Anthony Vipond
Meet

Anthony
Vipond

Vancouver's top software consultant and
founder of leading software Agency, WInterwind.

Born and raised in Surrey, B.C., I graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor's in Computer Science in 2004. I began a career as a professional web developer in 2007 in Shanghai, China, gaining experience until I began work on Disney's engineering team in 2012.

Anthony Vipond

Senior Developer on Disney.com

2012-2013

For two years in Shanghai, I worked on an engineering team with hundreds of developers, eventually leading the customer support and FAQ sections of Disneyland Hong Kong and Disney Paris. I introduced a few technologies to Disney that were not being used by them at that time, including automated browser testing with Selenium as well as introducing the Laravel framework in 2013. Both recommendations were accepted and I worked extensively with my team on Disney's customer service related pages, ensuring they looked and functioned well, loaded quickly and had automated tests run on them nearly all day long. I wrote copious amounts of unit tests and integration tests for Disney, including alert systems so that the engineering team would be notified immediately if there were any issues in production.

Disney

Lead Developer on Juwai.com

2013-2014

In 2014, I left Disney to become one of the first software developers at growing real-estate startup, Juwai, also based in Shanghai. Within a couple of months of being there, I was promoted from senior web developer to team leader, leading the front-end development (CSS, JS, PHP) of the website. I consider the PHP server-side framework the website was built on as "front-end" as Juwai (as most large websites do) has an extensive backend which is separate from the web codebase. In Juwai's case, they had another codebase written in Python that integrated full-text search as well as a messaging layer using RPC. I, however, was in charge of the entire web stack. In my time there, I led the re-coding of the website from vanilla PHP to instead using the Laravel framework. I worked at Juwai for two years with my team, eventually making it into one of the highest-trafficked real-estate websites in the world, listing over 10 million properties. In 2019, Juwai was sold for tens of millions of dollars.

Juwai

Software Engineering Manager in Bangkok

2015

After nine years of living in China, I finally left and moved to Bangkok, where I was hired as the lead developer of Rabbit Finance. Rabbit Finance is one of the leading insurance marketplace websites in Thailand, where visitors can get car insurance, health insurance and more all through their website. As was the case with Juwai, I was tasked to implement a brand new infrastructure, migrating the existing data from an unwieldy MongoDB into a new database design in MySQL. Not only did I personally design the new database structure, I designed a new architecture to change the way their web properties communicated with each other. I introduced a service platform (API) that various different web properties under the Rabbit umbrella could talk to in order to centralize the data of the company and reduce duplicate and outdated data being stored in various databases. The central service platform was an API that any Rabbit app could interface with (there were various teams there working on their own apps) and this centralized the data for all the apps, enabling each of the apps to have up-to-date data to work with. It also allowed those team members to not need to worry about the data layer anymore so they could just focus on coding.

Rabbit Finance

Back to Vancouver for Pfizer

2016

In 2016, I was hired by Pfizer to work as a senior web developer. I again gained experience working on an enormous engineering team, almost as big as Disney's. My task was straight-forward; to ensure that Pfizer had the highest quality PHP code in all of its relevant codebases. Throughout my time here, I refactored endless PHP classes as well as performing code reviews on new pull requests there involving PHP. After some time, Pfizer required that all PHP developers within our division get my approval on their pull requests before they were able to merge this code into a production branch. I blocked countless pull requests during this time until they met my standards, enjoying this role all too much. Though, at the end of the day, I was able to make a measurable improvement to the code quality and code maintainability in Pfizer's various codebases, which made it all worth it.

I also spent considerable amounts of time integrating Marketo into applications there. Marketo is a leading provider of marketing automation software.

Pfizer

Training myself to be a Blockchain Developer

2017-2018

By Spring 2017, I was craving to do something else in technology besides web development. At this point, I felt there was little left for me to learn as a PHP developer. With enough savings after ten years of solid coding, I left Pfizer and stopped working, instead doing self-study on blockchain technology in April 2017. I started learning about Ethereum at this time and began making basic smart contracts using Solidity. After getting comfortable with Solidity and Web3.js, I began making ERC-20 tokens for a slew of startups doing ICOs in 2017, a year in which we saw thousands of companies launch their own ICOs, many having great success in terms of fundraising. This way of fundraising ended abruptly in early 2018, due to over 90% of these startups unable to give a positive ROI to their investors. In mid-2017, I was hired by LoyalCoin of the Philippines to build out the blockchain layer for their ICO. LoyalCoin was built on NEM technology so I got experience with a new blockchain here, in addition to integrating Bitcoin support into their fundraising platform.

I learned many new skills at LoyalCoin including how social media marketing is done and digital marketing in general, such as search engine marketing. At this point in my career, I had a strong foundation in both website and blockchain technology, and also felt I had a decent handle on how software companies are run in general. It was time to start my own company!

Blockchain Developer

Coinflyer and Stumbling into the Agency Business

2018

Despite the crypto crash of 2018, I was still passionate about blockchain technology and wanted to start my own cryptocurrency exchange. In the last five months of 2018, myself, Yasir Iqbal, Dheeraj Singh and Dizza C. (the latter two now senior staff in Winterwind) built a real-time cryptocurrency exchange called Coinflyer. It had real-time order books (powered by web sockets using Socket.io), an ICO launchpad, full-blown KYC system and more. We launched it in late 2018 and it did get some traction, however I under-estimated how much would need to be spent on marketing in order for it to reach the amount of users needed to provide a decent amount of liquidity to traders using the site.

Despite this, something else happened. Observers were impressed with what I was building in the blockchain space and began contacting me to build software for their blockchain-based startups. This started putting money into my pocket as opposed to running Coinflyer which was doing the opposite. Suffice it to say, this felt much better.

I accepted a few of the initial invitations to build for other people and began working with Yasir, Dheeraj and Dizza on these projects, accepting payment from the client and then paying my teammates for their time. Without planning to be in such a situation, I realized I was now running a small software development agency. But an agency nonetheless!

I purchased the domain name winterwind.com in 2004 for no other reason than I liked the sound of it, (and the piece of the same name by Chopin) and proceeded to do almost nothing with it (aside from renewal) for the following 15 years. It was about to be called to duty.

Coinflyer
Coinflyer

Winterwind Software Services

2018

By February 2019, my small team and I had some experience doing client work but were operating without a name. I bought a template for $15 and launched a basic (but attractive) website on winterwind.com -- Winterwind as we know it was now born. Following this, I applied for an agency account on Upwork and was accepted. I began applying to some jobs on Upwork and was able to slowly add clients to our agency and the rest is history. At the time of this writing, July 2020, Winterwind now employs a staff of 23 people, including over 15 developers and UI designers. Winterwind is a highly process-filled software development agency which puts the emphasis on delivering high quality software to its client base. Winterwind employs mostly Filipino developers and is not as cheap as its rivals in India. This is not a problem for us however, as our goal is not to match India on price. Our goal is to be a full-service software shop employing the best UI designers, web developers and mobile app developers from the Philippines. We are a full-service software agency offering "managed development" to our clients. This means that after we establish the requirements of the project as well as confirm the UI spec, we will take it from there, removing the burden of day-to-day management from the client. We update our clients everyday on the status of their project with a detailed end-of-day update (with screenshots) and a staging environment which they can test on if they so desire. This is just one example of the many processes set at Winterwind that allows it to operate as one of the highest-quality software development agencies in the world.

Winterwind

AgencyBoss

2020 - Present

In July 2020, Winterwind began work on its own internal project, a SaaS-based website that helps digital agency owners manage the day-to-day operations of their business. It contains various features such as work logging, salary statements, weekly profit/loss statements, basic staff management and more. Once it is finished, I will most certainly be using this to help me run Winterwind. In fact, it is precisely being created to allow Winterwind to be easier to manage, but we will develop using a SaaS design so that other agency owners can reap the benefit as well. If you yourself are running a digital agency, in particular a software shop, creative agency or an SEO agency, do sign up to the newsletter at AgencyBoss so that you can be notified when this product launches.

AgencyBoss

Vancouver Technology Consulting

2020 - Present

Anthony is now based again in Vancouver and available to provide IT consulting services, in person or over a video call, to residents of Metro Vancouver. My strongest specialties are website development, blockchain development, infrastructure design and database design. I am however also able to consult on mobile app development, content marketing, increasing website traffic and digital marketing in general. Please email me at anthony@winterwind.com and let's start the conversation!

AgencyBoss