I was born in Auckland, New Zealand and grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand. I attended Burnside High School. My Aunt, Vicki Buck, was the mayor of Christchurch for several years.
I represented New Zealand once in the International Physics Olympiad and twice in the SEARCC International Schools Software Competition (SISC). Our SISC team took 1st place in 1994 and 2nd place in 1995.
I moved to Boston when I was 17 to get a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While at MIT I spent one year at Oxford University studying History and Mathematics.
I am a recipient of a National Interest Waiver for Persons of Exceptional Ability.
After college I started a biotech software company, originally called ArrayEx and later called Incellico. It was acquired in 2003 by Genstruct, a systems biology company in Boston. I worked at Genstruct for 4.5 years before deciding that I really wanted to live in San Francisco.
While living in Boston, I wrote a book called Programming Collective Intelligence, which was published by O’Reilly Media in August, 2007. As of June, 2008, it had sold approximately 18,000 copies, and had been translated into three different languages. It has received many rave reviews.
I now work at Metaweb Technologies in San Francisco. I develop techniques to retrieve, parse and reconcile large public datasets. These are loaded into Freebase, an free online semantic database. I love my job, it’s fun, challenging and utopian. Also, I can walk there.
I have spoken at many conferences including OSCON, Web 2.0 Expo and Web 2.0 Berlin. I have several more conferences coming up in the near future. I have been to FOO Camp twice — it’s an amazing experience, despite what the haters say.
I got married to Brooke Blumenstein in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on July 4th, 2009. The wedding, reception and afterparty was likely the best party I will ever attend.