Ian McFarland is an entrepreneur and technologist. He’s the Founder and Chairman of Neo, a leading global product innovation company.
He has a long track record of identifying trends early: He started working on worldwide distributed Hypertext systems in 1989 with Ted Nelson at Autodesk, about the same time Tim Berners-Lee started working on the World Wide Web. At Wired Magazine in 1994 he was on the launch team of HotWired, the first significant commercial Web application. There he worked with Brian Behlendorf on patches to NCSA HTTP, what would eventually become Apache, the basis of the Apache Software Foundation. In 1995 he met James Gosling at a demo of the new programming language Java, and subsequently built the first client server application ever written in Java, a technology demo for Sun’s announcement of the language at SunWorld. In 2004 he joined Friendster as employee number 3 and Chief Architect, the company that created the phenomenon we know today as Social Networking. In 2005 he joined Pivotal Labs, and as VP of Technology helped to build one of the most trusted brands in agile development consulting, and the first major consultancy to embrace Ruby on Rails. In 2009 he was part of the summit of design and technology leaders like Alan Cooper and Ward Cunningham that developed the integration of agile principals into design that would come to be known as Lean UX. In 2011, he left Pivotal Labs to join Digital Garage, a publicly traded Japanese company founded by Joi Ito, Director of the Media Lab at MIT, as Group CTO, and with the help of Eric Ries, author of the Lean Startup movement, to start building the consultancy he launched in 2012, Neo Innovation, Inc., of which he is Founder and Chairman.
He’s helped to advise the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and 18F, and has been a mentor and speaker at various accelerator programs, including 500 Startups, Tech Stars; Haxlr8r and Highway1 (Hardware accelerators, in Shenzhen, China, and San Francisco, respectively); and IndieBio (Sythetic Biology accelerator in San Francisco).
He is an author and frequent speaker on Entrepreneurship, Lean, Agile, UX and Cloud.