Skip to content

About me

I’m a software engineer / entrepreneur / strategist and activist who focuses on justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality.  As well as running The Nexus of Privacy newsletter, I also consult for and advise tech companies on strategy and software engineering, and was a member of the 2022 Washington state Automated Decision-Making Systems Workgroup.

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.

Since 2017, I've looked at how these concepts play out on decentralized social networks such as the "fediverse."  Steps towards a safer fediverse and Eight tips about consent for fediverse developers are two recent examples; past highlights include  Lessons (so far) from Mastodon, Mastodon: a partial history, Black Twitter, quoting, and white views of toxicity on Mastodon, Should the Fediverse welcome its new surveillance-capitalism overlords? Opinions differ!.

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 spent several years helping lead 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; after a multi-year battle, Washington state passed the My Health My Data bill in 2023 – in many ways the strongest privacy bill in the country. 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:

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 (, or social networks including Twitter; Dreamwidth; Mastodon at,,, and mastodon.sdf.orgelsewhere; Diaspora at; Facebook LinkedIn; and a bunch of other social networks that I've mostly forgotten the passwords to.

Selected presentations

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