Steve Hales • Curriculum Vitae

steve@igorlabs.comgithub/heyigor@heyigorlinkedinIGORLABS

Education

Granada High School, Livermore California.

Gifted student class member • (1977 - 1980)

First computer learning experience was on a Data General Nova 1210 which was donated from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Was at Granada at the time California was experimenting with a free form version of the open campus in the public school system, called Tufold.

This allowed for complete freedom of scheduling and independent study, which I took advantage of to focus on the birth of the personal computer. I bought an Apple II in 1978, with money earned repairing televisions, and taught myself 6502 assembly. That would later prove beneficial in getting my first job programming computers.

Las Positas College, Livermore California.

Computer Science • (1979 - 1981)

US PATENTS

SpatialX, Inc
US10291986B1

Zuli, Inc
US20160323393A1

Nest, Inc
US9075419B2, USD677180S1, US8972065B2, US8630740B2, US9020646B2, USD687047S1, US9256230B2

Voxer, Inc
US20120162350A1

Tribal Brands, Inc
US8903940B2, US8558693B2, US8321527B2

Danger, Inc
US8370519B2, US7183481B2

Beatnik, Inc
WO2000055709A3

Technical Experience

Languages

C, C++, Swift, Objective C, Java, Assembly (6502, ARM, 68k), Javascript for NodeJS.

Platforms

iOS, macOS, Android, Embedded Linux. Zephyr RTOS, NodeJS, Google Cloud (GCP), Heroku, AWS.

Concept Expertise

Bluetooth peripheral and central programming, audio DSP, audio production, mastering, mobile app development UI/UX, NodeJS services. Embedded firmware development. A full stack developer.

Management Expertise

Running small teams. Creating budgets, communicating problems, status, managing my time and other team members time.

Business Expertise

Understanding technology licensing contracts. Have successfully created business models around technology. Negotiation of contracts, for vendors, consultants, relationships between companies. Successfully worked with patent attorneys.

Have started 4 companies. Sold assets for 1. Currently running IGORLABS LLC, a consulting shop.

Project, employment experience

Starpath, Inc • first startup (1981)

During my second year in college I was approached by the founders of Starpath (former Atari employees), one of the first Atari 2600 startups to build video games for their new platform. The Supercharger. They knew my skills with 6502 assembly, and asked me to join and build games. I learned how to collaborate and build ideas as a team and come to rely on my colleagues. Shipped one game, Suicide Mission. This company and team, later became part of Epyx, Inc and became a famous company in its own right.

Synapse Software • (1982)

I was attracted to Synapse, just as the games software industry was blowing up away from software in sandwich bags into boxed presentation in storefronts. The founder was charismatic, and worked with me to nurture my creative ideas. I created 5 games. One, Fort Apocalypse, is considered an underground classic. From him, I learned how to lead, how to empathize, and very successfully work with larger teams of creative people. I consider this my foundational experience. This is where I first saw the Mac, and the Amiga computers. We were pitched by Apple’s and Amiga’s evangelists to make games, and given early hardware.

Broderbund Software • (1985)

After Synapse was purchased by Brøderbund I became a consultant. My first project with them was Fantavision for the Amiga, which was a pre-cursor to all the animation software packages, like Flash, etc. This was a painting program, animation tool, sound tool, and this began my obsession with audio programming.

GO Corp • (1987)

Was part of the initial team that built the Go Tablet PenPoint OS platform. I left realizing that they were too early to deliver on the vision. This set a desire to be part of the coming mobile device industry, and I knew what it was going to look like. My core focus was 2D graphics engines used for UI.

Halestorm • (1990)

Finally decided to start my own company. We grew to about 17 people. I was the key founder, but we had 3 other founders. This company was built to create and capitalize upon a core piece of audio technology, SoundMusicSys that one of my co-founders and I created. This audio mixing engine was unique at the time. It used MIDI which allowed musicians to create content. Our first customer was Apple. We licensed it and it became the starting point for QuickTime Music, our second license was with General Magic. Again this technology become their core audio for their platform. Along side of the core technology, we became a contract game studio with clients like Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Brøderbund, Maxis, and many others.

This experience gave me a solid understanding of the pressures of running a business, planning, and long term strategy, and how valuable a SDK is and how to deploy it, manage it, and license it. I created unique contracts that allowed my company to retain control, and with that created a business model that is common today.

Igor’s Software Laboratories • (1994)

I decided that the audio technology needed to be spun off, so Halestorm to could continue as a game studio. So together with my co-founder, Jim Nitchals, we created Igorlabs. The other 2 founders continued on with Halestorm and renamed it. Our first license for the audio technology, now updated for many types of different platforms, and embedded solutions, was WebTV, our second was Adobe Systems. One core idea we figured out was that we saw Moore’s law was reducing the cost of CPUs and they were getting faster, but the software delivery wasn’t there yet. Our audio technology wasn’t a codec, like MP3, or AAC. It was a composition engine for musicians. But we saw the need and had a timeline of life for about 10 years before the delivery pipeline and MP3 would obsolete our technology.

Beatnik, Inc • (1996)

Thomas Dolby, of “She Blinded me with Science” fame, founded this company with the vision of taking advantage of the coming audio media explosion of the internet, however he had no technology, or people. One of his clients was WebTV, and he was asked to use our audio engine to create content. He became so enamored with it, that he wanted to buy Igorlabs, so since we shared a lot of the same vision, we joined. From this experience I learned how to be acquired, and become a successful leader. I was the Director of all our audio technology, and Beatnik grew to about 120 people, with a core audio team of about 15 people. We licensed our technology first to Sun, which became the core of JavaSound. Widely deployed wherever Java was installed, and as we continued to Sonify the internet, our next major license was transformative. Nokia wanted to get away from hardware ringtones, and needed a software solution. So we licensed our audio technology, and it became a part of every Nokia mobile phone shipped from 1998 until they shutdown as a company. Over 2 billion copies installed and in use. With that Beatnik became the audio leader for mobile devices, but they forgot the lesson I learned. MP3, and faster internet was here, and our technology’s end of life was near, and they would not hear what I was saying. I wanted to reinvest the income into something new, but the new management thought it would never end.

Danger, Inc • (2000)

With the mobile revolution just starting to take off, I was approached by former WebTV alumni’s to become part of Danger. I was shown a wooden block mockup of the now famous flip. This company made the T-Mobile Sidekick. The truly first mobile phone that could use the internet. I was asked to become the audio architect and define the mobile experience. Including ringtones, music, games, and a way for customers to buy them in a store. While we were in stealth building the first device, there were maybe 100 people in the world that could stand in the middle of street and do a google search. Our company built what is now widely called the Internet Of Things. Connected devices, to web services. On all the time. My role afforded a front row seat designing the audio experience now copied on all mobile phones, iPhones, and Android devices, and understanding the larger infrastructure for connected devices. Danger failed to gain traction, but many of the team went onto build Android, and to Apple and spread the experiences far and wide. I learned how to try and do something big, against all odds. We didn’t succeed, but we did have an impact. Along with being part of the 1.0 launch team, being the key architect behind the audio system, I led an internal games group. We designed, shipped 7 games. Rock & Rockets, Bob, Bob’s Journey, Bob’s Journey: Lake of Doom. Cheese Racer, Meme, Pumpjack.

Apple • (2007)

After Danger, it was clear the Apple was going to continue to lead. I decided to join the iPod team, and help build the first iPod nano. No UI, just audio. My time was short because I was antsy to do more that was better suited for startups, but working with former Beatnik colleagues was fun. Learned how large companies work, and how slow they can be.

TribalBrands, Inc • (2008)

It was clear to me, because of Danger, that the App economy was going to take off. Tribal, was founded by a former Beatnik colleague and he promised to give me the resources to start a new game studio. I built a small team and shipped a couple of games, but was never able to scale up for lack of resources. We designed a game, The Mighty Decider, for a English Comedy Troupe by the name of The Mighty Boosh.

Voxer, Inc • (2010)

The founder of Voxer was a former military communications special ops with a vision to use mobile phones as a better walkie talkie. So we created a app that could do live audio recording with a one to many broadcast system. Along side with a data channel, for images, and text. A precursor to the WhatsApp phenomena. My contribution was audio codecs and UI for the phone app. Working along side former Danger colleagues. Here I learned that sometimes a first hand experience can take to a place that no else one sees. A very important lesson.

IGORLABS LLC • (2010)

Relaunched IGORLABS LLC as a consulting shop. Used to explore new projects, and work with various clients outside of my employee endeavors. Have successfully completed over a dozen projects, each with their own timelines, contracts, and relationships. Clients include, SomaFM, iHeart Radio, Nest, Google, Afero, Inc, Eargo, Inc, Junelife, Inc.

Built a web service that scanned the internet for streamable radio content. Designed and built an iOS app that used this service to present those found streams to listeners. Also during streaming, inside the app, analyzed the audio for BPM, and audio finger printing to determine who the artist was, and presented a wikipedia search of those artists found.

Nest, Inc • (2011)

Co-Founder Matt Rogers, who I worked with at Apple, invited me to join Nest. Once I saw the first thermostat in a hidden office on the wall, I realized it would become mainstream. My role was to be part of the machine learning team and bring experience shipping a product. Along side that I worked on UI for the thermostat, and help bring the fluid UI to life. My second project was to create the team behind the voice of the Nest Protect. I built audio mastering tools, chose audio codecs, and did voice editing work for the first version of the product. I learned at Nest about the importance of creating products with warmth, and a human approach to UI.

Zuli, Inc • (2015)

After Nest I wanted to continue in this space. I found them after they had built a great initial experience, but it wasn’t ready. So I brought in my experience and brought in a team to ship and finish. I led all the app and service engineering efforts. Designed the software so that we could place it into Android, create SDKs, etc. Along with finishing the app, I added security, support for Nest and Philips Hue integration, OTA support, and rewrote the Bluetooth connection stack.

Afero, Inc • (2016)

Afero is an Internet of Things platform. I wanted to join an established mobile apps team. We had one interesting challenge. One app design, but support for both iOS and Android platforms with a desire for a small team of 4 to manage and maintain both. I proposed we share the load. Each developer would own a feature and do the implementation on each platform. To make this easier I created an asset compiler called Sango that could take one source of assets and process it for each platform. iOS and Android. Then the application could be written nativity for each while sharing assets, graphics, text, and the like.