Matthew Flaming

About Me

I grew up in Los Angeles, in a decrepit old house in the foothills. I started programming when I was ten years old and my fascination with stories started even before then. I got my MFA from New York University, and now call Portland, Oregon my home. Professionally, I've been in the software business for over twenty years with a focus on startup and high-growth roles.

My areas of interest include distributed and emergent systems, behavioral economics, social justice, climate change mitigation, philosophy of mind, whimsy, the ridiculous and beautiful, and of course a compelling yarn well told.

This is, as we used to say in the old days, my "vanity site" highlighting some of the projects I’ve worked on.

Kiva: Engineering for Change

More than 1.7 billion people around the world are unbanked and can’t access the financial services they need. Kiva is an international nonprofit with a mission to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive by providing crowdfunded loans to students, refugees, farmers, and entrepreneurs in over 70 countries.

As Head of Engineering at Kiva, it was my privilege to help mature Kiva's agile, devops and engineering processes while partnering with other leaders and stakeholders to clarify and realize Kiva’s vision of a more equitable future.

New Relic: Hyperscale Growth

I joined New Relic to help lead the technical platform and engineering organization through a period of near-exponential growth. My work was central to the evolution of New Relic’s architecture and multi-regional infrastructure, SRE practice, and organizational strategy and culture.

A core focus in this role was balancing innovation with the need for consistency and stability while rapidly scaling from a handful of scrappy engineers to 70+ teams, and growing from 10 hard-sharded Java servers to a dynamic async architecture running on thousands of hosts and handling millions of messages per second.

Temboo: Visual Programming for IoT Systems

As the third employee at NYC startup Temboo, I was intrigued by the challenge of solving two problems: democratizing software development and allowing hard-to-update IoT devices to connect flexibly with rapidly evolving cloud APIs.

Our solution was developing a domain-specific visual workflow language and a powerful common abstraction layer for over 100 cloud services, which became the de-facto standard for Arduino devices among other applications. I led the engineering team, guiding architecture, process, and culture.

The Kingdom of Ohio: Understanding Through Stories

As a lifelong reader, I believe that stories -- about ourselves, about others, about the world -- form the kernel of how we understand ourselves, where we come from and where we’re going. In this novel I wanted to explore the relationship between narrative and history, the slipperiness of subjective fact, and how storytelling can be the most potent and difficult act of personal redemption.

Oddments & Ephemera

I've given a number of talks and published a number of articles, stories, and poems over the years, most of which are now mercifully lost to bitrot and/or forgetting. Some of the remnants are collected here...