I'm a software engineer with a degree in Anthropology. I highly recommend the combination.
Most recently I was technical lead for "Scaled Human Review" at Meta. I worked in the Integrity Foundation (what other companies call "Trust and Safety") on "Better Engineering" initiatives and integrating content review into the Metaverse. The Scaled Human Review teams at Meta build the software which is used by the 30-40K external reviewers who review content flagged by users and automated systems. I'd sworn I’d never work at Facebook, but I decided to see if I could make a difference. That was as quixotic a goal as it sounds, and Meta and I were not a great fit. But I learned a lot about how the sausages are made and why Meta has such a hard time with content moderation.
I've been a software engineer at various levels (from programmer to CTO to company founder) for 40+ years. I learned BASIC in high school, taught myself Pascal, FORTRAN and PL/1 in college, learned C as an intern at Bell Labs (Murray Hill, one floor up from the Unix crew), and went on from there. In college, I majored in Anthropology with a concentration in Psychology, and that's influenced the way I look at software ever since. Software is created for people. Software systems build communities (whether intended or not). Anyone who does that damn well better understand how people and communities work. Sadly, that's a skill which very few companies encourage.
I've worked for Bell Labs (UX/psych stats), Sperry Research (window systems, UX design), Apollo/HP (programmable shell, windowing systems, Unix porting, UX design), Bright Ideas (cookbook, educational games), OSF (windowing standards), Alfalfa (multimedia email - SMTP *and* X.400 😁), Wildfire (phone-based voice assistant), Utopia/USWeb (web consulting), Saroca (small boat manufacturing and sales), Messagefire (anti-spam software), MessageGate (corporate compliance software), Somewhere.Com (security, web, and software consulting), ZeeVee (web video aggregation, metadata scraping), TiVo (video content correlation, metadata pipelines), and Meta (integrity/trust & safety). Plus a few others.
I've been on social media for four decades (seriously, I saw someone catfished in chat in 1978—this stuff isn't new), and virtually everyone I know I met online somewhere—many I've still never met in person. Many of the projects I've worked on focused on how people communicate online. Needless to say, that's made me pretty passionate about making online communities safe for everyone, and especially for marginalized groups.
I'm now a freelance consultant, working on my own personal projects, client projects, and with my wife's consulting company (see below). I'll also be doing a lot more writing about society and technology here on my blog.
I'm pan, nonbinary (or genderqueer, if you prefer). I prefer "they" for pronouns, but "he" is fine. I spent most of my life thinking I really was a straight cis man who just happened to be a bit quirky and a passionate and tearful ally, so I'm not too picky about how you refer to me. I'm also more than happy to answer any questions about all that, public or private.
I grew up mostly in Maine and then lived in Massachusetts for a long time, but I now live on sovereign Swinomish land in Washington State (US), on the edge of the San Juan islands. Despite my first name (that's a story) and current location, I'm not Native American, although I follow Native American rights issues closely; my parents were both active in that area, and that was my introduction to civil rights in general.
I've been with my wife, Dr. Mollie Pepper, for over a decade. She's a sociologist with a focus on refugee migration, gender, and violence; the kind of work that gives people PTSD. She did her dissertation on women's roles in the (now extremely defunct) peace process in Myanmar (Burma). Everything I know about feminism, intersectionality, queer theory, CRT, and racism I either learned from her, or she gave me the theoretical underpinnings to understand them properly. A few years ago she was at a military base processing thousands of Afghan refugees 24/7 and managing their translator teams. Now she has a consulting company that specializes in evaluating and designing refugee service and placement programs. You can find her at Carlson Pepper Collaborative.
I have two grown daughters from my first marriage with Nassim Fotouhi; a kick-ass software engineer/engineering manager who came to the States just before the Iranian revolution.
Shadi Fotouhi is an artist turned software engineer; building dynamic room installations will do that to you. She worked in QA at a gaming company, and then at Jibo; a robotics startup. Now she's a senior software engineer at Wayfair.
Shireen Hinckley is a documentarian, digital image technician, video editor, and co-founder of Somewhere Films, a womxn's filmmaking collective. She works for Beyoncé at Parkwood Entertainment, where she's an editor and is post-production supervisor for all of their video releases. She worked on "Black is King" and every video they've produced since then, whether it's for Instagram, Times Square, Tiffany's, the Oscars, Chloe x Halle, or the Renaissance tour. No, I can't introduce you to Beyoncé.🤓
SOMEWHERE FILMS is a production collective, made up of women from London to Los Angeles, specializing in directing, cinematography, editing, producing, writing and creative direction.SOMEWHERE FILMS
I'm incredibly honored to have those wonderful women in my life. I wouldn't be who I am without them.