Adam Fields


Updated: 8/2016

Summary of Experience

I am a technical leader for advanced web-based and distributed systems with deep experience in devops, application definition, workflow, personalization, data storage, scaling, and content management across various enterprise development platforms and languages. I pride myself on my ability to straddle the business/technical fence and ensure that the requirements of all parties are met. As a full-stack technical architect, I have managed and lead teams in a wide variety of specialties including base-level machine configuration, backend development, and usability and application flows. I have nurtured many projects from inception to full implementation and deployment.

I have the ability to quickly assess and learn unfamiliar systems and to analyze, scope, and establish technical and business requirements for projects. I have proven success with managing teams of developers through on-time and exposure-managed project completion. I have had repeated successes with constructing highly usable tools that fit actual needs and remain in production for years after implementation.

I am an accomplished and passionate semi-amateur photographer and chef, and I will make you laugh from time to time. If you were here now, this might be where I would give you some food I made or tell you a joke.

Skills Highlights

  • Experience with several key vertical markets including realtime messaging, social software/weblogs/twitter, e-commerce, non-profit, marketing, publishing, education, and finance.
  • Extensive experience with AWS including Amazon EC2/VPC, SQS, and S3 usage and administration.
  • Expert understanding of real-world software delivery and content management issues, focusing on scaling, real-world usability, personalization, caching, web optimization, and privacy.
  • Development focus on “practical perfectionism” – the art of achieving the best possible results within the allotted constraints, but without sacrificing delivery for the sake of eliminating all problems.
  • Proven ability to architect, deploy, manage development of, and diagnose problems with large scale web and distributed applications. Notable successes have included automated infrastructure for a realtime messaging platform scaled to support millions of concurrent users, content management systems used by 1500+ worldwide editors, an e-commerce site with $4 million+ in monthly revenue, and a distributed web/twitter spidering and parsing architecture handling billions of pages across terabytes of distributed storage with document indexing capability.
  • Expertise in general performance optimization and enterprise scaling. Specific domain knowledge of MongoDB, MySQL, LAMP, and Ruby on Rails optimization and high availability architecture. Experience with search proxies, HA/replication/sharding, queue servers, and memcached. Experience with large-scale Mongodb and redis installations. Strong experience with queue-based processing infrastructures and microservices architecture.
  • Broad experience with free and open source technologies and licensing issues, as well as commercial/closed source offerings.
  • Experience with elegant API design and application design utilizing internal APIs.
  • Extensive familiarity with design, usability, QA, system administration, networking, security, mobile application development, devops and business issues; ability to communicate with all team members on their own terms.
  • Willingness to follow or set methodology for a development team, as needed. Comfort with waterfall, spiral, and agile (XP, scrum, kanban, etc...) development methodologies with various levels of formality.


Master of Science (Computer Science), Columbia University, SEAS, 1997

Bachelor of Arts, Columbia University, Columbia College, 1996

Relevant Professional Experience

Pypestream, Inc. (2015-2016)

Senior Systems Engineer

Created from scratch and managed the complete product infrastructure on AWS with an emphasis on disposable instances, no single point of failure, blue/green deployments, and centralized log aggregation. Spearheaded the company’s adoption of Terraform and Ansible, replacing manually provisioned instances. Successfully launched a major revision to the product infrastructure, switching from Rails/PostgreSQL to Erlang/Riak. Reworked developer workflows and implemented git-flow for increased developer productivity and communication.

Morningside Analytics, LLC. / Graphika, Inc. (2008-Present)

Chief Technologist / Chief Architect / Founder

Architected, oversaw design, and implemented back-end of the company’s flagship data visualization application for browsing and interacting with both our custom data sets and twitter data. Led development on a large-scale data processing pipeline backend to scalably ingest and analyze millions of tweets per day. Responsible for overseeing all day-to-day operations and code development. Oversaw and participated in development of several iterations of our standalone API.

Yahoo, Inc. (2007-2008)

Database Architect (Contractor)

Performed database architecture, scalability analysis, and query optimization for several projects for Yahoo’s Advanced Products Group., including Kickstart, a social network for graduating students. Designed and implemented a MySQL architecture for high availability and cross-colo encrypted replication, tuned SQL queries for high performance, and drafted and implemented failover and backup procedures.

Street 86 Systems, Inc. (2004-Present)


Founded Street 86 Systems, Inc. to provide project management, technical analysis, and optimization services to enterprise customers. Professional Services include but are not limited to technical leadership, project scoping and design, technical architecture, performance assessment / optimization, custom development, and digital photography. Responsible for managing all aspects of day-to-day business including P&L/accounting, contracts and negotiations, and IT and hosting services. Projects have included large-scale data migrations, an efficient high volume email parsing engine, e-commerce application development, distributed content management system development, database optimization, and cryptographic purchase verification for clients such as WeShop, A Small World, Rainbow Media, eMusic, GOOD Magazine, Design 21 SDN, Area 17,, Broadband Mechanics, and the America Civil Liberties Union.

Confabb (2006-2008)

Chief Architect / Founder

Founded and led development of a social networking and research portal serving the conference industry. Architected the site, led development team, and coordinated with businesspeople to refine and specify functionality for the site. Went from concept to launch in 6 months with no outside investment and an entirely part-time team. Remained active in an advisory role after launch.

Digital Pulp, Inc (2003-2004)

Chief Technology Officer

Responsible for managing the technical development organization, overseeing all development projects, directly supervising the development team, managing client relationships, performing technical architecture for existing and new clients, and developing product offering strategies. Projects included:

  • Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.

    Led all aspects of development for, working closely with client technical staff. Defined and spearheaded new development projects including deployment of UK and AU versions of the site. Architected and led transition from a 10-server Apache/Linux/MySQL cluster to a 50-server fault tolerant cluster, modifying application structures and session passing mechanisms to allow nodes to be disposable. Architected and developed a summary datapoint reporting application for daily use by upper management (later productized for other clients). Performed extensive analysis of database and system response times with custom realtime diagnostic tools, and designed optimizations to address performance bottlenecks, increasing database capacity fourfold.

  • Open Society Institute / TASCorp, Inc.

    Architected and participated in development for custom Zope-based editorial and administrative site interfaces, workflow engineering, and multi-staged publishing mechanisms for and Assisted with architectures to support distributed hierarchical publishing models to allow sub-organizations (Initiatives) control over individual content sections while maintaining a coherent user experience across the entire site. Developed administrative interface specifications and collaborative interlocking workflow specifications and implementations.

NAME, Inc./North American Media Engines (1996-2001)

Developer/Systems Architect/Technical Lead

As the second New York employee, helped grow the company from under 30 to just over 200 employees over five years while maintaining technical quality. In addition to on-going client engagements, participated actively in internal training, technical presentations, methodology workshops, and technical skills assessment frameworks. Worked on 3-9 month Vignette and other content management projects for clients including John Wiley & Sons,, Earthweb, the National Cancer Institute, Bertelsmann, and Prentice Hall.

Volunteer Positions

The Family Annex (2009-2014)

Director, Secretary, Treasurer

Served on the Board of Directors of the non-profit pre-school affiliated with Columbia University. Responsibilities included staff, parent, and director correspondence; documentation and by-law review; and fund-raising.

The Philolexian Foundation (2001-2006)

Director, Treasurer

Served on the Board of Directors of the non-profit alumni organization affiliated with The Philolexian Society of Columbia University. Responsibilities included alumni and director correspondence. Served as Treasurer for several terms.

Selected Pages

Technology Specialties

I have spent a significant amount of time building systems related to or using the following technologies. I’m either currently able to carry on development with them or could be again on very short notice.


Apache; nginx, LAMP; Ruby on Rails

Data Storage

MySQL/MariaDB; PostgreSQL; MongoDB; Redis; Elasticsearch, Solr

Operating Systems

Linux (Redhat / Fedora / Ubuntu / Debian / Gentoo); Solaris/SunOS; FreeBSD; OS X; Windows

Programming Languages

PHP; Ruby/Ruby on Rails; Python, Perl; TCL

Devops Tools

Ansible; Terraform; AWS/EC2; ELK


Devops, Workflow, Requirements Assessment, XML, JSON, Scalable Web Architectures, Server-side Cache Management and Design, Message Queue Servers and Architecture, Authentication & Security, Web Crawling and Parsing, Web Personalization, Usability/Information Architecture; Digital Imaging/Photography; TCP/IP Networking; Technical UI Design; MVC Architecture, Testing Methodologies and Frameworks (TDD/BDD)