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Ron Lichty has been developing software for 30 years, over 20 of them as a Development Manager, Director of Engineering, and Vice President of Engineering. This followed his first career as a writer in New York, Wyoming, and California, during which he wrote hundreds of articles, published scores of photographs, and authored two books. His software development career began at Softwest in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, coding word-processing products, programming compiler code generators, crafting embedded microcontroller devices like SmartCard-based postage meters and magnetic-keycard hotel locking systems, and designing and developing the computer animation demo that Apple used to launch and promote a new line of personal computers. He was awarded software patents for compression algorithms and wrote two widely used programming texts.
Recruited to Apple in 1988, Ron product-managed Apple’s development tools, then led the Finder and Applications groups for the Apple II and Macintosh product lines, managing delivery of Apple's "special sauce," its user interface.
In 1994 Berkeley Systems recruited Ron to direct development of the then most widely used consumer software in the world, the After Dark screen saver line, to make engineering predictable and repeatable for the seven development teams creating its entertainment products. Brought into Fujitsu to make sense of its long-overdue WorldsAway entertainment product, he lopped off six months of overengineering to take it live in just 11 weeks.
Ron then led software development of the first investor tools on Schwab .com, part of remaking a bricks-and-mortar discount brokerage into the premier name in online financial services. He was promoted to Schwab Vice President while leading his CIO's three-year technology initiative to migrate software development across all business units from any-language-goes to a single, cost-effective platform company-wide.
Since Schwab, he has been a Vice President of Engineering and Vice President of Products both as an employee and as a consultant, and he has continued to focus on making software development "hum." He headed technology for the California offices of Avenue A | Razorfish, the largest Internet professional services organization in the world; products and development for Forensic Logic, the crime detection and prevention company; engineering for Socialtext, the first commercial wiki company; engineering of the consumer ZoneAlarm line for Check Point; and publisher services for HighWire, the largest Internet provider for scholarly publishing. In consulting engagements in America and Europe, he has helped development groups overcome roadblocks, untangle organizational knots, and become more productive.
Ron's developer conference and professional group talks and webinars include implementing Agile and Scrum; the importance of user groups, teamwork, and community; and transforming software development from chaos to clarity. He has been an adviser to a half-dozen start-ups. He cochairs SVForum's Emerging Technology SIG; founded its Software Architecture SIG; chaired East Bay Innovation Group's Software Management Best Practices SIG; and was a member of the board of SVForum, Silicon Valley's largest and oldest developer organization.