Gianotto Alison

Alison Gianotto

Chief Technology Officer

Name:Alison Gianotto
Address:San Diego, CA
Phone:(909) 2-SNIPE-1
I am passionate about creating order from chaos, developing systems and workflow to make the right thing the easy thing, and advocating risk management as a valuable tool for innovation. I frequently speak at conferences about technology and security/privacy issues. My personal heroes are Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, & Jane Goodall.

I created Downworthy in my free time, a fun little Chrome extension that changes hyperbolic viral news site headlines into something funnier. It's been written up in AdAge, Daily Dot, BoingBoing, Jezebel, Washington Post and more. Check out more of my personal projects on GitHub.

Speaking Engagements

Foo Camp

Failing Well/Risk Management (Ignite Talk)

Books & Publications


July 2014 - present

Mass Mosaic

Chief Technology Officer
2008 - 2014


Chief Technology Officer / Corporate Security Officer

As the CTO at noise, I was responsible for managing the IT, Devops and QA departments. As an IT generalist, my day frequently consisted of configuring and patching servers, IT infrastructure planning, application architecture and database tuning, and technical strategy for noise and our clients. In my role as Corporate Security Officer, I was responsible for our security policies, corporate audits, application security and company-wide security awareness training.

I successfully transitioned noise from a company that wasn’t using version control when I started to a company that uses automated deployment and continuous integration technologies such as Chef and Jenkins, with emphasis on transparency, accountability and reporting.

  • Mentored younger developers
  • Developed best-practices coding standards and web application security standards adopted by the entire development team
  • Managed risk management for all internal and client web applications
  • Managed, monitored and performance-tuned upwards of 50 LAMP servers across Rackspace and AWS for high-performance, high-profile client projects for Chase Bank, GE and others
  • Wrote deployment scripts to establish a development workflow using GitHub, DeployHQ and AWS auto-scalers which allowed one-click deployment with full change history
  • Developed a hybrid physical and cloud server solution utilizing aggressive caching using RackConnect at Rackspace for a client application that received over half a million visits a day.
  • Architected and built high-performance PHP/MySQL applications leveraging Facebook, Youtube and Twitter APIs.
  • MySQL performance tuning using the Percona toolset.

Additional accomplishments included:

  • Playing a key role in technical and social strategy for clients such as Sunkist, GE, Intel, Chase, JP Morgan, Panasonic, CBS, University of California, EA, Unilever, Sears, Coca-Cola, Amazon and vitaminwater
  • Leading the noise social media strategy, managing our social networking accounts and spearheading a company blog
  • Implementing a formal helpdesk system
  • Creating an PHP/MySQL open source asset/license management system for IT asset/inventory tracking
  • Continuing to work towards automating deployment and configuration management for our essential systems

I also sat on the Culture Board at noise, which focuses on personal development, mentoring and retention programs (and fun!) for employees.

2001 - 2014


Crimefighter / Founder / CEO

As the founder, CEO, and only developer on this project, I did it all. PHP/MySQL development, systems administration, product development, and marketing.

  • PHP/MySQL front-end and custom case management system back-end, both using Twitter Bootstrap
  • Integration of geolocation and Google Maps API
  • Phonetic name search
  • Optional alerting system for when “watched” content is updated
  • Action alert campaigns utilizing email-to-fax API technology
  • Data normalization and standards
  • Execution of responsive design
  • Beta API
2006 - 2008

Village Voice

Web Development Manager

While at the Village Voice, I worked on the core technology powering the website for the country’s largest alt weekly. As a full-stack developer, I developed highly scalable PHP/MySQL standalone applications, as well as development on the front and back end of the main publication website.

  • Rewrote promotional applications such as the Pazz and Jop program, which required extensive programmatic data normalization from thousands of sources to reach a finalist list
  • Improved and extended the main PHP/MySQL publishing platform, from which the website and print versions were published
  • Extensive front-end development in CSS and Javascript to enhance site functionality
  • Managed the web development team to quickly turn-around high-profile feature requests
  • Spearheaded the initiative to move all Voice podcasts onto iTunes for additional exposure
  • Contributed to product vision in an effort to continuously improve the site
  • UX planning and information architecture
  • Coordinated the migration of 40 years of articles from the existing publishing platform into Gyrobase
2005 - 2006

San Diego Blood Bank

Web Developer

As a web developer at the San Diego Blood bank, I was responsible for writing PHP/MySQL and front-end HTML/CSS/Javascript code to power the main organization website, as well as standalone promotional applications for fundraising events.

  • PHP/MySQL programming on IIS
  • Design and creation of targeted promotional event emails
  • Integration with multiple proprietary healthcare application and donor CRM APIs
  • IIS systems administration


Web Application, Business Strategy, Product Development, Server Management


Web Application, Business Strategy


Web Application, Business Strategy, Product Development


Web Application, Business Strategy, Product Development, Server Management


Web Application, Server Management
University of California

University of California

Web Application
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2010 May
Scott Stratten, President of Unmarketing

It all started with a challenge for a small programming change for my blog that 15 other people had tried to do and failed. Alison fixed it within 3 minutes and I knew I had found something incredible. Since that time she’s saved my server (with 100 client sites) from multiple malicious attacks, on top of dealing with IT providers on my behalf. I don’t know where I’d be without her.

2008 May
Bill Volhein, Web Development Director at the Village Voice

Alison has immense web programming skills as well as superior leadership ability. While at VVM, she was able progress extremely large, complex, corporate agendas forward with ease. Alison is someone I trust to handle any project, no matter the complexity. Would hire again in a New York minute!

2014 February
Danny Garcia, Web Developer at Noise

Alison is incredibly detail oriented and always has her company, her company’s interests, and her clients at the forefront of her work. She performs due diligence on any and all technologies that potentially can and will touch her platforms, and ensures a baseline of security is always implemented to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders. As a technologist, Alison is nothing short of inspirational. She motivates those she works with to better themselves, to better their skills, and to ask questions about why they perform the most mundane task to the most elaborate task a specific way– just to make sure that not only she understands your goals, but you do as well. Regarding technology, Alison has always challenged me not just to try new things, but to look at things critically, and really find a use case for or against said technology. It isn’t enough to just “be on top” of what’s new, but Alison has always encouraged those around her to educate themselves on trends, and be able to apply a rational, carefully thought out judgement for oneself. During her time at Noise, Alison not only kept systems running safely and smoothly, but she also kept operations and processes rational and efficient. She’s always challenged the engineers to make sure things don’t “just work,” but we’re really putting our all into our work, and further, enjoying ourselves.

Alison has a deep passion for technology, backed by careful, calculated judgement, creates thought provoking discussions around work and execution, and her passion is infectious. I cannot recommend her highly enough. She is a pure joy to work with.

2014 February
Smith Forté, Chief Product Officer at Noise

Alison is a great jill of all trades. She’s a technologist, coder, sys admin, network ops admin and security freak! She can troubleshoot almost any technical issue, and will work tirelessly to come up with a solution to any problem.

2014 March
Josh Byard, SVP Product Management at Noise

Alison is everything a small- to mid-size company would want for a CTO. A smart, knowledgeable, and strategic tech leader, Alison is as comfortable in a conference room with Fortune 100 clients as she is up to her elbows in cables and dust inside a server closet.

At noise, Alison has been a key partner to the product and account teams from pitch to planning to execution. As a team leader, she commands respect with her knowledge, skill and great instincts. I hope I will have the opportunity to work with Alison again in the future.

Let's keep in touch