Sarah Allen is a serial innovator with a history of developing leading-edge products, such as After Effects, Shockwave, Flash video, and OpenLaszlo. She has a habit of recognizing great and timely ideas, finding talented teams, and creating compelling software. She has led small and large teams and confidently turns vision into reality.

In both technical and leadership roles, Sarah has been developing commercial software since 1990 when she co-founded CoSA (the Company of Science & Art), which originated After Effects. She began focusing on Internet software as an engineer on Macromedia’s Shockwave team in 1995. She led the development of the Shockwave Multiuser Server, and later the Flash Media Server and Flash video. An industry veteran who has also worked at Adobe, Aldus, Apple, and Laszlo Systems, Sarah was named one of the top 25 women of the web by SF WoW (San Francisco Women of the Web) in 1998.

At the moment

Sarah is co-founder of Mightyverse, a mobile startup focused on helping people communicate across language and culture.

In her day job, Sarah works with 18F to transform US Government digital services from the inside-out, practicing user-centric design and agile development, with open source solutions.

In her spare time works to diversify the Ruby on Rails with RailsBridge, which she co-founded in 2009, and Bridge Foundry in 2013. In keeping with her belief that programming is a life skill, she also regularly volunteers teaching programming to kids.

Recent History

In 2013, Sarah served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution. The Presidential Innovation Fellowship was established by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in 2012 to pair industry experts with government innovators. The Smithsonian is one of several agencies sponsoring fellows in support of the Administration’s Open Data initiative. This spring, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the Open Data Policy to make information generated and stored by the federal government more open and accessible, with the goals of increasing government transparency and efficiency and fueling entrepreneurship and economic growth.

In 2009, Sarah founded the innovative product strategy, design & development company, Blazing Cloud, where she articulated an agile/lean UX methodology known as the Blazing Path. The company is not actively accepting new clients, since the team joined Indiegogo in 2013.

Sarah believes that open source software provides solid technical foundations and compelling business models. She is an expert with Ruby and Rails and was a member of the OpenLaszlo core team, where she coded in asynchronous Javascript before it was cool.

About this website

This is my personal space for writing and experimentation. If you are curious, you can read about the orgin of the name. This website is hosted at Media Temple. They have awesome services and amazing support.


Personal Statement

I believe that software should be fun. Software should enable someone
to do something meaningful that they couldn’t do otherwise.

Interests: learning, language (both spoken and code), experience design, social computing, video and motion graphics, communication, art, science …

Software Products

  • Smithsonian Transcription Center
  • Mightyverse
  • OpenLaszlo v1-4
  • Laszlo Webtop v1-1.5
  • Laszlo Mail v1-2
  • Macromedia Flash Communication Server v1 (renamed Flash Media Server)
  • Flash Player 6
  • Macromedia Shockwave Multiuser Server v1-3
  • Macromedia Director v6-8
  • Macromedia Shockwave v1-8 (only 5 versions, they skipped from 1 to 5)
  • Adobe ScreenReady v1
  • Apple’s Open Collaborative Environment (AOCE) released as System 7 Pro
  • CoSA After Effects v1
  • PACo (PICS Animation Compiler) aka QuickPICS v1-2

Speaking History

If you would like me to speak at your event, email me.


Top 25 women of the web 1998 (top25 site, 1998 list, 1998 article)

What do you think?