Authors

Raymond Velez

Global Chief Technology Officer, Razorfish

When I wrote my first basic program on my Atari 800 I was hooked; I've been spending time with computers ever since. I studied Computer Science and Philosophy at Boston University, looking to bring the answered and un-answered together. The thing that keeps it exciting is that it's constantly changing and always fresh. That’s something I've always loved about this business, and something that's certainly growing at a faster pace than ever before.

As the Global Chief Technology Officer for Razorfish, I manage the agency’s capabilities in web technology architecture and development, overseeing all of the company’s technologists. A core part of this role involves looking to the community for collaboration, and I’m consistently amazed by technologies like good old message boards and wikis. (In fact, I was fortunate to help Razorfish build our internal, award-winning Wiki.)

My professional experience has been in the application development lifecycle, from inception to rollout, working with clients ranging from Citibank to Ford Motor Company to the National Football League. Most recently, I was the startup Chief Technology Officer in Razorfish’s role as incubation partner for Bundle, a personal finance start- up. I also enjoy training and creating curriculums, and recently led the development of the Razorfish Agile Process. I've been in the industry for close to twenty years, having worked previously at Cambridge Technology Partners and Scient.

Anything outdoors is my passion, whether biking, skiing, or hiking with the family. Over the years I enjoyed mountain bike and ski racing, and was fortunate to ride across Costa Rica in La Ruta de Los Conquistadores. I also find the DIY culture very inspiring; I’m looking forward to hacking some Arduino with my son someday soon.

Pradeep

Pradeep Ananthapadmanabhan

Chief Technology Officer, VivaKi

As the Chief Technology Officer for VivaKi, the division of Publicis Group that oversees digital and media, I’m responsible for envisioning and executing the engineering strategy that supports our suite of data-driven applications. This includes our digital advertising trading desk as well as one of the world’s largest Data Warehousing/BI operations. Both are targeted at increasing the ROI on advertising spend through the strategic use of technology.

Before joining VivaKi in 2010, I was with Razorfish for over six years, most recently as the Group Vice President of Technology for the West region. In that capacity, I led a team of 30+ engineers who brought to life digital strategies for brands such as Singapore Airlines, the National Football League, Intel, Microsoft, and Westfield.

After completing my Master’s in information Systems Management from Carnegie Mellon, my first job was with NEC Solutions. My Web 1.0 portfolio includes developing and launching initiatives for Sun Microsystems and Wells Fargo, among others. Nowadays, the technologies that interest me most are Enterprise content management, cloud computing, touch frameworks, mobile platforms, and web performance management.

While not thinking about Terabytes and Petabytes, you’ll find me watching long Bollywood movies, hiking some of the most beautiful trails of Northern California, or reading about time and space and wondering if we do exist at all.

Heiko Schweickhardt

Technical Lead Emerging Experiences, Amnesia Razorfish

I was drawn to human-computer interaction early in life, quickly realizing that user experience is the key for successfully integrating digital content and services into our daily existence. As Technical Lead Emerging Experiences, I work across all channels designing and building solutions for engaging user experiences.

My technical expertise is grounded in my early career at IBM in Stuttgart, Germany. Realizing that my skills stretch out beyond the traditional IT landscape, I later moved to Razorfish in Germany to work for clients such as adidas and Audi. Quickly expanding my focus beyond the web, I soon began to explore native and multi-touch user interfaces. In one of my favorite projects for Audi, we designed a user interface for real-time 3d configurators based on Microsoft Surface and Windows 7. The Audi Car Configuration on Surface and Audi Multitouch Configurator at Geneva Motor Show.

Seeking new challenges in 2010, I made my way down to the southern hemisphere joining Amnesia Razorfish, with the objective of establish Emerging Experiences as a core discipline. In regular intervals, you’ll find me writing for our blog Emerging Experiences that covers our latest work in this area.

I’m currently living in the center of Sydney, but love travelling to and photographing remote places in Oceania while trying to avoid being struck down by poisonous wildlife.

Paul Gelb

Paul Gelb

Vice President, Mobile Practice Lead, Razorfish

I’ve had one of the more unique career paths at Razorfish; I started as an MBA intern in the strategy group and now I head up the agency’s mobile practice. My trajectory is undoubtedly a testament to Razorfish’s ability to support personal development and unconventional entrepreneurial pursuits.
In my current role as Vice President, Mobile Practice Lead, I oversee a team that includes strategy, site/app development, messaging programs, media, search, and ad creative. But mobile is more than my job; it’s a personal passion. I am, almost without exception, carrying at least four mobile devices: three smart phones and a tablet. This contagious desire has led to an unrelenting output of groundbreaking work.
Specifically, we’ve developed six applications that were featured in the iTunes app store, including the top branded application of 2008 and an iPad app that became the number one free download.

We’ve also designed some of the most successful mobile commerce sites to date, generating over 15% conversion rates and over $2 billion in annual revenue. Our success have not gone unnoticed; our clients have won mobile marketer of the year, luxury mobile marketer of the year, and several MIN and Digiday awards. In 2010, I was the youngest person awarded Mediaweek’s All-Star Award. My point of view and industry projections have been sought out by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Advertising Age, Forrester, and Mobile Marketer. I’ve been identified as a thought leader in the industry with speaking engagements at SXSW, Mobile Marketer, SIIA, Digiday, Streaming Media, PluggedIn, AMA and Navigation Executive Roundtables. You can view two of my presentations here and here. I have MBA from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA and a B.S. in international business and macro-economic theory from the ILR School at Cornell University.

Basel

Basel Salloum

Group Vice President Technology, Razorfish

When I landed in America 24 years ago, one of my primary goals was to become a “computer expert,” so I followed the logical path of academia set out to receive a BS in Computer Science from Northeastern University. My “professional career” started around my first year of college, when I held various senior positions in the fast food industry that ranged from baking bread to restocking bars. During the second year of my education, however, I landed a job as an associate software engineer, coding kernel-level programs using my least favorite programming language: Assembly. This changed everything.

Soon after, I worked as a Software Engineer at Sybase Corporation, and then made the leap from the product side to the service side by joining Cambridge Technology Partners as a Technology Architect.

There, I designed and built a number of transactional client server and web-based systems, before joining Scient Corporation as a Senior Technology Architect, helping companies join the digital movement.
The path from Scient to Razorfish can be traced to acquisitions and mergers where I played various roles from Technology Director to Discipline Lead to Vice President of Technology to my present role.

As for my hobbies (and what’s a bio without hobbies?), I hit the mountain biking trails whenever I can. I also enjoy honing my driving (and sometimes racing) skills on the weekend when getting my kids to their many activities on time (something that requires a great deal of precise event planning and time coordination - and often negotiation).

Luke Hamilton

Creative Lead, Razorfish Emerging Experiences

Seeing as I spend most of my days playing with touchscreens and gestural experiences, it should come as no surprise that I liked Star Wars as a kid. In fact, it’s a Yoda quote — “Do, or do not. There is no try.” — that guides me.

This “only do” philosophy inspired me on a recent project, where I led the Emerging Experiences team on a hush-hush assignment for a major automaker, designing and building an integrated digital in-car experience that helped control an equally game-changing car.
You don’t have to take a test drive to see some of my best work, though. You’ve probably already seen it — in airports, at malls, and even at your local grocery store. That’s because I actively look for ways to get more out of emerging technologies like Microsoft Kinect,

the second-generation Microsoft Surface and an array of tablets —from the iPad 2 to the Blackberry Playbook to whatever’s next. All for a client list that reads like the Fortune 500, including Coca-Cola, AT&T, Kraft, Dell, and Delta Airlines.

For some of that dry bio stuff you were probably expecting to see in this space, like how I spoke at SXSW or that I'm writing a book on the next revolution in interaction design, you can always read my LinkedIn (link) profile. But first I recommend you check out Razorfish’s Emerging Experience blog (link) or follow me on twitter @lhamilton. It’s where you’ll get a glimpse into what I’m doing right now, as well as what’s inspiring my quest to make sci-fi a reality.

Salim Hemdani

Group Vice President, Experiences and Platforms, Razorfish

For the past 13 years, eight of those with Razorfish, I’ve been developing and deploying digital experiences. I love solving client challenges on a ubiquitous medium – the Internet – as its ability to provide a level playing field to everyone around the world fascinates me. Even more fascinating is that I live and breathe this industry despite the fact that my first encounter with television was at age 11 and my first meeting with a computer was at 19.

I started with Razorfish as a developer. E-commerce and community development is my forte; building cutting edge experiences is my passion. My principal is simple: “engineering enables experience.” In other words, “let’s build an experience that is not constrained by technological limitations.”

At Razorfish, most of my time has been spent on-site with the clients, learning their processes and culture. Digital consulting requires a unique blend of expertise, adaptability, and agility, and I’ve learned a lot working with brands like Microsoft, AT&T, Nike, Dell, Best Buy, Costco, Fujitsu America, Safeco and Wells Fargo Bank (as well as several start-ups).

I currently serve as Group Vice President of Experiences and Platforms, overseeing the Creative, UX, Delivery and Technology disciplines for our Microsoft business.
I’m an executive MBA graduate from University of Washington, and earned my Engineering degree from VNIT Nagpur, India. I’m proud member of Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society.

Mandhir Gidda

Technical Director, Razorfish

I’m currently Technical Director for Razorfish the UK, and have been with the agency for more than seven years. My role involves responsibility for all technical delivery in the region, especially in the areas of technical design and build. Throughout this time, I’ve had the privilege of working with clients as diverse as Oxfam and Telefonica. Highlights include the launch of the iPhone in the UK, delivering a massively scalable service platform. This platform has subsequently been used by Razorfish across all of Telefonica eCommerce systems, and used on the cloud. More recently, I have become a convert to the NoSQL movement and am actively pursuing this technology with our clients.

Prior to Razorfish, I began my career in broadcast engineering with the BBC, before becoming a web geek at CompuServe, working to re-architect their proprietary platform to web. Subsequently, I’ve held senior consulting engagements at Reed Elsevier, UBS, Rouse & Co, and MARS Inc.
I had interests, but recently adopted a four- year-old girl so I no longer have time to research comparative religion and theology or travel to world sites of historic interest.
I have first degrees in Biochemistry and Visual Communication Media from London and Wolverhampton Universities, and an MSc in Interactive Computer Systems from Middlesex University.

Mark

Mark Taylor

Solutions Director, Razorfish

I am passionate about customer-centric marketing to solve our clients’ business problems. I basically help clients bridge the gap between their brands and customers. My skills provide businesses with a mixture of joined up thinking across customer insight, branding, business and digital marketing to manipulate cross-channel customer journeys — enabling brands to respond to their customers' needs quickly and economically.

I’ve worked internationally, both agency and client side, to develop a sound set of customer marketing skills from digital strategy to brand planning to customer service and fulfilment management. Skills gained across these foundations have allowed me to create award-winning brand personalities. I joined the Razorfish U.S. team from the Razorfish London office in 2007, and have led some of the most innovative solutions across media and site development for Microsoft, Best Buy, Intel, Samsonite, O2 and BBC.

Prior to joining Razorfish, I headed up Brand Experience at Tiscali TV (Videonetworks International), the first U.K. IPTV platform. I’ve also worked in Senior Management for Centrica Plc, Organic Inc. and SITEL Corporation, leading a variety of business and marketing strategy engagements with Fortune 100 / FTSE 100 companies. I currently serve as a Board Advisor for the University of Washington, and hold a B.A. (Hons) degree from the International Business School at Brunel University in London.

Bob Lord

Global CEO, Razorfish

As an engineer out of college, I was very much intrigued by the promise that marketing holds. I decided to go back to school to study business, specifically marketing. After getting my MBA, I joined the consulting business. Little did I know that marketing and technology would eventually collide.
After stints in leading positions at consulting firms, I landed at Razorfish in 1999 as Chief Operating Officer. Back then, technology wasn’t advanced enough to deliver on brand promises and the bubble burst. But the past decade has truly seen the convergence of marketing and technology and in hindsight my early career experiences primed me for this shift.
My job has evolved over the years; from COO, I became President of our East Region for six years, before becoming Global CEO in 2009.

The best part of my job is working with clients and our teams. I love selling new work, and challenging ideas. Making a difference to our clients and their bottom lines, and helping them communicate with consumers like never before—that’s where I get my energy.
In addition to leading Razorfish globally, I’m a member of Publicis Groupe’s Strategic Leadership team, and have a seat on the Board of Directors for Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi unit. I also sit on the Board of Directors for the Advertising Research Foundation and I’m an active member of the TED community. Whenever I can, I also enjoy biking, surfing and spending time with my family. I hold an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in engineering from Syracuse University.

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