Big News, Rails Rumble is now Ruby Rampage!

Expert Panel

Aug 14, 2009

Our team of expert panel members will pre-qualify completed applications prior to public judging this year, in order to streamline the voting process. The highest rated applications, as determined by our panelists, will move on to the next round of judging, in which end users will decide the ultimate winners. In addition to rating entries, panelists will also leave personal comments for each application that they review; this means that each competing team will receive notes or advice from a minimum of 3 panel members, whether they go on to public voting or not.

Rails Rumble Expert Panelists include people that do great stuff from all parts of the web development and startup ecosystem: web developers, programmers, designers, user experience experts, startup and venture business folks, and media people. The panel also includes a number of influential Ruby community leaders.

Panelists for the 2009 Contest

  • THOMAS ASARO THOMAS ASARO is Vice President of Linode. A wearer of many hats with extensive business and IT / systems experience, he was last seen attempting to virtualize himself into a Linode 2880.

  • GILES BOWKETT GILES BOWKETT is a Ruby and Rails programmer with bowhunting skills, epic lambda fu, and a 007 client list. His client work includes Ajax, REST, icon design and all the usual suspects, and his open source projects include successful AI experiments. The Man controls the day, but we control the night. [Blog, Twitter]

  • PETER COOPER PETER COOPER is the editor of Ruby Inside, curator of Ruby community link blog RubyFlow, and author of Beginning Ruby published by Apress. He spends an inordinate amount of time posting on his Twitter account @peterc.

    Prior to his current position in the Ruby world, Peter worked as a freelance journalist during the dot com boom, and founded an RSS syndication service, Feed Digest (now Feed Informer) which he sold in 2007. He also developed a popular code snippets site which he sold to DZone and is now called DZone Snippets.

  • DAN BROWN DAN BROWN is founder and principal at EightShapes, LLC, a user experience consulting firm based in Washington, DC that has engaged with clients in telecommunications, media, education, health, high-tech, and other sectors. Dan has been practicing information architecture and user experience design since 1995.

    Prior to founding EightShapes, Dan consulted with organizations ranging from the US Postal Service, the World Bank, and the Federal Communications Commission to USAirways, FirstUSA, and Fannie Mae. From 2002–2004, Dan was a Federal employee, leading the content management program for the Transportation Security Administration. His portfolio includes work on public-facing websites, intranets and extranets, and addresses most aspects of the user experience, from information architecture and content strategy to interaction and interface design.

    Drawing on his expertise in communicating complex ideas and abstractions through high-quality visual documentation, Dan wrote a book on user experience deliverables—Communicating Design (New Riders, 2006). Amazon reviews call it “authoritative,” “practical, personal, comprehensive,” and “a cool nerdbook.”

  • BRIAN DEL VECCHIO BRIAN DEL VECCHIO is a software developer, entrepreneur, and community organizer based in Cambridge, MA. A founding member of BetaHouse, a Cambridge coworking space serving the web startup community, Brian has been building social web using Ruby on Rails since 2006. [Blog, Twitter]

  • JON ERICKSON JON ERICKSON is, among other things, editor-in-chief of Dr. Dobb’s. Erickson is the guy who makes the coffee every morning, at least on those days when he manages to show up in the office. Erickson is the author of 10 books, ranging in topics from database management systems to portable computing.

  • OBIE FERNANDEZ OBIE FERNANDEZ, author of The Rails Way, the definitive guide to Ruby on Rails development, is CEO and Founder of Hashrocket, a boutique web consultancy and product shop based in Jacksonville Beach, FL that is recognized as one of the top Agile Rails shops in the world.

    Obie has over 13 years of experience as a web software developer. A pioneer in Ruby on Rails development, he writes a popular blog, contributes to various podcasts on a regular basis, and writes for the Ruby community at, one of the world’s premier technology portals.

  • JUSTIN GEHTLAND JUSTIN GEHTLAND is the President and Founder of Relevance, Inc., a web, mobile and cloud application development company based in Durham, NC. Relevance is the home of RunCodeRun, the world’s first and (so far) only hosted continuous integration platform, and the team is involved in a slew of open source projects. Justin has written a number of books, like the Jolt Award-winning “Better, Faster, Lighter Java” and “Pragmatic Ajax”, and was a contributor to “Agile Web Development with Rails”. He focuses his days on building the best environment he can for the team at Relevance, and working with his customers to help them ship. Right now. Find him online at: Blog, Twitter

  • ANDREW HYDE ANDREW HYDE is a startup enthusiast with a background in usability and design. He works for TechStars, a mentorship driven startup accelerator out of Boulder and Boston. He has founded 4 companies, including Startup Weekend and VCwear. Find him online at Find out more about TechStars at including our documentary series The Founders at

  • ZACH INGLIS ZACH INGLIS is a Rails Developer and Usability-Focused Designer. He loves to work with niche and budding new companies; directly affecting a companies growth for the better is what drives him. He is a passionate member of the Rails community and loves to contribute any time he can. Although a Scot, he has lived in both Asia and America for a number of years. [Blog, Twitter]

  • JEREMY MCANALLY JEREMY MCANALLY (mrneighborly) has been a Ruby and Rails developer, consultant, and author for about four years. In that time, he’s released some open source software (like context, matchy, foundry, perwikity, and others), contributed vast amounts of code and documentation to Rails, written a few books (The Humble Little Ruby Book, Ruby in Practice, and Testing Rails), spoken at conferences like RubyFringe and Mountain West RubyConf, and made lists of his projects that strike him as far too long.

  • JIM MINATEL JIM MINATEL is an Associate Publisher with Wiley, working mostly on Wrox books. In that role he works with a team of Acquisitions Editors and Executive Editors who find authors for books in just about every professional programming and web development topic. Prior to this he was the editor-in-chief for the now-defunct Exchange & Outlook magazine and the also too-short-lived .NET Magazine. Jim has been in other technical publishing jobs his whole career and has been lucky enough to work with some of the best authors in the business. His education is a B.A. in Mathematics and Physics from Wabash College (a traditional liberal arts school) and an M.S. in Mathematics from Chicago State University.

  • BRUNO MIRANDA BRUNO MIRANDA currently lives in South Florida where he works as Development Manager at Hoodiny Entertainment Group makers of Cyloop, MSN’s Music portal/platform. Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, he has been living abroad for the past 10 years. A Web-standards evangelist and sucker for intelligent UI design, he enjoys traveling, taking photos and mountain biking.

    In 2007 he created a now popular source for Ruby and Rails related links for the portuguese speaking audience. He also maintains a personal blog at and a twitter account at Bruno was a member of the team that won the 2007 Rails Rumble event for their work on the Tasty Planner recipe sharing website.

  • JOLIE O'DELL JOLIE O’DELL is ReadWriteWeb‘s tech blogger on the startup beat. In the past, she’s covered the tech space for publications such as StartupLucky, Adrants, and Center Networks. O'Dell has also worked on newspapers, on magazines, for book publishers, for serial entrepreneurs, on startup teams, at advertising and marketing agencies, and for enterprise blogs and websites. She has a B.A. in Media Studies from Shenandoah University.

  • LESLIE POSTON LESLIE POSTON is passionate about helping people and businesses find their way to success via technology. As a writer, she has over 200 ebooks and books in her repertoire and several more in development, including Twitter for Dummies with Laura Fitton and Michael Gruen.

    As a speaker and leading authority in social networking, new media, brand and business development, she is the Founder and CEO of Uptown Uncorked social media and business development consultancy. She is also the Co-Founder of Film Pop!, a digital and new media services development agency for independent film as well as a long-time consultant to the entertainment industry for new media development and marketing.

    A firm believer in translating online relationships and successes into the offline world, she has also founded Social Media Breakfast New Hampshire, PodCamp NH/ME and the nationwide Strong Women in Tech initiative. Her educational background is in English Literature and Clinical Psychology.

  • TOM PRESTON-WERNER TOM PRESTON-WERNER is a software developer and entrepreneur. As cofounder of GitHub, the world's largest and most active Git hosting website, Tom Preston-Werner possesses inside knowledge of the Git ecosystem and how it is changing the way in which code collaboration is done.

  • CASEY ROSENTHAL CASEY ROSENTHAL is Chief Software Engineer of Port Forty Nine, located in Portland, Maine. His work includes high-traffic online applications for Advanta Corporation, Ovation Television, and most recently NASA’s Spitzer Science Telescope. Casey organizes and presents at the Maine Ruby Users Group which meets monthly at techMaine, as well as PROGMATICA, a group of software engineers that meets regularly in Portland.

    Casey has a background in print, 2D, and 3D digital graphic design, and was a beta-tester for some of the first 3D-modeling software to run on Intel CPUs. He was a Photoshop wizard back when Adobe had competition, and won design awards for several web sites in the Tourism Industry. Casey was recently awarded a grant by the Maine Technology Institute to work on a discrete event simulation framework written in Ruby.

  • BEN SCOFIELD BEN SCOFIELD is the Technology Director for Viget Labs, where he uses his experience working with startups like Squidoo and ODEO and his expertise in Ruby, Rails, and other technologies to help new businesses get on the right track. He’s also the two-time winner of the Solo division of the Rails Rumble, and will be bringing that expertise to the expert panel this year. (He likes baked goods and cash.)

  • RYAN SPOON RYAN SPOON is a senior associate with Polaris Venture Partners where he focuses on investments in technology and digital media. Ryan is based at the firm’s Dog Patch Labs, a San Francisco based startup incubator. Ryan blogs at

    Previously, Ryan worked at Widgetbox, which he joined in December of 2007 as the Vice President of Marketing & Business Development. He also is the founder and president of sfEntrepreneurs – an organization of Bay Area investors and operators – which first launched

    Prior to joining Widgetbox, Ryan spent 2003-2007 at eBay Inc. As part of the internet marketing team, Ryan focused on user acquisition and launched several social properties including eBay MyWorld, Reviews & Guides, Blogs and eBayMatchUps. Most recently, Ryan launched and managed the business.

    In 2000, as a collegiate swimmer for Duke University, Ryan founded beRecruited now has 500,000 registered users and is the largest sports recruiting network on the web. beRecruited was acquired by RVS Ventures in 2007 and Ryan currently serves on the board of directors.