Kelly Norton is a designer and software engineer living in Atlanta, Georgia. He holds degrees from Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and from the MIT Media Lab where he studied under John Maeda. From 2006–2012, he was a software engineer at Google working on Google Web Toolkit, Speed Tracer, Google Chrome and other stuff. He co-founded Connexxia LLC in 2000 to help universities effectively recruit high school seniors though online social engagement. He is now building a new company, but more about that later.
He's got a Resumé/Portfolio as well, if that's what you are into.
The newest chapter in this saga involves four founders with a history of working well together. Obviously Kelly is one of those four. In early 2012, Kelly waved goodbye to a comfortable job to rally around the mission of bringing a bit more science to the art of marketing. You can watch the rest of the chapter unfold at monetology.com.
From 2006–2012, Kelly was a Software Engineer at Google where he worked on a lot of different projects: Google Web Toolkit (2006–2010), Speed Tracer (2008–2010), AdWords (2009), Google Wave (2009 & 2010), Dart (2011), WebKit (2009 & 2012), Google Chrome (2012) and a number of other things he can't talk about.
Kelly started his career at Google working on Google Web Toolkit. When he joined the team there were almost no internal applications using GWT. Today it supports millions of lines of code and some of Google's most critical properties. Through his work on GWT, Kelly got a good sense of what it takes to implement web applications. In particular, he took apart pretty much every shipping browser in the name of UI responsiveness. He attempted to capture much of what he learned about web performance in a project that started as a 20% project and ended with the release of Speed Tracer. In 2009, he also won an OC Award (the second highest award for innovation at Google) for his performance work on AdWords.
In 2011, Kelly officially transitioned to work on Google Chrome where he was involved in the initial public release of the Dart language. At the forefront of the launch was http://try.dartlang.org, a tool he designed and implemented with a couple of awesome team members in a very short time. After the Dart release, he has been focusing on improving the web platform directly through work on WebKit where he is a committer.
From 2004–2006, Kelly was a graduate student, researcher and teaching assistant at the MIT Media Lab as a part of John Maeda's Physical Language Workshop. Kelly's work focused on topics at the intersection of engineering and visual design. His projects were generally of a multi-disciplinary character and included areas such as information visualization, collaborative creative tools and computational art.
In 2000, Kelly co-founded Connexxia with friends Shawn Coyne and Peter Flur. Connexxia's primary product, AdmissionsGenie, helped colleges and universities more effectively recruit students by connecting them to real people through the web. It showed consistent, good results and hosted the admissions sites for a number of schools, including some big names like Duke University, Emory University and Georgia Tech. Connexxia later expanded its products to cover university alumni and some specialized business recruiting. As a funny aside, Kelly was actually targeted by his own recruiting tool when he neared graduation at MIT. In 2005, Connexxia was acquired by Internet marketing firm James Tower. In 2010, James Tower decided to focus the entire company on the higher education market and rebranded themselves Blue Hue Education. AdmissionsGenie is still the name of their premier product.
Kelly grew up in South Georgia but he speaks with almost no southern drawl (except when he says “boiled peanuts”). He is married to Stephanie and they have three kids: Trey, Zoe and Ali. Kelly is stubborn and likes to do things his way; the kids are stubborn and like to refuse to do things, period. Kelly is also a bit of an endurance sports fanatic and loves competing in triathlons (which he uses an excuse to add new stuff to his bike).