About

You can reach me at:

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My blog: payne.org/blog

Companies

Former investments and other projects:

Biography

Since 2012, I’ve been an active angel investor, entrepreneur and inventor. I am working on several new projects and helping my portfolio companies. I occasionaly guest lecture at the Harvard Business School, Brandies, Olin, and MIT.

In early 2007, I co-founded FanSnap, and we are building new ways for fans to find and enjoy their favorite live events.

I spent 2006 trying (unsuccessfully) to figure out a workable incubator/hatchery model for creating new consumer Internet companies. In the end, I concluded the best way to figure it out was to just start starting or funding companies.

For 2005, I worked as a consultant for Agilent Technologies, as the result of the acquisition of Computational Biology Corporation in December of 2004.

Before that, I was at Revenio, which I founded in 1999 and managed until a sale to Vignette in 2002. We built an innovative engine for executing very sophisticated, interactive, long-running multi-channel marketing programs. We sold our solution to over 25 customers, including Analog Devices, Agilent, Boise Cascade, MicroStrategy, National Semiconductor and Vail Resorts. Revenio’s patented flagship product shipped as Vignette Dialog.

Revenio was venture funded, with Tim Barrows at Matrix, Ted Dintersmith at Charles River Ventures, and David Fialkow at General Catalyst as the primary investors.

In 1994, I co-founded Open Market with David Gifford, Shikhar Ghosh, Larry Stewart, and Win Treese. Open Market was one of the early eCommerce and Internet “bubble” companies: we went public in early 1996 (after Netscape’s IPO, but before Broadvision’s). Open Market was funded by Greylock.

At Open Market, I co-invented and co-designed the company’s commerce architecture. I also led the effort for the company’s first products (that revenue enabled our IPO). The Open Market WebServer and Secure WebServer shipped in early 1995. These products had several innovative features, including the use of Tcl for configuration and access control, a non-blocking reverse DNS lookup, and an extremely-scalable “commutator loop” threading model to handle requests in a single process. (AOL Server seems to have a similar design, though (to my knowledge) shares no code with the Open Market server products). I also co-invented FastCGI, a very scalable, language-neutral interface between Web servers and applications.

I left Open Market in 1998 to spend time with my family.

I worked at Digital Equipment Corporation in the late 80s and early 90s. Most recently, I was on the research staff at the Digital Cambridge Research Lab in Cambridge, MA. I worked with a group doing research on desktop audio applications (this work was done on workstations, way before PC audio systems became widely available). One of the research products was AudioFile, a system for building distributed audio applications.

Before CRL, I worked at Digital’s Semiconductor facility in Hudson, MA with the group that designed the Alpha architecture and built the first implementation (the 21064, aka “EV3”). The Alpha is a very clean 64-bit RISC architecture, and I’m sorry to see it go. I wrote many of the initial design verification tests, along with Scott Kreider. I also developed a pseudo-random testing tool called REX, which used various algorithms to generate random, broad-coverage tests with known properties. REX was responsible for finding many of the EV3 design bugs before fabrication.

I will always remember my early days at DEC very fondly: I had the pleasure and privilege of working with some of the best processor architects and circuit designers in the world.

Publications

Some publications include:

You can read some of my very old Usenet news postings here, thanks to the Google Groups archives.

Also, I was very active with Tcl in the early days. I wrote the “widget tour” and Ak, an audio toolkit for Tcl, built on AudioFile.

Patents

I am an inventor on 23 patents with 20+ applications pending; this search of the Patent and Trademark Office should bring up the US patents (and this search should bring up all published pending applications in the US).

Education

I have a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Cornell. Despite a career that has drifted away from hands-on electrical engineering, I still know what a Smith Chart is and (mostly) how to use one.

I graduated from Berkeley Springs High School, in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.