Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Senior Product Management Professional: good user experience + appropriate technology = successful products.


About Jonathan

Web Resume

email: jaktal96 "dash" blg0601 "at"
phone: 650 464-7456

Open Source Software

Review of Mitch Kapor presentation at PARC
(published in the SDForum newsletter)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Contact Information

email: jaktal96 "dash" blg0601 "at"
phone: 650 464-7456
  View my profile on LinkedIn

Friday, July 01, 2005

Resume of Jonathan Prusky – Software Product Management

I make technology scrutable*. Period.


A Senior Product Management Professional, expert at identifying the intersection of a good user experience and real-world applications of technology, resulting in products and services appealing and saleable to the mass market.
  • Expertise – Experienced building and managing online communities. Domain expertise in productivity tools, online communication tools and platforms (e.g., email, IM, groups and community applications, search, blogging) and skilled in digital media technologies (e.g., music, photography).

  • Leadership – Relates equally well to technical and non-technical groups, providing bridges among all parties involved in the product life-cycle. Able to hold the vision for the application of technology, translating ideas into clear, actionable business requirements and recommendations (e.g., MRDs, PRDs, technical specifications).

  • Management – Experience supervising product managers, community volunteers and managing cross-functional teams. Proven ability to build consensus among internal and external stakeholders; ability to work on multiple tasks simultaneously while successfully meeting established goals and deadlines.

  • Experience – Over 15 years in product management and product marketing, with foundation built at Microsoft -- including key contributions to Word for Windows/Mac and the Microsoft Office product strategy. Directed multiple national product launches. Top-tier corporate experience also includes Borland,, Frame Technology, Adobe, and Apple. Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.


Technology and Digital Consultant, JUMP Consulting, Ardmore, PA 2014-present
Developed content for and consulted with Barrack Hebrew Academy. Redesigned website resulting in a 50% increase in stickiness and 20% more page views.  Technology audit of the school in preparation for Board approval of a massive technology initiative. Created huge amount of multimedia content, used for a variety of applications, including the website and the YouTube channel; served as a model of what is possible.
Technology Applications Project Leader, Windsor Securities, Ardmore, PA 2003-2014
Boutique money management firm, with successful 30 year record of consistent, above-market returns. Over $100 million in assets managed.
• Developed and implemented different approaches to combining firm’s intuitive market feel, with data from disparate internal databases. This created a platform for quantitative analysis, tracking trends using techniques such as exponential moving averages.
• Researched macro-market algorithms using Excel. Developed trading model, back-fitting algorithms over a ten year period to yield annual compound returns significantly greater than average market indices.

Marketing and Product Management Consultant, JUMP Consulting, San Carlos, CA 1991-2003
Part-time consulting on a project-by-project basis, often coincident with regular full-time positions. Clients include the Open Software Application Foundation (OSAF), Borland, Frame, Ashton-Tate and others. Have generated solutions in a variety of industries, including consumer and enterprise software, end user / consumer services, education, and financial analysis.

• Managed strategy and design of a social software network system that allows professional to rapidly build a gateway to their personal web presence, cross-network with similar professionals, and at the same time own their own data. The "open source"-style approach builds on commercially available free or low-cost components such as weblogs, Google, Yahoogroups as well as static/dynamic links.
• Initiated and continue to manage an online networking community spin-off, from a non-profit, educational services organization, growing it to become one of the top 50 Yahoogroups.

• Wrote white paper on task management for Mitch Kapor's OSAF Chandler project - an open source personal information manager with powerful email client, integrated task manager and peer-to-peer calendaring. Provides design center for more sophisticated approach than Outlook's simple TaskPad.
• Defined applications marketing strategy, positioning, and provided industry analysis to Borland for Sidekick product line, later revitalized, reintroduced, and spun-out successfully.
• Developed market segmentation strategy for FrameMaker that resulted in broader acceptance within the UNIX market. Built the business case for, and later evangelized the Windows version, which eventually became the flagship product.

Director of Product Management, SeeRun Corporation, San Francisco, CA, 2000-2001
Recruited to address product strategy, roadmap, and positioning for this for this 25-person early stage overseas provider of business process management tools for e-commerce, attempting to establish presence in the United States. Company did not receive second round funding; resulting in 50% US staff reduction.
• Led development of corporate strategic positioning, as a member of the executive team.
• Transferred function to the US and partially outsourced it, in order to produced high quality technical publications in 1/3 the normal time in rush-fix situation.
• Developed demo strategy that resulted in a presentation at the exclusive "Showcase 2000," an invitation-only conference that highlights emerging technologies.

Senior Product Manager, Internet Distribution,, Santa Clara, CA, (filed Chapter 11 2/2002, assets sold to Digital River) 1999-2000
Developed key differentiators in preparation for entry to the corporate software market, for this early Internet IPO B2C and B2B software reseller.
• Developed product strategy, planning, and 30-page functional spec for new automatic software update service (eCurrent) for corporate users, which included the UI, product features, and product roadmap.
• Revised and renegotiated partnership and deliverables with technology vendor who was providing back end infrastructure, which enabled the project to move out of a "stuck" place.
• Designed customer profile tracking system and expedited customer purchasing process with major interface enhancements.

Group Product Manager, Internet Services, Human Awareness Institute, Foster City, CA, 1994-1999
Introduced online capabilities to brick and mortar not-for-profit institution specializing in communication workshops. Managed professionals and volunteers.
• Instituted commercial best practices in business, marketing, internal operations and Internet services
• Built and led a team of 12 designers, engineers, and marketing personnel to develop, launch and maintain global website. High visibility on search engines resulted in 10-fold increase in the number of unsolicited participants. Repeat participation increased of 35% due to “stickiness” of special part of website for participants-only.
• Created and oversaw a series of online communities which resulted in localized consumer support and online marketing activities within the context of an international presence.

Marketing Manager, Consumer Home Automation, Echelon Corporation, Palo Alto, CA 1990-1991
Small start-up to develop low cost distributed control systems. Recruited to develop and implement the home market applications marketing strategy.
• Led team to analyze pricing / cost feasibility and assess the readiness, acceptance, and pervasiveness in the consumer home control market.
• Identified final key requirements by building rudimentary prototype system that identified key product requirements.
• Repositioned products away from the consumer home market towards profitable industrial applications when consumer market proved to be unfeasible.


Product Manager, Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond WA
Developed strategy, functionality, and positioning of key products, defined and developed directional strategy for Windows applications, and managed product life cycle for multiple product iterations. Worked directly with Bill Gates, as member of an intrapreneurial “group of three."
• Defined the product strategy which drove the functionality for GUI word processing products, anchoring the Microsoft Office bundle, resulting in the domination of the office applications market.
• Drove Microsoft's early use of market research (focus groups, usability studies) as a part of product definition, resulting in a customer-driven marketing strategy for Windows Word.
• Conceived and managed the re-launch of Word for Macintosh, including cross-functional team of 25, product positioning, tactical marketing plans, advertising, PR, sales training, and senior corporate executive presentations, growing business from $6 to $25 million, within one year


Wharton Graduate School Of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
• Marketing focus; summer internship at Apple Computer.
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. BA, Computer Science with Honors
• Designed and wrote a 300-page user’s guide for early hypertext-based, writing system.

Career Skills / Knowledge

  • Product Management / Market Development
  • Competitive Intelligence
  • Market Requirements Definition (MRD)
  • Product Requirements Definition (PRD)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Business Development / Partnerships
  • Business Plans / Market Research
  • Strategic Planning
  • Product Roadmap Management
  • Market Growth / Segmentation
  • Project Management
  • Product Lifecycle Management
  • Product Demonstrations / Evangelism
  • Agile technologies


Member; multiple contributions to monthly newsletter.

View my profile on LinkedInLinked In 
Member of many industry and user interface / customer experience groups.


• Tournament-level backgammon champion.
• Traveled throughout China in 1989 and 1995.

(skr├╝-t&-b&l) adj. capable of being deciphered; comprehensible

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Open Source Software (OSS)

Mitch Kapor speaks at PARC

Review of the 10/23/03 presentation, shown below as it appears in the SDForum Newsletter dated Dec/Jan 2004
Mitch Kapor is best known as the co-founder of Lotus Development, EFF - the Electronic Frontier Foundation and most recently, as the founder of OSAF - the Open Source Application Foundation. However, he stands out among software entrepreneurs as an agent of change, wanting to improve society by writing articles, testifying before Congress, and as an outspoken advocate of civil rights and business ethics.

OSAF is currently developing an application and development framework code-named "Chandler," an open source personal information manager with peer to peer calendaring, powerful email and integrated task and contact management.

After a wonderful, warm introduction by Brian Behlendorf (Apache Foundation, CollabNet) who said Mitch's leadership and creativity was inspiration for him to pursue software, Mitch explained that the packed auditorium at PARC provided an opportunity for him to let out his "inner geek." He used his cell phone to take a picture of the audience, and then proceeded to speak, with little assistance from slides, on the bright prospects for Open Source Software (OSS).

When Richard Stallman picketed Lotus in 1990, Mitch got his first exposure to the underpinnings of the OSS (then called Free Software) movement. He acknowledged having regretted authorizing the "look and feel" lawsuits against Paperback Software (VP Planner) and Mosaic Software ("Twin"), shortly after approving them. He was chairperson (and on his way out). Things have come full circle.

There have been Surprise Successes

By the mid 1990s, two factors were largely responsible for an increase in the importance of OSS: 1) the growing popularity of the Internet and 2) the release of Linux. Rather than being imbued with only an ideological orientation, Linus Torvalds was interested in making something happen. OSS defied conventional wisdom because the software was not controlled by a central source and people were willing to overlook how it was written. Apache still has over a 60% share of the server market and SendMail probably higher on servers, while Perl, Python, PHP, Mozilla and OpenOffice have also been notable successes. Outside of the United States, millions of units of Open Office have been installed. O'Reilly reports that books on Python are currently the fastest selling of any language in its product line.

A Different Way to Organize Work

OSS proponents suggest that open source offers three different approaches in which to organize work: 1) transparent, 2) distributed, and 3) voluntary. Speaking to Transparency, Mitch recounted how Linus Torvalds has said, "With enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow" and Bill Joy has acknowledged, "Most of the smart people don't work for you." There is even an open source web search effort now at Nutch [where Mitch is a board member].

OSS lends itself to a Distributed team. Yochai Benkler applies tools of economic analysis in an interesting article about free software, as only one example of much broader socio-economic phenomenon: low-end coordinator of costs and sometimes, it is easier to get volunteers to do it.

Finally, Eric Raymond points out that OSS projects sometime originate because "programmers want to scratch their own itch" -- Open Source Software is generally thought of as being produced by a volunteer community. However, Brian Behlendorf pointed out that as OSS projects such as Apache move into the mainstream, corporations find it strategic to pay employees to work as OSS contributors and that about 80% of the Apache contributors are now paid by their employers.

"Free" Software

Open Source Software has come to mean a lot more than something like a free beer. To Richard Stallman, it means freedom -- the ability to get a hold of the source code and modify it as you see fit. However, what started as primarily an ideology has yielded to pragmatism for some. Consider OGO -- which started out providing a proprietary groupware server. Now, their groupware server is open source and they want to provide access to all functionality and data through open XML-based interfaces and APIs. They make money doing contract work for clients who want it adapted to their [custom] needs.
Another good example of pragmatism is MySQL. They have over 4 million installations, yet the cost of their software is a tiny fraction of that of Oracle. Mitch claims that as Europeans, they are happy with doing it and primarily want to make a living doing good work. This kind of company may seem odd from Silicon Valley perspective: there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; they are not looking to cash out. They claim the $18 million they took from Benchmark in June is to "attain a long-term leadership position in the database market."

Where OSS can go, it will go

The barriers to entry are very low and the level of software is crawling up the stack: from systems to applications. There is no completely protected territory, though the high ground is the custom enterprise software market. Kapor foresees the day when an open source General Ledger application might be available. It would then be interesting if third parties would then develop analytical tools yielding greater transparency in business.

Can OSS Sustain itself?

So is OSS a flash in the pan? Often relying on a community of volunteers to flesh out the product, how can OSS Sustain itself? One approach is the emergence of new kinds of licenses that Mitch calls "Talmudic in their complexity." These hybrid licenses -- software (SleepyCat Software, My SQL, and OSAF) available under more than one license -- are still in "productive experimentation." The "noble experiment" is that when you take a derivative work, you contribute back to the community in terms of either source code or a modest royalty fee. OSAF is organized as a non-profit, which means the money must go back into the mission of the organization, in their case, primarily to support a core group of 15-30 developers. Another source of funding can be corporate support -- either in the form of paying salaries of their own people to work on open source projects or as contributions. OSAF recently announce a $3 million grant from a university consortium and the Andrew Mellon foundation to prepare a version of Chandler that meets university needs. The consortium is also committing technical resources with the goal of providing university wide Calendaring at different levels.

Can OSS innovate?

Most software is built on the back of its predecessors, but usually in incremental improvements. So where will new products come from? In many respects, Kapor claims, it will not come from the proprietary desktop monopoly, which Microsoft controls. However, given the domination of Microsoft Office and the road littered with products, which at one time tried to compete with it, there are no commercial investment opportunities in that market. Chandler was inspired by the need to share a handful of schedules in the office of a small business -- a place where an Exchange Server is overkill. Taking the OSS approach was the only way that made sense, in terms of development cost and an ability to get traction. The innovation that Chandler will try to introduce is an integrated approach to email documents, bookmarks and contacts, shared among peers [without the need for a central server in a small group environment].

Is the Start-Up Dream Over?

So if OSS is so readily available at little or no cost, is the start-up dream over? Kapor says yes, if your goal is to "get rich quick." However, it is not so much that OSS has been killing the software industry, but more that the industry has been maturing beyond its "frontier" origins. Up until recently, it has been driven by this mythology. The boom/bust created many individual winners who were incredibly opportunistic and made hundreds of millions of dollars. Nonetheless, there was little sustaining value created. Think job loss, the number of folded companies, and the sinking capitalization of almost all the dot com wonders.

On the other hand, if your goal is making an honest living, having rewarding work, and creating useful, elegant products, there is still opportunity for software start-ups. Even so, economics have gotten more rationale-- things should not cost more than they need to, in order to get value.

Kapor closed with the hope that "the heroes of the next generation will be able to create useful artifacts from our bits."

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

In an early November 2003 report on Chandler, Trash Your Desktop, Michael Fitzgerald says "Mitch Kapor’s new, more intuitive computer interface puts all the information we need to manage our digital lives at our fingertips, no matter what form it’s in..."