Sarah Allen is a senior technical leader who has been contributing to open source software for over 15 years. She founded Blazing Cloud, a mobile development firm, and Bridge Foundry, a diversity and inclusion nonprofit. She previously served as Presidential Innovation Fellow in the Obama Administration at the Smithsonian Institution, and was an early engineer on After Effects, Shockwave, and Flash video. She now leads Google Cloud Platform infrastructure teams working on server-side events and security policy.

Personal Statement

I see patterns of communication as analogous to distributed systems. Just like software, the world we live in is a system where people are connected to each other. Just like writing code to add a feature to a program changes how software works, implementing innovative programs can allow for high impact social change.

I’ve worked on both technical innovations and social change as two types of systemic change. I saw the ability for After Effects, Shockwave and Flash video to create disruptive innovation. But I also saw the problem of building a product people loved but not having it become a lasting success. I started to see how a business model is part of what drives widespread adoption of new technologies, which led to my founding Blazing Cloud, Mightyverse, and my work at the Smithsonian Institution. While working in the Obama administration, I discovered both the power and the limitations of strong executive leadership. Systems, whether bad or good, are resilient to change. It’s not sufficient to write new policies; people on the ground to need to change their behavior in order to create successful outcomes.

While my current roles may seem unrelated, they each provide the opportunity to create a small change that leads to a larger shift in a bigger system. In my day job, I lead Google Cloud Platform infrastructure teams working on server-side events and security policy — there’s opportunity as the industry shifts to cloud native technologies in a new area called serverless. At Bridge Foundry, as CEO, we’re addressing a critical need for skilled tech workers by training newcomers and providing a network where people can find and create good places to work, where talent and skill is not perceived to be related to race, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic background. I actively contribute to open source projects, experimenting with new technologies and making change by simply writing code.

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

About this website

This is my personal space for writing and experimentation. If you are curious, you can read about the origin of the name.

Contact

Interests

crowdsourcing, learning, human spoken language, code, theories of play, distributed systems, experience design, social computing, video and motion graphics, 3D graphics, communication, art, science …

Find me at an upcoming conference or check out videos of past talks on my speaking page

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