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. She is interested in large scale cultural change, and worked for three years in the US Government, first as a Presidential Innovation Fellow, and later at 18F. She volunteers as Program Director of the global grassroots organization, Bridge Foundry, a leading force behind the learn-to-code movement.

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

In her day job, Sarah works at Google, leading engineering teams that work on server-side events and application security policy.

Sarah is working to transform the tech industry to be reflective of our society, so that we might have our best and brightest minds solving our next generation of technical challenges. She co-founded RailsBridge in 2009, which grew into Bridge Foundry in 2013, which became an independent 501c3 organization in 2017. She serves as volunteer CEO and board chair of Bridge Foundry.

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

More details on 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 2014, she joined the founding team at 18F, and worked for two years to transform US Government digital services from the inside-out, practicing human-centered design and agile development, with open source solutions.

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 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.


Personal Statement

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

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

Software Products

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)

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