About

Welcome!

This is my personal blog, an amalgam of different content, subjects, and things, which may not necessarily have any overarching “theme,” other than it being a collection of writings by me.  So expect a little bit of everything.

As for who I am, well, there are a lot of different ways to answer that question.  Most importantly right now I’m the father of two little people who are becoming not so little, Sofia (age 10) and Evan (age 9), who don’t consume as much of my time as they once did, but still think it’s OK to spend time with me (and even request it).

I’m currently working at Harvard University, where I have been for what has become quite a long time (since 1997).  I haven’t actually worked at Harvard for all of that time, as there have been a few interruptions as I ran away to help out on a few oceanographic research trips in cold arctic waters and for a stint in Spokane, Washington, where the children got to know their cousins and grandparents, and I learned after two years that I’ve completely transformed into an urban person, despite my upbringing in rural Washington state.

Most of my time at Harvard has been spent in various roles in the central IT department, typically at the interface between those who implemented technology and those who relied on it for their particular function.  In the last year, though, I migrated “across the river”( as people at Harvard say), over to Harvard Business School.  Though I’m not on the manicured main campus, but a little bit off in an old building working at HBX, the online education initiative at HBS, where I’m the Director of Systems Engineering and Operations.  Across it all there have been lots of servers, databases, ERP systems, and websites, some interesting detours in vendor and contract management, and an unusual amount of IT fianncial management and cost recovery modeling (you can read my resume for the unabridged version).  Most recently I’ve been leading a few different small teams–our DevOps groups, who manages all of our AWS Infrastructure which run the HBX course platform; a data management team–here and offshore–working to make us more of a “data driven organization;” and the AV Engineer who manages the infrastructure aspects of HBX Live, our synchronous classroom environment, built out in the studios at WGBH and able to support 60 simultaneous video connections with participants around the world.

Since about 2012, though, most of my mental energy in these roles has been directed at the “cloud,” and Amazon Web Services in particular.  Since the initial interactions with Amazon Web Services looked like some contracts, I was there early, and was in the thick of Harvard’s cloud efforts for the last 4+ years.  Over that time I’ve had the pleasure of presenting on a number of occasions at ReInvent, AWS Public Sector Symposiums, EDUCAUSE and here on campus.  That’s been a very exciting ride, and one I’m still enjoying.

My other main activity is being the “Diaper King Pin,” as I like to style it.  My very talented wife, Salina, and I run our own cloth diaper retail business, Diaper Lab.  We have a store in Cambridge, Massachusetts that we first opened in 2008, so is ancient in retail years.  It’s a rough market these days for retail, and certainly an inflection.  That makes it interesting, challenging, and frustrating all at once.  It also leads to some interesting conversations about Amazon around our house.

Outside of the usual family and career…well there are a number of interests, though most are getting a rest, unless I’m able to tie them in directly to the family and career parts.  But so it goes.  Travel is probably the biggest “deferred interest” item.  It’s much easier to pick up and go when it’s only you (I once bought a ticket to Italy at lunch, went home to pack in the afternoon, and left that evening), but a little bit more effort—not to say expense—when it’s four people.  But I know we’ll get back to it, and it will become an exciting part of our lives.  Hiking, and my particular desire for winter hiking, is also awaiting a bit more time, which again will start to be easier as everyone gets a bit older (well, except for me).

And I once had a passion for writing.  There was a ten-year period when I was a very diligent journal writer, even managing to go over a year without missing a day of writing, and did a bit of other writing too.  But it too became a luxury from the days when I had time.  Starting this blog up was exciting, though obviously time eludes me still, and my writing is still more sparse than it should be.  But I try here and there.

More?  Well, that’s what this is for.  Or get in touch with me.  I’m here.

-Ryan

January, 2017