Software, IEEE Security and Privacy, Software Practice and Experience.
I’ve also volunteered with several non-profits, including
- co-chairing the Northwest Entreprenuers’ Network’s First-Look Forum pitch competition (with Rebecca Lovell and Rochelle Whalen), where we substantially increased participation by (and success of) women and under-represented minorities.
- co-chairing the ACM conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy in a Network Society (with Dorothy Glancy and Sigurd Meldal) in 2010, where we developed a social network users’ bill of rights
- the National Academies/CSTB software dependability panel Sufficient Evidence?
- Board member at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee from 2011 to 2014
With my activist and organizer hats on, I’m one of the leaders of Indivisible Plus Washington, a 20,000+-person anti-racist non-partisan progressive statewide group. A bad day for a bad privacy bill, a good day for privacy, Significant progress, although still a ways to go, and Washington says NO! to bad Washington State Privacy Legislation (from 2020) highlight how mostly-white progressive groups like Indivisible can follow the lead of diverse, community-led organizations and help contribute to a significant victory. Current projects include privacy and civil liberties activism at the local, state, and national level; a focus on disinformation (working with Shireen Mitchell of Stop Online Violence Against Women); and voter mobilization.
Past activism experience includes:
- Organizer at Get FISA Right, best known for our 2008 organizing on my.barackobama.com, but still active today
- Working with Baratunde Thurston, Tracy Viselli, and Lillie Coney on the Voter Suppression Wiki, and a great team of people on Twitter Vote Report, also in 2008
- Starting #p2 (the largest progressive hashtag on Twitter) with Tracy in 2009
- work with civil liberties coalitions on issues like Stop Real ID Now (in 2005) and opposing TSA overreach (since 2010)
I’ve also written and spoken extensively about activism. Grassroots activism is hard. Can open source help? (from Open Source Bridge 2017), Intersectional Inclusion: Perspectives from the Resistance Manual (a 2017 interview with Aditi Juneja), Cognitive evolution and revolution (from the opening plenary at Politics Online 2009), and Social network activism and the future of civil liberties (originally published on Pam’s House Blend) are good starting places . The Writings on activism page on Liminal States has a lot more links.
You can reach me by email (my first name at this domain), or social networks including Dreamwidth, Mastodon, Twitter, Diaspora *, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a bunch of others that I’ve forgotten the passwords to.
Diversity, inclusion, and software engineering
Diversity-friendly software and strategy, TechInclusion Seattle, 2017.
Transforming Tech with Diversity-friendly software, TRANSform Tech, 2017.
Diversity-friendly software, with Shireen Mitchell, SXSW 2017.
Supporting Diversity with a New Approach To Software (session description, wiki page, slides), with Tammarrian Rogers, Open Source Bridge 2016
Building Diverse Social Networks (slides, video), with Lynn Cyrin, Open Source Bridge 2015
Towards Diversity-Friendly Social Networks (slides), with Deborah Pierce, Open Source Bridge 2014
Cognitive evolution and revolution (slides, discussion), Politics Online 2009
Dealing with Hate Speech, Flaming, and Trolls (reference list) at Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2008
Project Fabulous (audio, slides), Microsoft Research Talk, 2005. Alas, the three talks in my Holistic System of Systems series are Microsoft-internal-only.
Software engineering and Security
What can Diaspora learn about security from Microsoft (blog post), Blue Hat, 2010
Computer Science as a Social Science: Applications to Computer Security, with Sarah Blankinship, Data Devolution, 2006
Graceless Degradation, Measurement, and Other Challenges in Security and Privacy, invited talk, ICSE 2004
Buffer Overruns, RSA 2004
Steering the Pyramids: Tools, Technology, and Process in Engineering at Microsoft, keynote, ICSM 2002
Analysis is necessary but by no means sufficient (slides), invited talk, ISSTA 2000