Jonathan Howard

Co-founder and CEO of Emissary. Founder of Univ of Maryland Games Programming course. Co-founder of Issue Dictionary (acquired 2008).

Jonathan Howard

Programmer. Product Guy. Entrepreneur.

San Francisco, CA • (240)338-0381 • • @staringispolite


Creator Feb 2010
Like, Python ( San Francisco, CA

  • Tired of Old Man Python telling you what you can and can't say to your computer? It's about time programming languages understood what the kids are typing these days. Like, Python lets you write in Python but insert slang of your choosing.
  • Made the Reddit & Hacker News YC homepages, and was #1 on Reddit Programming for a day.

Creator March 2009
SevenUp ( Boston, Massachussetts

  • One simple line of Javascript enables anyone to show a tasteful, informative, customizable notification to their IE6 users, encouraging them to upgrade and explaining why. 30,000 downloads and counting.
  • Community involvement includes Drupal and WordPress plug-ins, and the 'Black' plug-in, all fan-created.
  • Made the Reddit & Hacker News YC homepages, and was #1 on Reddit Programming for 2 days.

Project Manager Fall 2006
Univ. of Maryland Games Programming course (Spring 2010 website) College Park, Maryland

  • Proposed and helped create the University's first games programming course, which is still taught today. Written proposal available at
  • Designed and pitched "Super Graphics Bros.," a 3D twist on the Mario franchise, starring the class's professors. Recruited and led engineers for the semester-long project. (
  • Coordinated a team of 4 programmers & artists. Personal contributions included enemy AI, level creation, animation, and establishing a content pipeline from 3DS Max to the OGRE engine.


Software Engineer, Marketing, Finance, and Business Development Jul 2011 - Present
Minted ( San Francisco, CA
  • End-to-end web development; Working closely with the exec team to help Marketing, Finance, and Business Development accelerate Minted's explosive growth.
  • Backend: Python, memcached, MySQL, PHP, printer APIs
  • Front-end: HTML, CSS, Javascript, JQuery, Backbone.js
Lead Software Engineer Feb 2010 - Jun 2011
LOLapps ( San Francisco, CA
  • Python, memcached, MySQL backend; HTML, CSS, Javascript, JQuery frontend; Flash/Actionscript3 game client.
  • 3rd engineer on (1.3M DAU, 12M MAU, nominated for AIAS 2010 Social Networking Game of the Year). Worked directly with Game Designer, Creative Director, and content team.
  • Promoted to lead on a new stealth game; responsibilities include rapid prototyping with game design, UI/UX review, interviewing/hiring, team management, contributing to our portfolio development strategy.
Senior Application Architect Sep 2009 - Dec 2010
Rakuten USA ( Boston, Massachussetts

Rakuten USA acquired FreeCause in Fall 2009. Worked with their DBA and product manager to integrate our technologies, as well as design, build, and coordinate the first post-acquisition product launch.

VP Social Network Engineering, Art Director Jan 2008 - Sep 2009
FreeCause, Inc ( Boston, Massachussetts

FreeCause acquired Now or Never in January 2008, to be the start-up's engineering team for all new products.

  • Architected SnapCMS - a drag-and-drop social network application creator - with my personal focus on the UI/UX and content creation framework. Designed and implemented objects for Facebook, MySpace, FreeCause's Engagement Platform, and any existing website via widget embedding
  • Wrote a PHP emailer for our Facebook applications that can send 6 million emails in under 20 minutes
  • Led requirements discovery, brainstorming, and design process for many projects, including an event system for ACS, embeddable widgets for the NFL,, and PlatformCMS.

Co-Founder, Chief Creative Officer Dec 2006 - Jan 2008
Now or Never, LLC College Park, Maryland

Flagship product was, an innovative political candidate comparison site, and a community of people interested in politics not for arguing or accusing, but for learning and debating honestly; with unbiased candidate information users can fact check - and contribute - themselves

  • Provided product vision - white-labeled, hosted product for elections at all levels of government, education
  • Designed and implemented features & UI/UX decisions, managed our only employee, a very talented artist

Lead Software Engineer, Technical Artist Apr 2007 - Jan 2008
Univ. of Maryland CATT Laboratories ( College Park, Maryland

  • Led a team of artists to modify Forterra's OLIVE game engine for highway incident response training
  • Responsibilities included hiring, art pipeline R&D, custom art tools, modeling, texturing, and level design
  • One of two engineering leads on a team of 12, building a 4D Traffic Visualization System with the capacity to display aerial photography, weather, roads, incidents, AVL data, and more, for the entire Earth
  • Responsibilities included hiring, product management, research paper publication, and implementing large systems, such as flight/AVL visualization, bird flocking AI, and automated code style and unit testing

Software Engineering Intern Summer 2006
Google, Inc Lively ( Mountain View, California

  • Acted as a liaison, in a team of 14, between the engineers, the art director, and the 3D content developers.
  • Created a prototype 3D Content Submission Pipeline in three weeks, and a fully-functional version used by the artists in five weeks, using Java servlets, Javascript, and several Google-specific web technologies.
  • Proactively identified and championed new feature areas, held meetings to define design requirements, and created a corresponding task list for the team.

Software Engineer Dec 2004 - Jan 2006
Univ. of Maryland Catt Laboratories ( College Park, Maryland

  • Implemented artificial intelligence in a real-time 3D animated environment to visualize realistic traffic patterns from streaming traffic data for the entire Maryland and DC-area highway system.
  • Collaborated with the team's artist to create a content pipeline and solve technical workflow issues.


Programming Python, ActionScript, PHP, MySQL, Code Igniter, Perl, C++, C, Ruby, Java, OpenGL
Web Front-end Cross-browser JS and CSS, JQuery, Smarty, Mako
Version control Git, SVN, CVS, Perforce, TortoiseCVS, TortoiseSVN
Teamwork Communication, project/product management, brainstorming
2D Graphics Photoshop and Illustrator, Flash, ActionScript, Premiere
3D Graphics 3D Studio Max modeling, texture mapping, animation, mo-cap


B.S., Computer Science w. Honors; B.A. Studio Art Dec 2006
Univ. of Maryland College Park, Maryland

  • Sole undergraduate contributor to a research project on vertex reordering for cache coherency. Implemented the vertex reordering algorithm and a particle system taking advantage of cache coherency.
  • Chosen to represent the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences at Commencement.