Here's a timeline of most of my work experiences and classic education. I added a block of keywords that highlight popular technologies used in each experience.
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After advising the CEO, Tauriq, while he was closing a seed round, I joined Shout Outs and morphed into a full-stack developer to build an operational 360 online retail prototype and deliver it 3 weeks after the launch of the business. Through iterations with the marketing team & account managers, using their hands-on experience with the prototype, I translated my teammates UX ideas and feedback into a validated MVP, backed by quality wireframes from the tech team first hire, a graphic designer. I interviewed remote dev teams and hired/managed software engineers to sprint through the front-end development on a shoe-string budget while I implemented the order processing & fulfilment backend APIs, automated content on-boarding tasks and interfaced the platform to Line messaging and 2C2P payment gateway. I deployed QA and production environments on Google Cloud and AWS, provided general guidance to marketing and advertisement team on integrating with social network, and used relevant APIs to facilitate the company's advertisement and SEO efforts. As the sales picked up, I provided strategic documentation, budgets and planning for evolving the platform / products and preparing a second funding round. Interestingly, due to Covid-19 lockdown the management team and myself had only three in-person meetings over a period of 8 months and the tech team worked exclusively in remote mode.
Stealth venture focused on urban- and infrastructure-related projects.
With Boarding Cities, I evolved the Symbior Energy ideas and experiences to tackle accelerated urban development issues. Beside overall strategic planning, I contribute on practical elements of highly automatised pre-fabricated residential construction, large-scale operation monitoring & predictive maintenance, simulations and reporting. While most areas of activity are still R&D in nature, some practical projects in infrastructure monitoring and city district development have already taken place.
Incubator of Energy Startups in Emerging Markets.
Together with Derek and Lewis, I joined a family office diversification project, which I transformed into a business plan that applied practices from high-tech, high-growth sectors to the energy sector in emerging markets of Asia. Backed by my two business partners and further investors, I took the lead in building a team to evaluate entrepreneurs' business plans, provide operational resources to startups and bring in private equity funding. Initially unknown to players in the energy sector, the venture incubation approach of Symbior Energy took interested many well known entities. I was invited to present Symbior's work at the World Bank, at the United Nations, and at multiple conferences & panels in Asia. Symbior's portfolio companies raised over $100M in funding, with some reaching leadership positions in their field. Importantly, the companies gave jobs to over a thousand people. Always a techie, I provided our portfolio companies with information technology solutions to accelerate their execution while cutting their costs. That helped one venture to achieve 22 times the productivity of its competitors in China, while another built in 2016 the most efficient solar power plant in Asia. Symbior Energy has been a fantastic learning experience, getting me very much out of my comfort zone and resulting in a tremendous diversification of my network, skillset and cultural exposure.
Private Investments, venture support
Born from constant interactions with financial firms while I was living in New York, I transitioned upon moving to Hong Kong to active portfolio management and venture advisory. As a technology startup advisor, I help the early stage development of an online retail aggregator (BuddyShopping), a online streaming media delivery platform (Orange-backed LiveRadio), and an online retailer for interior decoration and renovation (UpSpace). On the fintech side, I developed from discussions with Tiger Cubs an investment hypothesis analysis framework to help managers better understand the evolution over time of complex financial instruments through detailed simulations and data visualisation.
Publisher/Distributor of Mobile Entertainment
Together with CEO Fabrice Grinda, I built Zingy from a concept to a highly profitable leader in the North American mobile entertainment market within 20 months and sold it within 3 years of existence for 40 times the initial investment. My initial task was to prioritise the technology and processes required to service the business in the Americas. Responsible for the definition and implementation of the technology section of the business plan, I participated in fund raising, promoted Zingy to mobile operators and later M&A candidates. I grew and led the technology team from 0 to 75 people (2/3 of total head count), with offices in New York (USA), Montreal (Canada), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and St-Petersburg (Russia). I managed the exponential growth of web/mobile app properties while continuously improving profitability and efficiency. Zingy alumni have migrated to leadership positions in brand name companies of the online and broadcast media sector.
Provider of Mobile Web Application Framework
Closely aligned with Hagi, the CEO, I designed an innovative platform for the development and operation of mobile applications, based on my experience in computer-telephony and web systems. My initial duties included the write-up of the technology section of the business plan and pitching to investors to close a first round of funding (Synergy Ventures, Booz-Allen-Hamilton). Once the company got funded, I headed the development process, hired an IT team and licensed R&D labs projects to accelerate our launch of the product. Together with the business team, I presented Extenta’s system to industry analysts and customers. Extenta was part of the 2000 Top 25 Innovative Companies of Red Herring Magazine. Our authoring tools and distributed runtime attracted Tibco and Kabira, resulting in M&A discussions. At the same time the dot-com bubble exploded, and our investors indicated that moth-balling the company to preserve capital was their preferred strategy. I then helped Hagi find new jobs for our dozen of employees and fold the company, a sobering experience.
Creates immersive 3D virtual environment enhanced with real-time haptic feedback devices
Marc, the VP of Engineering at Virtual Technologies, asked me to extend the company's hardware business plan with a software strategy, in preparation for the company's first VC funding round. I analysed the company's history and its market, iterated the business plan with the management, and participated to Virtual Tech. sales efforts at trade-shows and clients’ premises. I also worked on Dept. of Defence RFP submissions, and developed software for awarded projects. In cooperation with a small team of mathematicians, electric, biomechanics and software engineers I supported the new line of haptic products that combined very complex hardware and software systems into an accessible toolkit that let researchers easily integrate haptic feedback into their projects. (associated to CyberGlobe, CyberGrasp and CyberForce). Finally I contributed to the Intellectual Property effort of the company by writing and revising patent applications. Virtual Technologies was unexpectedly acquired by Immersion (IMMR) in early 2000, providing a quick exit after a year of very intense work. Alumni of the company went on to take on leadership positions in brand name companies in the field of medical robotics, industrial design, haptic research and even video games.
Development tools for Interactive Information Systems
Akra Logic morphed into a R&D vehicle to create next-gen interactive applications. At the core of every projects was the Plzen language, an extension of Java I envisioned during an early technology access program from Sun Microsystems. The key innovations in Plzen were a Finite State Machine programming model for complex event management; embedded SQL-3 for an object-oriented data management not requiring a translation layer; and time annotation of expressions for real-time execution and simulations. I implemented a compiler and a VM that were proper superset of Java, and a native library for the JDK that ran on Unix, Windows and DOS. I used the Plzen language to create an interactive application framework inspired by NeXTSTEP's WebObjects, but with a much broader use case. I also implemented O-O libraries for fast HTML documents parsing, serialisation into SQL-3 objects, database support on Unysis' Osmos and Oracle's 8i, a cluster manager, and a transaction router for Apache and Microsoft's IIS. I also extended the platform toward virtual cinematography, showcasing the time annotation and event management features of Plzen. This required the implementation of O-O libraries for VRML documents acquisition, serialisation of VRML models into database objects, and native support for batch rendering using PovRay and interactive rendering using OpenGL. Deployment of Plzen technology were done at Caldera, Unysis, SoftImage and MediaSoft. As far as I know, Caldera use of Plzen on a DOS-enabled mobile device was the first JVM-enabled smartphone.
Support of a consortium of NeXT Computers, Oracle, Cisco, Novell and Sun in the Middle-East
As head of a special projects consultancy supporting a consortium of IT companies, I acquired and synthesised strategic information to substantiate sales presentations and management plans, debriefed sales teams following “door opening” meetings, and directed follow-up meetings with targeted presentations. I designed and presented bleeding-edge application prototypes highly tailored for regional constraints in order to beat competitors with generic foreign (non-Arabic) products. I covered the Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. under very tight schedules, splitting my efforts between business development, project management for our software team, and sales support. I learned elementary Arabic to better fit in and immersed myself in local culture to maximise my understanding of our customers' requirements. My achievements include: providing an OA&M solution for AT&T's US$ 4 billion TEP-6 project that was selected by both AT&T and Saudi Telecom management; beating leading US vendors for the implementation of a software platform to operate a Kuwaiti private hospital; a custom call centre for the Americana franchises (Pizza Hut, KFC, Hungry Bunny); the implementation of the first fully digital Arabic/English loan management system in Kuwait for a major bank.
Large Scale Computer Telephony Integration Development And Operation Platform
An authoring tool I developed on contract for the Mediasoft's videotext platform turned out to be instrumental in the company signing a very large contract from Korea Telecom. Bachir, MediaSoft's CEO, offered me to join the company and pivot it into the interactive voice response and computer telephony (IVR/CTI) market. I happily jumped on the opportunity, did a review of the competitive landscape and designed IVS, an innovative platform for IVR/CTI applications. I prepared a rough prototype of an IDE, and created the BlaBla programming language, extending C syntax with a Finite State Machine paradigm and embedded SQL. I then headed a small software team to achieve a first commercial version of the platform on a 3 months timeframe, implementing the compiler and virtual machine, a cluster manager for distributed processing, an optimised SQL runtime and a bridge to Oracle RDBMS. I then joined the sales team to present the product at trade shows and seminars, and at numerous CT Expo “killer app” events. IVS quick gained market traction, won numerous ‘Best of Show’ and ‘Product of the Year’ awards in conferences and publications, and became a leader in high-performance computer telephony. By 1995, IVS was the infrastructure for the largest voice application business in North America, processing 24,000 simultaneous conversations using off-the-shelf hardware. The company rapid growth enable me to delegate software development tasks to a solid IT team, and launch an independent consultancy supported by MediaSoft and some of its customers to tackle special projects. MediaSoft Telecom eventually merged with Prima Technologies to form Elix, which was then acquired by Bell Canada Entreprise.
Parallel processing & User Interfaces
The goal of my Master thesis was to showcase the real-life superiority of a very large quantity of tightly networked elementary processing units over a few powerful general purpose processors. The application was general context-free parsing, parallelised using the systolic algorithms of Chang, Ibarra, Langlois and Palis. The Thinking Machines CM-2 and the Cray Y-MP8 were the hardware platforms, putting ten of thousands of FPGA-like processors against the vectorial workhorse of the Cray. Overall I was able to show that the CM-2 did perform better that Y-MP8 for statements of 150 tokens, and then much better for large statements as predicted by the theory. The relatively simple recursive algorithm for the classic Von Neumann architecture of the Cray took a few days to implement and optimise. But implementing the systolic model on 2 bits in, 1 bit out processors connected in hyper-cube topology took 2 years, hardly justifying the use of the CM-2. To keep my sanity while chasing ten of thousands of simultaneous bugs on the CM-2, I spent the rest of my available time in the multimedia lab working on User Interfaces for authoring media-rich and highly interactive presentations, motivated by the DynaBook concept. I became very interested on the use of Finite State Machines to express and then execute complicated event management.
Proof Theory, Linear Logic
Type systems to eradicate programming errors, and JY Girard's new paradigm to express logic that is compatible with real-world constraints of time and space. Girard's system F is the underlying model for Haskell, and in 2019 a Linear Logic extension was finally implemented. If you are into that stuff, let's talk!
Technical sales, Prototype Development, Customer Support
First Campus Consultant in Canada. My role was to identify new opportunities in the region for NeXT sales force, to brief and support the US-based team during their visits. I created prototypes for university faculty, provided feedback reports to NeXT development team on beta products, and investigated object-oriented models with potential applications in NeXTSTEP.
Formal constructions for syntactic and semantical analysis of natural languages
The Linguistics department gave me a fast-track pass to their Ph.D. program based on work I had done during the B.Sc., to participate in a large A.I. initiative on natural language processing. Unfortunately I eventually felt the research direction wasn't appropriate, and I ended these studies.
Dynamical systems, probability & measure, abstract algebra
Part of the co-op program, I mixed studies and work during the B.Sc. program, which provided a great support to apply often dry Math topics toward practical applications, such as satellite imagery analysis (signal processing, gradients), hostage crisis resolution (game theory) and oil field extraction optimisation (fractals).
Artificial Intelligence, Telecommunication, Computer Graphics
The dean of the C.S. department noticed my aptitude for information technology during the first year intro class, and offered me a job as research and lab assistant! That incredible opportunity enabled me to develop a backup system for the department home-made network OS, create a distributed visualisation package for an expert system, build a data acquisition and reporting system to accelerate the delivery final exams results, and make CGI animations for the department in-house TV system using a ray-tracer developed by a friend and myself.