Some of Mitra Ardron's Past Projects & Clients
Listed here are some of the projects I have been involved with over the years. Some are voluntary, others are paid; some are well under way, or recently completed, while others are just starting; some will continue for years while others will fall aside for any number of reasons:
Urban Ecological Systems 2009-present
- Supported commercialisation of integrated aquaculture/horticulture system
- Mentored development of business skills for core team
- Developed business plan and financials
- Developed finance raising materials and presentations to customers
- Introduced them to their first commercial customer for a multi-million investment
Beyond Building 2007-2008
CFO and General Manager Beyond Building Energy
- Creating first affordable Residential Photovoltaic offering in Australia and building a company that took $80m in orders in its first two years
- Developed business plan and modeling
- Pulled together team of 13 people
- Developed a unique business model based on enhancing social capital
- Built AU$10m in sales in first year
- Growth path (after I left) took company to several thousand houses, and somewhere near AUD$50m in sales, with our Melbourne partner doing a similar number.
- Developed relationships with industry, government and non-profits
Co-founder and director
- Financial modelling and authoring the business plan
- Negotiated with investors
- Managed legal
- Assisted the CEO, especially in working with investors, and engineering staff
- Sorted out problems beyond the skills of the management team
- Board member
Natures Child Wholesale 2004-2006
Co-founder and partner
- Co-managed the business
- Developed the plans and financials
- Raised the capital required
- Organised fair manufacturing of organic cotton products in India
- Created organic personal care products, made in Australia
- Set up distributor and importing arrangements with a number of companies
- Developed the business plan
- Organised thorough financials
- Fundraised in the US
- Applied for grants
Project Officer - Byron Community Knowledge Management Project
- Developed an experimental service to merge online and offline networking for specific interests and community sectors
- Documented the project and presented at academic conferences
Chief Technology Officer for Net Deva
- Developed the specifications,
- Recruited and managed the outsourcing of the programming to India.
Chief Technology Officer for Flycode - a Peer to Peer video and image sharing service, with built in DRM.
- Developed and managed an engineering team in India, for the startup in San Francisco, while based in Australia.
- Architected the system and wrote the specifications.
- Supported the developers, negotiated with technology partners, supported business development team with key customers, and acted as part of the core management team.
Acting Chief Technology Officer for a portal for "Cultural Creatives" spun off by Utne Reader magazine.
- Developed specifications for components; negotiated with potential suppliers such as Vignette;
- Assisted in recruiting a full-time replacement.
Paragraph and Silicon Graphics 96-98
Chief Network Technology Officer (Paragraph)
- Helped organize their technical teams to make sure their skills were fully realized as products, and recognized in the market space.
- Supported the business team in negotiating the specifications for several multi-million dollar contracts for example with Disney.
- Managed the transition from proprietrary one-off systems to a leader in VRML..
- Managed the interface between the business team and developers.
- Managed a team of programmers split between Moscow and Silicon Valley
- Represented Paragraph to standards bodies, including VRML and Living Worlds.
- Frequent public speaker on behalf of Paragraph and SGI.
- This led to their aquisition by Silicon Graphics in 1997 for whom I consulted until the closure of that business unit in 1998
VRML - Virtual Reality Modeling Language '94 - '97
I was heavily involved in the VRML standardisation effort, this work spanned my time with four companies - Worlds Inc
, WorldMaker and ParaGraph
, Silicon Graphics
- Check out some of the technical proposals I wrote in my VRMLdirectory.
- I co-authored the Moving Worlds proposal along with Sony and SGI. This proposal was adopted by an overwhelming majority of the VRML community, and becameVRML2.0 and then when it was adopted by ISO for standardisation it became VRML97.
- Then I worked in collaboration with Blaxxun and Sony on the Living Worlds proposal for multi-user VRML worlds.
Worlds Inc '94-'95: Worlds Chat and VRML+
Worlds Inc built 3D multiuser, interactive worlds over the internet. Their projects included the Starbright Foundation's system linking kids in hostpitals, and projects with IBM and VISA.
- I headed the server design team during the stages of crafting the architecture for the server that would be common to all these products.
- I architected Worlds Chat, the internet's first 3D chat system, in which users picked "avatars" and navigated a space station chatting with other users. It was voted "best Internet Application - 1995" by Internet magazine.
- I designed the protocol and led the team to build the VRML+ client and server, designed to allow sharing 3D worlds on the then current 14.4 kbaud modems.
Wais Inc: CMP Techweb '94
WAIS Inc was the company set up by the original inventor of WAIS - Brewster Kahle. WAIS Inc have commercialised the WAIS server and ported it to several platforms. Including the SCO Unix port which I did for them. They made a name for themselves in online publishing, and were aquired in early 95 by AOL.
- CMP is a publishing house with around 16 or 17 computer related titles, including Network World, Internet Business Report, Interactive Age, etc. All 16 of these publications were put on the Web in a crash 2-month project in late 1994 called Techweb which I was the lead engineer on, as a subcontractor to WAIS Inc.
Pandora Systems '89 - '94
In 1989, I co-founded Pandora Systems with Mark Graham. As VP Engineering, I was responsible for almost all development at Pandora. The focus of the company was on producing complete solutions, in particular around the areas of usage by average users as opposed to the focus of most systems on high-end users. Over six years we played a prominent part in the early development of the commercial internet, highlights included:
- The main non-university developers of enhancements to the Gopher system (the predecessor of the WWW). Including a leading role in making sure that Gopher's standards were integrated with the rest of the internet.
- Enhancing many public domain and commercial internet products to make them usable by average, rather than academic, users on low-bandwidth links, including for example: Tin, Mush, Less, Caucus, Pine, Prospero
- In '87-'88 Pacific Bell created a network for K-12 called the Knowledge Network, we built the applications for this using our enhanced public domain products.
- Building a multi-system offline newsreader - Messenger - that worked on Caucus, the Well, IGC etc and was optimized for poor network connections.
From Sept 93, through early 94, I designed and developed AOL's first gateway to the internet - which at the time meant Gopher and WAIS. Designed for the average AOL user, it had to make the hostile internet look friendly and reliable. This included:
- Building what was, at the time, the biggest cache on the internet - with a 75% hit-rate.
- Building a classification system - similar to Yahoo, with Editor's choices and the rest of the net.
- Handling about 10% of AOL's then user-base.
- Educating AOL of the importance of the internet.
Internet Engineering Task Force
The IETF is the body that set standards for the internet, its motto is "Rough Consensus and Working Code", its approach to standardisation was been a large part of the success of the internet, in making sure that products from different sources will interwork. I was active in the information retrieval working groups of the IETF for several years. This included:
- writing one of the drafts of the standard for the URL.
- being actively involved in the specification work for HTTP.
- leading the push to get the same content-type designator used in information retrieval as in mail (MIME) applications
- authoring the Internet-Draft for URN2URC scenarios
- co-authoring the Internet Draft of the URN document presented in November 94.
- co-authoring the 1994 Internet Architectures Board discussion paper on Internet Information Architecture
Sovam Teleport Russia
Association for Progressive Communications 1988 - 1989
I co-founded the APC in 1989 along with IGC (PeaceNet and EcoNet) as an organisation that would identify candidate organizations who had the technical and political capabilities to support the progressive communities in their countries. I assisted the Web in Canada to migrate its users and information services to the APC's software, and fully integrate email and news with GreenNet and IGC. This methodology was then followed to bootstrap Alternex in Brazil, Pegasus in Australia, Nicarao in Nicaragua, and Nordnet in Sweden. The APC is now recognized as the leading organization in this field with affiliates in around 30 countries, and is largely responsible for bringing much of Africa online. See www.apc.org.
GreenNet - UK 1984-1988
I founded GreenNet in 1984, England's fourth ISP when the net was X.25 not TCP/IP. (the other three are long gone). GreenNet provided email and information services to the non-profit sector (Environment, Peace and Human Rights) in Britain and many neighbouring countries without affordable email. We ran the first internet cafe in London. At a time when most email services were islands, we had the first british service where email could be sent to users on almost any other service. The network grew at 15% per month during my time running it, and is probably still Europe's most significant non-profit network. GreenNet is based in London.www.gn.apc.org
Consulting 1981 - 1985
Between 1981 and 1985 I worked as a consultant, with a variety of projects, mostly in machine control, and lower-layer communications. These included, a lighting controller for the British Broadcasting Company, two distributed water control systems, a typesetting simulator (before the days of PageMaker!), a real time O/S in Forth, a distrubted photocopier control network and several others. Skills learned during this period included the importance of the user, how to write tight code, and how to code flexibly so that it was possible to work with fuzzy specifications.
British Telecom 1978 - 1981
I won a scholarship from British Telecom, to Cambridge University, and spent a year training for a communications management career. Research work during this period included assembly level programming of the first full-duplex speaker-phone.
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