18 years of Ruby on Rails

June 15, 2024

After graduating from the Art Institute of California, I was developing many marketing sites and working for a digital marketing firm. There, we used ASP.NET and a CMS named Ektron. It was during this time that DHH released the infamous “Oops” video where he generated a blog and released the first version of Rails. The simplicity caught my attention, and the elegance of Ruby deepened my curiosity.

The Early Days: Adio Footwear

The first commercial Ruby on Rails site I released was for Adio Footwear, a company created by Chris Miller. I was thrilled to be working with them; we had a skatepark in the warehouse. The Rails portion of the site was a product and media management system. It served dynamic XML to the Flash application. Yes, it was during those years of Flash and ActionScript.

I remember the struggles of configuring a server on MT and setting up Mongrel to serve Rails. It was not an easy task, and there were limited articles on it at that time.

Shrelp Stock Photography

Next, my creative juices were flowing, and my buddy and I attempted to launch a stock photography business that supported skateboard photographers. To this day, I’m still proud of the design and user experience of the site. The site was fully functional with a complete pricing model built-in for digital media.

One of my notable projects was, a platform for tracking race results that we migrated from Java. One of the team members had experience with Elasticsearch, which was in its early stages of development but helped us deploy search for millions of people’s race results.

Next, I was asked to lead the transition of to RoR. This was quite the honor and experience, leading such a large team. I gained valuable experience scaling Ruby to handle millions of requests.

Location-Based Advertising at Verve

At Verve, I managed the mobile development teams and supported hundreds of publishers with white-labeled mobile applications. Managing assets, colors, and certificates was initially done over email, which was inefficient.

I oops, made a platform for making the process efficient. I oops, developed a customer interface that allowed clients to upload assets, validate them, and kick off a native app build in Jenkins. This system sent the build to TestFlight so the customer could see it. This innovation was noticed within the organization and sparked something bigger.

This led to enabling marketing platforms at Yahoo, Hibu, and ReachLocal to access mobile ad inventory. Our Rails app had APIs that connected with their existing media buying platforms. We developed personalized ads from the small business listings, flighted the ads, and provided a reporting interface.

During this period, we grew from $20M in revenue to over $100M. It seemed like we created a new Rails app and a new team every three months. Eventually, I led the innovation team. My final Rails gift to Verve was an Audience Manager supported by Apache Spark. and

I also contributed to building, a platform focused on personal and professional development, and worked on, a real estate marketing platform.

Advancing AI and ASO at

Most recently, I built an AI-powered App Store Optimization (ASO) platform and an Ad Exchange for These tools leverage machine learning to optimize app store listings and ad placements, driving better engagement and higher conversion rates.

The fire continues to burn, and there are some big things in the works right now.

A long overdue thank you to David

From its early days, DHH has taken on a firestorm of opinions and has protected the simplicity or Rails. And that is not an easy task as people can be very strongly tied to overly complex JavaScript and deployments.

After writing this, I realized that in 20 years, I’ve never reached out to DHH or seen him speak. I’ve also never personally thanked him for having the courage to believe in something, fight his way through everyone’s opinions and criticisms, and still stick to his core principles. So, @DHH, thank you for your work; it has made my last 20 years exciting and enjoyable.

Moreover, it has provided the foundation for me to build this wonderful family.

What’s Next for Rails?

I’m committed to the simplicity of Hotwire and the “one-man team” approach. Kamal over complex K8s is a great choice for rapid development in most teams. Continue to drive innovation with small, focused teams that can deliver customer happiness every day.

Need Help?

If you need assistance, please feel free to contact me. I bring experience in making informed decisions and specialize in team building, fostering a positive culture, leadership, architecture, and technical due diligence. I’m here to help you succeed.

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