Howdy!

I’m Matt Daw, an independent software developer, writer, guitarist, drummer, and cook. I’ve recently relocated from Vancouver to the suburbs of Toronto with my partner, Colleen. We’re looking forward to spending more time with our families. And we’re looking for land to build a house together.

What I’m Working On

I’m in the process of designing a couple of potential products, with the goal of deciding which of them to start building in the next couple of months. In parallel, I have been sharpening my iOS development skills on personal projects while exploring Swift and the larger world of functional programming. I’m also regularly writing on my blog and learning to play the drums.

On the consulting side of my business, I work with software and visual effects / animation companies at the CTO-level on technical strategy and planning. I am also interested in opportunities to develop new products in collaboration with awesome designers.

I’m always open to discussing new ideas and opportunities, you can reach me through my Contact page, or I’m @mattdaw on Twitter.

My Story

I started my career in the early days of web development, building apps in Perl, Userland Frontier, and WebObjects. After a few years, I got a lucky break and got a job at TOPIX as a technical director on computer-animated commercials. I learned a ton over those first three years and got to work on several fun and high-profile projects like the Pillsbury Doughboy and the M&M’s characters. From there, I transitioned into film work in both animated features and visual effects, and gradually stepped into technical leadership roles in software and pipeline/process development.

In January of 2004, I started working on Disney’s The Wild at CORE Feature Animation in Toronto. They had been working on the project for a while when I started, so there was lots already set up. The tool I was most impressed with was a system called Nigel, which they used to track the current state of the movie: the edit, the schedule, who was working on what, etc. It was far better than any other system I’d seen, it definitely felt like it was designed with the user in mind. Over time, I had the pleasure of working with Don and Isaac, the creators of Nigel.

I wrapped my work on The Wild in the summer of 2005, then Colleen and I both went to work on Charlotte’s Web at Rising Sun Pictures in Adelaide, Australia. In the meantime, Don and Isaac were starting their own company, Shotgun Software, to make a new version of Nigel that would be a commercial product. Colleen and I did some lobbying at Rising Sun to try to get them to be Shotgun’s first client, and it worked! We ended up with a co-development deal where a couple of Rising Sun’s developers and I would contribute to Shotgun. After a little less than a year, I was excited about where Shotgun was going, so I joined the team full-time as employee #2.

In the beginning, we were all doing a little of everything, trying to figure out what the product should be, and keeping up with the needs of our early clients. There was a lot of interesting engineering work to do, as we needed it to be a web app, but we wanted it to feel as good as a native app. There were barely any JavaScript frameworks at the time, so we had to figure it out ourselves. We ended up with an architecture that would be called client-side MVC these days.

As the size of the team and the number of clients grew, my role evolved into engineering leadership, partnering with the design team on what to build next, and working with our biggest clients. That evolution culminated in my being named Shotgun’s CTO in early 2013. Fast-forward to the middle of 2014, and Shotgun was acquired by Autodesk. After eight years of working on Shotgun, I decided that I was ready to do something else. And that it was a responsible time to step out when so many other transitions would be happening as a part of the acquisition.

So as of August 2014, I’ve gone out on my own, and I’ve started an independent software development and consulting business.

Recent Projects

SwiftBoard - This is a personal project where I am re-implementing some of the UI of iOS' SpringBoard.app. My goal is to learn (and form an educated opinion about) Swift, and to tackle a more complex/stateful UI on iOS.

Shotgun Review for iPhone - I developed v1 of Shotgun's first iOS app, which was awarded a Best In Show award at SIGGRAPH 2014 by CGW Magazine.

Past Work Experience

CTO, Shotgun Software (March 2013 - June 2014)

VP Engineering, Shotgun Software (January 2007 - March 2013)

R&D Technical Director, Rising Sun Pictures (September 2005 - January 2007)

Supervising Technical Director, CORE Feature Animation (January 2004 - August 2005)

Lead Software Developer, Action Synthèse (June 2003 - January 2004)

Technical Director, TOPIX (November 2000 - May 2003)