Peter Lyons

This page has lots of details about my career. It is usually out of date.

Phase 7: Focus Retreat Center

In May 2022 my partner Christella and I had a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of our new business Focus Retreat Center. I serve as President handling business development, breakfast cooking, and dish washing.

Phase 6: Ecommerce

In September 2018 I join Reaction Commerce to work on their open source commerce platform.

In April 2020, Reaction Commerce was acquired by Mailchimp.

In November 2021, Mailchimp was acquired by Intuit.

Phase 5: Web Development Consultant and node.js Expert

I'm currently working as a consultant to bring my expertise and experience to your node.js web application. I work remotely from Colorado. My specialty is augmenting small teams to boost their node.js expertise and accelerate delivery of solid node-based APIs and services.

Recent Projects

Testimonial from Robert Jordan (Gaia Director of Engineering)

Pete's an exceptional guy, period. At Gaia, we hired Pete as we started converting a PHP legacy application into a services-based architecture using Node and AWS. At that time, we were people constrained and needed a team lead and architect to set up the development framework, patterns, TDD, and best practices. I loved Pete's "backpack" of scripts to make everything run smoother, from the IDE to testing to committing code to everywhere in-between.

As we hired new developers for the team, Pete was a fantastic mentor helping onboard and coach individuals and ramp them on our development methodology. Pete also trained the team on Javascript. Just when you thought you knew Javascript, here comes Pete!

Not only will you find Pete to be super productive and very efficient; he's also an exceptionally smart person that's curious and asks the right questions including about the business domain. You'll find his pragmatic approach and ability to make things simple are his secret weapons. In so many projects, it's what's needed to deliver business value on-time and with quality.

On a personal level, Pete's charismatic and well-spoken, and full of great stories, especially about his band! Whether you have an existing team or are building one from scratch, he works and plays well with others.

I highly recommend Pete and would hire him again in a heartbeat. If you find yourself lost on a project, buried with complexities, lacking people or domain knowledge, or just trying to figure out where to start, give him a call. Pete is truly one of those multiplier engineers you hear about but can't seem to find or hire.

Testimonial from David Smith (Gaia)

I had the great fortune and opportunity to work with Pete on a Node.js server-side project. Pete brings a depth of experience the likes I’ve not seen much in the industry. This blended with his ability to head on solve problems, whether in his domain or even his responsibility, is truly humbling and inspiring. Pete brings professionalism and levity to any challenge, and is a natural leader, always stepping up to bring balance to chaos and clarity to the unclear. He is a true teacher, always his genuine self and is respected by cross team members and leadership. I would recommend Pete in a heartbeat for any project, no matter the application – he’ll get the job done in a scalable manner, with integrity, quality and as a respected member of any team.

Testimonial from Lee Kimber (Rackspace)

My experience of working with Pete has been excellent.

I am paying him to code to functional and usability specs. He grasps the specs and codes against them. He asks questions, catches issues and suggests improvements ranging from code detail to architecture. My product will be very much improved because of these characteristics.

His technical breadth has enabled him to write the original javascript code I specified and to re-architect our Python back-end and to use MongoDB as our logging datastore.

He is also fast and flexible - working easily with our six-hour timezone difference - and delivers value for money. He has responded positively to my requests for more documentation - to help us fill a gap in technical knowledge at our end - and is an all-round pleasant person to work with.

I would recommend working with him.

Phase 4C: Lead Developer for

I led a small team of senior developers in building a media-heavy social platform Trending. Key features included masonry style layout, extensive URL discovery, embedding photos and videos, uploading photos, community curation and moderation with a reddit-style ranking/trending algorithm

Dates: October 2012-December 2013

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Key Skills Learned

Phase 4B: Web Developer at Sococo

I joined Social Communications Company (Sococo) in February 2012 as a web developer. Sococo makes a virtual office product and I worked on a rewrite of their PHP administrative web site as a modern backbone.js single page application. It was front-end heavy work with the vast majority of the interesting code being browser-side JavaScript.

I joined for the express purpose of doing node.js development work, but the project I worked on was PHP/Backbone.js with the promise of node.js work to follow after that project completed. After 7 months of additional development taking a detour from my career's desired path, I had to throw in the towel and find a real node.js-based job.

Dates: February 2012-September 2012

Technologies Employed

Phase 4A: Web Developer and Start-Up Junkie

After 6.5 years working on enterprise software, in January 2011 I quit my job with HP to work on building web applications and start-up businesses.

Dates: January 2011-February 2012

dojo4 Project Summary

I worked with dojo4 building Ruby on Rails web applications

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Linkzie Project Summary

You can check out a little pet project I built with Ruby on Rails and jQuery over at A Simple Bookmark Manager. I built Linkzie start to finish based on a simple script I built to manage my bookmarks. I did all the design, development, deployment, and maintenance. This was my project to get up to date with modern web development techniques. It is a single page application with heavy javascript interactions on the client side and a lightweight JSON/REST API back end.

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Phase 3B: Software Engineer at Hewlett-Packard

Dates: November 2007-January 2011

HP acquired Opsware for $1.6 Billion in November 2007. My work and role as technical lead for OS provisioning continued on more or less the same as it was prior to the acquisition. I also led a major project to implement the HP Server Automation Solaris Patching feature and shepherded that from design to shipping.

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Phase 3A: Software Engineer at Opsware

Dates: June 2006-November 2007

I changed roles and joined the main product engineering team at Opsware, focusing on our bare metal OS provisioning feature. I soon moved into the technical lead role for this feature and began guiding the design and implementation. There were several notable changes leading a team building enterprise software. I now had several engineers working with me on projects, QA teams, documentation writers, and product managers to work with. The release cycle was between 8 and 12 months or so, so it was long projects with a lot of detailed design work, planning and specification. The work was technically very detailed - diving into the guts of three major platform families (Windows, Linux, and Solaris) and supporting several major hardware architectures. There were also lots of open bugs in numerous prior releases to manage and somewhat frequent escalated customer support cases. Also this was my first exposure to a truly gigantic (millions of lines) code base with dozens of components in many languages.

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Phase 2B: Consultant at Opsware

Dates: August 2004-June 2006

Fearing spending my whole career as a Microsoft expert when in general I was not fond of Microsoft technology, I decided to take a job with a small software company called Opsware, Inc at the recommendation of a friend. Opsware was selling data center automation software which at this point was still very new. It was the vision of Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen. After Netscape, Marc founded LoudCloud which was a hosting provider focused on automation and scale-on-demand technology which they developed in-house. In 2003 they pivoted, selling the hosting business to EDS and taking their software directly to market as Opsware, Inc.

This was a very sudden and significant technology change for me. I went from all Windows all the time to working at large-scale Unix/Linux heavy shops. Opsware professional services was comprised of entirely hard-core elite sysadmin/programmers, some having come over from Sun Microsystems professional services. This was a very small team of only a handful of people responsible for all customers in the eastern US. The stakes were high as Opsware was still very much a young and problematic enterprise software application, and it was up to professional services to fill in the gaps between what the customers' needs and expectations were and what the product could actually deliver. We were also seen as sources of best practices for system administration by our clients, who were already often cutting-edge technologists interested in automation. After spending 20 months doing Windows, they sat me down in front of 1500 Solaris servers at Comcast and said "sink or swim". I swam.

This job was a mix of consulting, systems administration, and custom software development, gradually shifting toward more and more software development with each new project. We ended up writing large pieces of custom software for our customers in Java and Python. My client focus was on the financial services customers on Wall Street and Exchange Place in Jersey City. I spent time at many of the largest financial firms including JP Morgan Chase, Lehman Brothers, and Merrill Lynch.

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Phase 2A: Consultant at Accenture Technology Solutions

Dates: November 2002-August 2004

In the tough economy after 9/11, I took a position at a new subsidiary of Accenture called Accenture Technology Solutions (ATS). ATS was formed to add more technical depth to Accenture's staff of consultants. Here I got exposure to large enterprises and became a jack-of-all-trades technologist. We were building projects on the Microsoft platform. I got to spend time both programming new applications as well as building the data center cages where we hosted the applications from scratch. I learned networking in detail and became a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and got to configure Cisco switches and routers. I became heavily involved in projects to the level where I would assist with selecting and purchasing equipment (racks, servers, cables, switches), physically racking, stacking, and cabling it in the data center, installing the operating systems (using automation scripts I had written), installing and configuring MS Exchage Server, Active Directory, and ISA Server, configuring the switches and networking topology, and coordinating with the data center staff on our Internet connection and firewall rules. I also helped provision and configure a dedicated T1 line we used for administrative access out of band from our office to the data center.

I got exposure to large, complex, high-budget (8-figure) projects and the logistics of navigating that. My primary client during this period was AT&T and I was also involved with Payless Shoes and Jelly Belly Candy Company.

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Phase 1: Web Development

Dates: August 2001-September 2002

My first full-time job straight out of college was at a boutique web development consultancy in NYC called CodeFab. This was a small (approx 20 employees at its largest) shop formed by a core group of old die-hard NeXTSTEP/OpenStep enthusiasts. We built database-driven web applications on the Apple WebObjects platform. We used the Extreme Programming methodology which involes full-time pair programming. This pairing afforded me a great opportunity to learn from many veteran developers, many of whom are now working at Apple. We were also heavily invested in unit testing and Test Driven Development (TDD). Thus I learned early on what solid, well-tested code looks and feels like.

Sadly, CodeFab's consulting business did not survive the post-9/11 economy and they had to close up shop for a while, later re-emerging with a focus on iPhone/iPad and mobile development.

I should also note that at this time I started to learn Python on the side, taking a cue from my boss Bill Bumgarner. This turned out to be a key language two jobs later at Opsware.

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