As a teenager I was fortunate to have access to electrical parts and kits, building clocks and radios, and of course my first flip-flop. I started at CU in electrical engineering, but was drawn to computer engineering and programming early on, eventually changing to the new track of electrical engineering and computer science (EE/CS). On graduation I was offered a position with AT&T Bell Labs in the local university/part time program, and graduated with an MS in computer science.

My career has evolved and changed in concert with the evolution of computer hardware and software. With AT&T, at that time the largest corporation in the world, it was working with mainframes, minicomputers and early computer networks. Moving to Silicon Valley and Hewlett-Packard (HP) brought work in the new area of reduced instruction set computing (RISC) and ports of various UNIX flavors to these new platforms. A move to Silicon Graphics (SGI) took me into the design of multiprocessor RISC workstations and servers and the operating systems to support them, as well as the new field of 3D computer graphics.

It was later in my career at Silicon Graphics that I became involved with the company's efforts in supplying interactive television hardware and software, and helped design and lead SGI's work as part of the Time-Warner Full Service Network in Orlando, Florida.

In the spirit of Silicon Valley's startup culture, I and another ex-SGI executive formed TiVo. We went on to develop the first consumer Digital Video Recorders (DVR) on the market. The TiVo products were successful and admired, not least because of the effort we put into developing functional and reliable hardware and software for the consumer. Early on in the design cycle, the hardware team wanted to know where to put the reset button. I declared that there would be no reset button, it was our responsibility to deliver a product that "just worked." Through the dedicated effort of many people we were able to deliver just such a product.

One of the more interesting aspects of building TiVo was the development of a significant body of intellectual property, and I was the primary named inventor on the core DVR patents. These patents have been extensively litigated, and have stood the test of time. It has been gratifying for me to travel down the full patent trail, from invention, to patent grant, through litigation and licensing.

Our approach to developing the TiVo products was unique at the time, as I chose to base the software on the open-source Linux operating system, developing our own proprietary software application for DVR functionality. Within the consumer electronics industry, the notion of using Linux in a consumer product was often viewed as heresy. But we made it work, successfully navigating the issues around open-source licensing in a proprietary system.

An aspect of the TiVo service that is particularly relevant today is that it was a complete end-to-end service for managing millions of always-on devices, reliably delivering continuous feeds of program information and software, while anonymously collecting large amounts of data about consumer viewing activity. Well before the issues of today around security and privacy were top-of-mind, the company developed hardware and software systems to address them for TiVo subscribers.

These days, the tools are available to build services similar to TiVo but at orders of magnitude more scale, leveraging ubiquitous Internet connectivity and cloud computing. Because of the increased scale, maintaining security and privacy are also that much more complex. My interests continue to lie in these areas, and in the increasing need for creating systems that are robust and reliable in the face of network-based attacks and manipulation.