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W. Vann Hall

W. Vann Hall



  • Goal-oriented self-starter with proven track record in introducing new technologies and opening new markets.
  • Over two decades’ experience in data networking, electronic publishing, and online communities.
  • Skilled across entire product life-cycle, from market analysis through post-sales support.
  • Experienced across a wide range of business functions, having held senior positions in operations, engineering, sales, marketing, product management, systems development, and quality and process improvement organizations.
  • Comfortable managing small to large departments, multidisciplinary or matrix-managed teams, and geographically dispersed groups.
  • Experienced in B2B, B2C, and B2G arenas.
  • Former small business owner and entrepreneur.
  • Previous start-up experience.

W. Vann Hall

+ - !   ?Work Experience

Principal Consultant

Pala Designs, San Francisco, CA

May 1999 – present

Provide consultative, research, and development services to a variety of clients. Primary focus on business and market development, product management, and business process improvement, with a secondary concentration in content creation and distribution.

Notable projects include:

For a leading OSS provider specializing in service activation, data reconciliation, and asset management and recovery…

  • preparation of comprehensive strategic market and operations review, including blueprint for future development, mid- and long-term product positioning and marketing strategies, and recommended long-term strategic directions.
  • Following delivery of this document, was asked to serve as ‘shadow’ CTO for a year to support transition to pre-IPO management team.

For a rapidly growing manufacturer of optics and ballistics hardware and software, with a substantial presence in military and law enforcement…

  • definition of processes and procedures governing entire product life cycle, from product definition and design through post-sales support.
  • creation of ISO 9000-compliant quality management system, including all mandatory and supporting process documentation.
  • specification of comprehensive backoffice data management system, including functionality providing customer visibility into order, warranty, and repair/return status and activity.

For a maker space for jewelry artisans…

  • creation of several dozen custom 3D models of jewelry-making and metal-working hardware.
  • conversion of models from SketchUp to Sweet Home 3D, optimized for photo-realistic rendering.

For a Bay Area newsweekly…

  • redesign of online edition to modernize design, reinforce brand, simplify upkeep, and leverage archived content to increase number of pages viewed per visit.
  • design and implementation of custom content management system, integrated with print-edition workflow, to automate and streamline site maintenance.
  • reduction of weekly man-hours required from greater than 100 to fewer than 20.

For a Bay Area software developer with remote offices across the U.S. and overseas…

  • replacement of existing PBX, from market research through implementation and turn-up, including migration from PSDN- to VOIP-based solution.
  • selection of hardware (server and user desksets), software (OS, VOIP switch/PBX, switchboard console, and teleconference manager), and ITSP.
  • systems integration, including configuration of dialplan and IVR; customization, updates, and fixes to open-source modules; integration of disparate subsystems; and integration of solution within existing network and Active Directory architecture.
  • creation of all documentation, including test-and-acceptance and systems administration and user manuals.

For a Puerto Rico-based provider of web-based video…

  • complete overhaul of service offering, including reengineering of facility infrastructure and system architecture, development of new video server, chat server, and chat client, and creation of accompanying web site.
  • design and implementation of backoffice tools for affiliate management and accounting, hacker detection and prevention, and security and performance monitoring.
  • general web and graphic design, HTML development, server management, and support and administration of network hardware.

Senior Technologist

Access Softek, Berkeley, CA

September 2006 – present

On an as-needed basis, responsible for a variety of market analysis, product design, development, marketing, technical writing, and QA functions for a custom software developer. Particular emphases on the financial services industry (both B2B and B2C), social networking and ecommerce, mobile apps, and game platform development.

Past projects include:

  • documentation of API and libraries (C/C++/C#) of cross-platform development tools for Sony Playstation 3, Playstation Personal, and Win32 game development systems.
  • analysis of current and anticipated requirements for a CMS-driven implementation of the company's Mobile Locator product, including detailed analysis of existing customer sites, specification of comprehensive data model, and creation of proposed roadmap for customer migration and ongoing enhancement.
  • research into rules-based detection of fraudulent bank checks and transactions, including specification of core logic and rules definition.
  • design of the social/business networking, access control, and messaging/blogging sections of an information and networking portal intended for employees of financial institutions.
  • research to support the next generation of Access Softek’s SMS-based mobile banking product, including evaluation of potential partners.
  • research into a proposed voice portal-based telephone banking solution, including evaluation of potential partners and technologies.
  • update and revision of user manuals for Access Softek’s Mobile Finance Manager online banking product, including creation of discrete version for each device type supported, along with customized, branded versions generated for a number of financial institutions.
  • production of web-based video tutorials for selected online banking products, including branded versions customized for certain financial institutions.
  • development of mobile device-ready Mobile Locator web sites.
  • quality assurance for a number of products and clients, including creation of scenarios and test cases, execution of tests, and documentation and regression-testing of bugs identified.
  • serving as account manager for Access Softek’s Cybermetric Systems subsidiary, marketing its multi-factor authentication server to small- to mid-size banks and credit unions nationwide.


Bold Type, Emeryville, CA

December 2001 – May 2003

Managed operations for weekly lifestyle and entertainment tabloid, with emphasis on market positioning, branding, strategic direction, and cost control. Increased print distribution by 20%, paid subscriptions by 10%, and online readership by 35%. Implemented custom CMS for online edition, doubling number of pages published per week while reducing man-hours required by 80%. [Bold Type had twelve full- or part-time employees, with annual revenue approaching $1 million.]

Responsible for overall efforts to improve and streamline corporate systems, including such projects as

  • design and implementation of an omnibus business management system intended to provide a single interface to all display, classified, and web advertising; accounts receivable; subscription and promotional mailings; contact and leads management; distributor accounts; and editorial calendar.
  • refinement and expansion of the content management system driving the web site — previously designed and implemented as a project of Pala Designs — with an emphasis on providing better and more flexible support of sales through affiliate partners.

Also responsible for day-to-day activities as required: Writing and editing, photography and graphic design, advertising sales and collections, update and management of web and administrative servers, general bookkeeping, relationship management, legal and regulatory affairs, and the like.

[Bold Type had twelve full- or part-time employees, with annual revenue approaching $1 million.]

‘Shadow’ Chief Technical Officer

Syndesis, Toronto, ON

January – December 2000

In support of transition to pre-IPO management team, served as ‘shadow CTO’ for major OSS vendor. Responsible for analysis of emerging technologies, review of planned and ongoing development, evaluation of prospective partners, creation of product and strategic roadmaps, and other duties typical of the office of CTO. [Annual revenue was roughly $30 million during period of contract, growing to exceed $120 million in FY 2003.]

Technical Marketing Manager

Objective Systems Integrators, Folsom, CA

Pioneered the market unit concept at OSI, in which individuals with real-world network management experience were given responsibility for product definition, development, marketing, and consultative sales for a specific industry or market; eventually managed ten individual market units. Led OSI’s IP/SNMP efforts; conceived, designed, and managed development of the virtualExec product suite, which brought carrier-grade, telephony-scale management to IP networks. Directly responsible for $25 to $30 million in new and add-on sales during time with company, including initial sales to a number of strategic accounts. [OSI offered a wide range of element, network, and service management solutions based upon its NetExpert platform, with a typical initial system price of $250,000 to $1.5 million.]

Tasked with creating new markets for the NetExpert management platform: Identifying newly emergent business areas with unmet management and control needs; coming up to speed quickly on the underlying technologies, systems, and protocols; determining which needs the product could best meet; devising an initial marketing strategy and product plan; signing a first, preferably marquee, customer within the targeted market space; and ensuring future NetExpert development plans fully addressed the needs of the market.

Managed OSI’s residential broadband (née video-on-demand), cable/convergent telecommunications, optical transport, HFC, OSS integration, advanced solutions, ISP, and IP/data market units. Customers included Ameritech, US West, Bell South, SBC, Lockheed Martin, Sprint LTD, Telus, TCI, ADC, NB Tel, Cable & Wireless, TelMex, Bell Canada, AT&T Unisource, Verio, Swisscom, and @Home.

Prepared bids and RFP responses, either on behalf of OSI alone or in conjunction with resellers, integrators, or strategic partners; presented proposed solutions to prospects. Produced a 200-page market analysis and product plan for OSI’s next-generation data OSS. Wrote and delivered sales, conference, and user group presentations. Created white papers, collateral, and sales support and training. Wrote articles for trade press. Occasionally provided dedicated consultative support (from 3 to 30 days) to current and prospective customers regarding OSS and UI design, OSS integration, and process engineering. Evaluated prospective partners and acquisition targets.

Worked from home (initially Arlington, Virginia; later, San Francisco) while managing a geographically diverse team of direct reports and matrixed employees located across the United States and Canada.

[OSI offered a wide range of element, network, and service management solutions based upon its NetExpert platform, with a typical initial system price of $250,000 to $1.5 million.]

Senior Technical Manager

Sprint Data Services (formerly Telenet), Reston, VA

Promoted through a series of increasingly responsible positions in Sprint Data’s network operations and engineering divisions, including Manager, Customer Service and Technical Support; Manager, Quality and Process Improvement; and Senior Manager, Network Management Systems/Operational Support Systems Engineering.

  • Senior Manager, Network Management Systems/Operational Support Systems Engineering

    Managed a fourteen-person, cross-departmental team responsible for design, development, implementation, administration, and maintenance of network management and administrative systems to support Sprint’s public and private X.25, frame relay, and transaction-processing networks. Provided long-range planning for systems development and integration. Managed the Packet Data Service Center (PDSC) Technical Training and Business Process Improvement workgroups.

  • Manager, Quality and Process Improvement

    Identified inefficient or ineffective practices within the Packet Data Service Center (PDSC), designed and implemented procedural or cybernetic solutions to these problems, and evaluated the effectiveness of the implemented solutions. Served as chief operations liaison with development groups for the design of administrative and network-management systems. Oversaw the rebuild of the PDSC NOC, including the creation of a 170-station, mission-critical LAN. Managed the Technical Training and Measurements and Analysis groups. Project-managed implementation of the more than 300 Reston-oriented recommendations resulting from the Sprint Data Improvement Task Force.

  • Manager, PDSC Customer Service and Technical Support

    Managed department providing technical support to all users of Sprint’s packet-switching network (SprintNet) and to owners of Sprint International-provided domestic private networks. Department consisted of roughly ninety technicians, supervisors, and related support staff handling from 800 to 1,200 incoming calls and 200 to 400 trouble tickets daily.

+ -   ?Skills

Business Development

  • Identify new technologies, markets, products, and trends of potential interest.
  • Help to define and document corporate strategy based upon anticipated financial, technological, regulatory, market, and corporate environments.
  • Develop comprehensive and defensible business plans to support both strategic and tactical decision-making.
  • Help prepare the organization to manage change.
  • Evaluate other business entities for suitability as supplier, partner, or merger/acquisition target and participate in any resulting negotiations.

Product and Market Development

  • Analyze new technologies or business opportunities.
  • Translate findings into product designs and business and marketing plans.
  • Manage development and deployment of new products, balancing development schedules and budgets with market requirements.

Business and Process Analysis

  • Investigate current and optimum business processes, especially as relates to support of new products or services.
  • Translate findings into recommended improvements to processes, organizations, or systems.
  • Manage implementation of such improvements, with an eye towards encouraging acceptance rather than mandating adherence.
  • Select and implement most-appropriate tool or methodology (e.g., business process modeling, brown-paper analysis, process mapping, TQM, ISO 9000, statistical process control) for task at hand.

“Out-of-the-Box” Thinking

  • Identify creative solutions to problems, with the goal of maximizing efficiency while minimizing cost.
  • Facilitate rapid response to new situations while minimizing impact on individuals and organizations.
  • Encourage and reward similar initiatives from team members.

Team-Building and Leadership

  • Build and motivate high-productivity teams, especially project-oriented or matrix-managed groups.
  • Oversee multi-functional organizations, often of a technical nature.
  • Manage teams from a broad range of size, structure, and formality.
  • Recognize and help nurture leadership talent within the group.

Sales and Marketing

  • Manage entire sales cycle, from identification of prospects through post-sales support.
  • Prepare bids and responses to RFPs, including coordination and management of bid teams or participation in multi-vendor proposals.
  • Perform requirements capture and analysis, develop resource and manpower estimates, and size and bid projects.
  • Coordinate efforts of multiple departments (e.g., sales, marketing, development, operations, and the like), from requirements definition through deployment and acceptance.
  • Adroitly handle sales situations ranging in scope from individual to corporate and in focus from end-user to channel/distributor.
  • Develop marketing plans, advertising, and collateral to support any such situation.

Software Development

  • Organize, motivate, and manage diverse and often geographically dispersed teams of designers, developers, and/or implementation specialists.
  • Architect a variety of applications, from large multi-user distributed systems to small utilities.
  • Prepare system designs using a variety of tools (e.g., pseudocode, entity relationships, state diagrams, wire-frames, process models, or similar)
  • Participate in code reviews and walk-throughs, ensuring the system as implemented is congruent with the system as designed.
  • Create solid, workable code in a number of compiled, interpreted, application control, or scripting languages — C, C++, Perl, Pascal, PHP, Python, Ruby, Javascript, Java, SQL, VBA, OOoBasic, FileMaker, HTML, XML, and the like — and on a variety of OSs.
  • Develop basic fluency in new languages or OSs quickly and with a minimum of outside assistance.

Written and Verbal Communication: Technical

  • Document new or proposed products and services across entire life cycle: basic concepts, planned functionality, object relationships, data structures, developmental phases, user documentation, FAQs, and support and administrative guides.
  • Create development and technical marketing road-maps offering short-, mid-, and long-term development plans.
  • Working from source code, create concise, usable documentation for APIs and libraries.

Written and Verbal Communication: Corporate

  • Bridge the gap between technologists and business people through lucid and engaging writing.
  • Present business and technical information clearly and efficiently, taking into consideration the audience’s interests and depth of knowledge.
  • Create compelling studies, reports, white papers, and collateral.
  • Prepare and deliver presentations to audiences ranging in size from small groups to large conference or symposium sessions.

Written and Verbal Communication: Casual/Journalistic

  • Address complex or challenging subjects clearly and in an unintimidating manner.
  • Approach the audience with a friendly tone, conversational yet concise.
  • Produce reliable, clean copy on a wide range of topics and on deadline.

Written and Verbal Communication: Editorial/Publishing

  • Produce and maintain an editorial calendar, striving for an appropriate mix of article types and topics covered.
  • Enhance clarity and sharpen focus of others’ writing with concise, disciplined editing, taking into account the author’s relative level of skill and experience.
  • ‘Grow’ and nurture a body of dependable authors, photographers, and illustrators.
  • Secure publication rights, always with an eye toward potential ‘repurposing’ of material.
  • Manage ongoing operating expenses through a mix of process improvement, editorial planning, systems enhancement, and oversight of printing and distribution budgets.

Graphic Arts, Photography, and Videography

  • Generate clean, visually appealing graphic designs and layouts using industry-standard tools.
  • Create digital photographs, from start to finish: Scripting the shoot, staging and lighting the set, posing and managing models, post-production processing of images for a variety of media.
  • Produce dynamic and captivating video, from start to finish: Creation of screenplays and storyboards; design, construction, and lighting of sets; blocking and rehearsal of scenes; on-set camerawork; video editing, using a number of standard NLE applications; authoring of completed product for distribution in a variety of media.
  • Edit and manipulate digital audio, either as a step in video creation or as its own entity.
  • Create and present live video performances or video installations to accompany live or recorded music, theatrical performances, and the like.
  • Work comfortably within a broad range of media, form, and subject matter.

+ -   ?Other Experience


Grupo de la Comida, San Francisco, CA

1996 – 2012

Volunteered four to ten hours per week with Mission-based food distribution program. Maintain organization’s computer systems and website; write and defend grant proposals; automate resource-intensive activities; serve as acting director as needed; and collect and distribute donated produce. [Grupo, founded in 1985, was the oldest program of its type serving the Mission. In 2011 it distributed over 300 tons of food, feeding 2,000 people a week at a cost of less than $1.50 per client. As the result of funding cutbacks and rising costs, Grupo ceased operations in July 2012, folding its client base into that of Food Runners.]


Top Records, Washington, DC

Responsible for day-to-day operations for independent record label. Handled A&R; vendor selection and management; production and manufacturing; distribution; and radio, press, and retail promotion. Built a suite of custom tools allowing unified management and correlation of disparate databases, including geospatial cross-referencing of radio, retail, venue, and consumer data. [Top released a dozen recordings on audiophile vinyl, CD, and cassette.]


Trouser Press and Musician magazines, New York, NY

Wrote feature and spotlight articles, columns, and album and live reviews for what at the time were the third- and fifth-largest-circulation music publications in the U.S.

Publications (selected)

“When Turbo Isn’t Enough: Making Low-Level System Calls”
“Artificial Intelligence Techniques: A Natural Language Parser”

Chapters from The Turbo Pascal Toolbook (M&T/Dr. Dobb’s).
(Also published in translation as Das Turbo Pascal Toolbook.)

“Bob Dorough: Academic Hipster Mixes Math and Music”

Music Educators Journal (MENC)
Winner, National Educational Press Association Award for Excellence in Educational Journalism.


George Washington University, Washington, DC

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Coursework towards M.A., Telecommunications.
[Program consisted of equal parts technical, economic, and historical/regulatory studies, including graduate-level coursework in financial analysis, business development, project management, and U.S. telecom law. One credit shy of graduation. 3.8 GPA.]

University of Virginia, Charlottesville

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Coursework towards M.A., English. Vice-President, GSAS. Member, Honor Committee.

College of Arts and Sciences

B.A. w/Distinction, English. Echols Scholar.

W. Vann Hall • • 434/251-3715