I have been engaged with the use and development of technology in one form or another since I was young, and am currently pursuing a career as a software developer. It's not all roses, however: I take a fairly radical and critical stance towards the adoption of technology in society.

Software Development and Automated Testing Leadership

I am currently the Senior Director of Automation Technologies at HeadSpin, the app UX intelligence platform. HeadSpin lets you run all kinds of automated, performance, and other UX validation against your mobile, web, or media app, leveraging real-world devices and locations, along with a good dose of AI/ML to give you awesome reports about your app's quality. Previously at HeadSpin, I founded and still lead HeadSpin University, where we feature an extensive web and mobile test automation course I produced.

I am the creator and author of Appium Pro a weekly blog and newsletter focused on mobile test automation topics. I started writing Appium Pro in early 2018, and it has become the definitive resource for Appium how-tos and tutorials on the Internet.

In 2018 I founded Cloud Grey, the Appium-focused consultancy, to meet the need of large companies trying to be successful with the tool. Especially in large and complex testsuites or organizational structures, it's easy to wind up with a sub-optimal Appium setup. Cloud Grey offered training, testsuite architecture, and a host of other services to enterprise clients. In my role as founding principle I also advised key companies in the industry.

I previously worked as Director of Open Source at the San Francisco-based cloud testing company Sauce Labs. At Sauce, I worked on many aspects of the architecture of our web and mobile testing cloud, from backend infrastructure (Python) to frontend interactivity (JavaScript). I built out the Open Source Engineering Team. Our mission was to make sure that the open source projects at the center of our world (Selenium and Appium) stayed awesome, and that the ecosystem that surrounded our core products received as much attention as it deserved. Of course, I spent much of my time leading and maintaining the Appium project.

My (probably woefully out-of-date) CV is available for download here:

And of course you can always find me on LinkedIn.

Open Source Contribution

I am passionate about open source and have contributed to a number of projects. Most notably, I am the architect and project lead for Appium [source], a popular cross-platform, language-agnostic mobile app testing framework. I have also on occasion contributed to the academic discussion on Free & Open Source Software.

The best place to find up-to-date information about my open source involvement is my GitHub profile.

Public Speaking

I've spoken at dozens of conferences and meetups around the world on various topics, mainly to do with automated web and mobile app testing, and open source development. I'd be happy to consider speaking at your conference or internal company event! Here are a few links to videos and slides of presentations I've given:


I have (co-)founded three companies and have several other side projects which I maintain (or used to maintain, depending on the current reality):

In 2018 I founded Cloud Grey, the Appium-focused consultancy, to meet the need of large companies trying to be successful with the tool. Especially in large and complex testsuites or organizational structures, it's easy to wind up with a sub-optimal Appium setup. Cloud Grey offered training, testsuite architecture, and a host of other services to enterprise clients. In my role as founding principle I also advised key companies in the industry.

I was the CTO and co-founder (with Daniel Conrad) of this social recommendations startup. Rather than giving people a list of business to try, we approached the recommendations problem with the idea that recommendations are highly relative to someone's needs and desires. So we built a mechanism for succinctly stating those desires in the form of a question which people answered---these answers were recommendations which were reused around the site.

I was the CTO and co-founder (with Brad Wolfe) of this startup designed to bring creativity and inspiration to online engagement. We encouraged people to add their own creations to the community; along with each creation was its "backlight", i.e., the story of what inspired that creation. We built an amazing community of people and a library of inspiring content. We were also a part of the 2008 fbFund REV accelerator class.

Expenseus is a side project that arose out of a frustration with group expense reimbursement. When you go on a trip with your friends, or when you live in a house with 5 others and share expenses throughout the course of the month, it can be difficult to remember who owes who what. Expenseus keeps track of things and will calculate the smallest possible reimbursement graph that evens everything out. Over 3,000 happy monthly active users of this free service!

Philosophy of Technology

I enjoy thinking critically about the technological enterprise in the modern era, and write about this topic on my blog. Most recently, I co-authored a paper on the philosophy of open source published by First Monday, entitled The rising tide: Open source’s steady transformation. Previously I blogged through a book on the philosophy of technology by Albert Borgmann, called Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life. I recommend starting at the 'Blogging Borgmann' series overview.

As listed above, I've also given presentations on the philosophy of technology. My first bid in this area was at LXJS 2014, a talk called The Internet of Nothings. Subsequently, I presented a paper at SPT2015, the bi-annual international conference for the philosophy of technology. I spoke about open source software and Albert Borgmann's Device Paradigm.

In 2017, I presented a keynote speech at SauceCon, on The Philosophy and Future of Automation, touching on a variety of social, historical, and philosophical topics.


I've been playing music for as long as I can remember. Starting with a few years of piano lessons as a child, I opted to switch to trumpet when it came to school. From 6th to 12th grade I practiced just enough to stay involved in the marching bands, concert bands, and jazz bands at my high schools. I also composed for piano and full wind ensemble.

In my junior year of high school, I had two life-changing experiences: first, I took Music Theory AP. Second, I began playing guitar. These two things defined my musical experience through the present. I explored pop, rock, alternative, punk, and ska music for the first time, and started writing songs with words. That meant that I also sang them; and eventually, my voice got good enough for me to appreciate my own music. In the last 15 years since I started playing guitar, I've written and recorded over 100 different songs, and have performed at numerous venues, most notably while on tour with my friends' band, The New Frontiers.

Splendour Hyaline

Splendour Hyaline is the indie rock band I started with my brother David Lipps in 2003. I write the songs, play guitars & bass, and sing. David plays drums, produces, records, mixes, masters, and plays a bit of synth. Here is our discography:

Present-Future (2019)
BandCamp · iTunes · Apple Music · Play · Amazon · Spotify · Tidal · Deezer
This EP was recorded with full band at Spareroom Studios in San Francisco, CA.

  1. Hello
  2. When There Was Still Code to Write
  3. Sunlight
  4. Tortoise and the Hare
  5. Ivy on Stone
  6. When I Leave My Hiding Place
  7. When Love Leaves Its Hiding Place
  8. Present-Future
  9. At Least for Now
  10. Ghost in the Machine
  11. Sunday
  12. Regress as Progress
  13. Planned Obsolescence
  14. One Step

Hope: A Sliver, Like the Moon (2006, rereleased 2014)
iTunes · Play · Amazon · Spotify · Rdio · Beats · NoiseTrade
This EP was recorded with full band at Spareroom Studios in Orlando, FL.

  1. So Talk About It
  2. The Restless Slumber of Dry Kindling
  3. Liability
  4. Waiting (Fugaz)
  5. Arctic Wastelands in the Quest for Character
  6. Arid Deserts in the Quest for Companionship

Regarding Present Fears (2004, rereleased 2014)
iTunes · Play · Amazon · Spotify · Rdio · Beats · NoiseTrade
This EP was recorded at Spareroom Studios in Orlando, FL.

  1. Regarding Present Fears
  2. Escapism Is Fantasy
  3. Love is Around
  4. One Day the Future Will Be Tomorrow

Between (2003)
The very first Splendour Hyaline record, and the inaugural Spareroom Studios project.

  1. A Veiled Hope
  2. So Talk About It
  3. Winter's Hold
  4. Escapism Is Fantasy
  5. Of Fire and Chains
  6. Intermission
  7. A Pixelated Life
  8. I Win Again
  9. Affectionately Yours
  10. Regarding Present Fears
  11. Hear This
  12. Small Are the Words

Other Projects

I've also worked on several other projects in a solo fashion:

Suite Apocalyptique (2007) [Download]
I wrote this album while on sabbatical at Schloss Mittersill, a castle in the Austrian alps. It was inspired by NT Wright's Christian Origins and the Question of God series, an important work on the origins of the Christian religion within its historico-cultural context. The album is thus accompanied by a bit of an explanation.

  1. Mvmt I: The Sky Darkens
  2. Mvmt II: The Body Sleeps
  3. Mvmt III: The Heavens Stir
  4. Mvmt IV: The Earth Groans
  5. Mvmt V: The Birth Concludes
  6. Mvmt VI: The Sun Rises
  7. Mvmt VII: The Promise Holds

Science Fiction (2006) [Bandcamp]
This album is the result of a lot of experimentation with composing using electronic instruments and the exploration of more subtle emotional landscapes.

  1. The Wayfaring Aesthete Engages the Road in Conversation
  2. Logic Stumbles While Climbing the Steps to Your Heart
  3. A Storm Of My Own Devising
  4. Winter Brings the Rain of Nostalgic Innocence
  5. Walking Away and End Credits

Splendour Hyaline Christmas

Christmas is probably our favorite holiday, and so we've occasionally produced little EPs of our own renditions of Christmas music.

The Holly and the Ivy (2008)

  1. The Holly and the Ivy
  2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Holy Night (2006)

  1. We Three Kings of Orient Are
  2. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
  3. O Holy Night

Christmas (2005)

  1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  2. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  3. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear


I have loved learning and playing with languages ever since I was young. Like many, it was discovering the wealth of creativity in J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional tongues that opened up a world of fascination with language. It showed me language as a vehicle for expression and exploration, not just communication.

Of course I ended up creating constructed languages ('conlangs') of my own, though none of them ever became very complete. The most fleshed-out project was a language called Enaselvai, which has some pretty obvious affinities with pre-existing natural languages like Latin. I even wrote a paper about constructed languages and the structure of Enaselvai. You can see some of its script to the right.


Eventually I felt that I wanted to approach language and the study of language itself in a less amateur fashion. So I did an MPhil in the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology, & Phonetics at Oxford University, supported by a scholarship at Jesus College.

In this program I had several areas of focus:

  • Syntax - understanding how words can be put together to form larger units of linguistic structure.
  • Morphology - understanding how words themselves can be put together from smaller bits.
  • Computational Linguistics - using computational techniques to answer linguistic questions.
  • The History of Ancient Greek - charting the path of the Ancient Greek dialects through roughly 1,000 years of ancient history.

Thanks to the wonderful instruction I received from my professors, and especially my supervisor Mary Dalrymple, my MPhil thesis was submitted to the Oxford Research Archive for digital publication, and featured on the department's website as having earned a distinction.

Selected Works


When I went off to college, I was planning on majoring in computer science. The trouble is, I'd also taken to exploring and debating some of the Big Questions, like God's existence, etc... Nothing was quite so stimulating as trying to get to the bottom of the cosmological argument, to see whether it really worked or not.

So, when the computer science department couldn't figure out where I should start when I asked them on my first day of college, I decided to focus on philosophy for a while. Ultimately, I had such a good time I stuck with it. I've still never made any money as a philosopher, but I certainly feel like a professional! The irony is that I went ahead and became a career technologist anyway.


I got my BA (2004) during some wonderful years as an undergraduate at the Stanford Philosophy Department. I can still remember mind-exploding moments in the Philosophy of Mind or Logic courses I took. And the Philosophy of Language seminars no doubt had something to do with my eventual studies in linguistics.

While at Stanford I also took advantage of their co-terminal degree program, which enabled me to work towards and receive an MA in Philosophy as well, also in 2004. As a grad student, I had the rewarding experience of TAing a course on medical ethics, as well as some truly fascinating exposure to the philosophy of quantum mechanics, wherein I finally learned some linear algebra.

In my MA I had several areas of concentration:

Philosophy of Technology

One of the most interesting philosophical subjects for me in recent years, and I think one of the most currently relevant for modern society, is the philosophy of technology. In this (nascent) subject, we ask questions about what technology is in essence, and what our relationship to it is. We could also move into ethics and ask what relationship technology has to pre-existing norms, whether it imposes its own norms, or whether there should be any norms for us in our engagement with it.

As a computer programmer by trade, I've spent a lot of time with technology on the ground. More recently, I've been trying to view it through a more critical lens. My favorite guide so far into this world is Albert Borgmann, author of Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life. It's so insightful I decided to blog through each chapter in the hopes of making it more accessible to a less academically-trained audience: Blogging Borgmann. I even had the opportunity to interview Professor Borgmann, which you can read all about at Interviewing Borgmann.

In 2015, I expanded on some of Albert Borgmann's work, applying it to the area of Open Source Software. I presented a paper at SPT2015, the international conference for the philosophy of technology, in Shenyang, China. The paper is available as an early draft at my profile. More recently, I co-authored a paper entitled The rising tide: Open source's steady transformation, which again attempts to interface ideas of Borgmann and others with the practice and philosophy of open source software.

I've been trying to engage my community of software developers with conversations about issues in the philosophy of technology. In 2014, I was able to give a keynote presentation at LXJS in Lisbon, where I communicated ideas from Albert Borgmann and Jaron Lanier.

More recently I've been writing critical analyses of popular technological trends in society. For example I published a lengthy essay on The consequences of AI for human personhood and creativity

Selected Works


Growing up in a religious household, the language of "God" was all around me. Thinking about God and the meaning of life became a big part of my mental furniture. It's what led me to become a philosopher and to examine the big questions of life from all angles (not just the angle of religion). Despite my completely non-religious education, I was never persuaded to reject belief in God and become an atheist. As such, I've always retained an interest in thinking critically but also faithfully about God.

My academic interests in theology tend towards the philosophical, as expected, but in recent years I have begun to see all fundamental life orientation as expressing one kind of theology or another, and thus the deep relationship between theologies and all aspects of our modern life. To that end I have begun integrating my interest in the philosophy of technology with theology, observing that our attitudes to technological devices are increasingly "theological" despite the non-theistic beliefs of many of their users.

Regent College

I'm currently enrolled (very much part-time) at Regent College in Vancouver, BC, pursuing a ThM in Interdisciplinary Studies. My area of focus is the theology of technology, bringing together my lifelong interest and career in technology with considerations of the transcendent. Specifically, my research is on understanding modern technology and our use of it from the perspective of the Biblical themes of Creation, Imago Dei, and Fall.

Selected Works, Publications, and Appearances


I like to take pictures when I go on trips. I don't really consider myself a photographer, but this is a decent place to put some pictures that won't scroll off into the social media void. I think the secret to good photography is having something nice to take a picture of, and when I'm on trips I tend to be a bit more observant of such things.

Taking pictures with a big clunky camera used to feel more special than taking pictures with a smartphone, even though my phone is now more powerful, and even though I now take many more pictures. So here are some old, low-quality highlights here for your viewing pleasure!


Some uncaptioned photos I've taken over the last 10 or so years, roughly in order of date taken.


Welcome to the online homepage of Jonathan Lipps! Harking back to an era before social media rendered personal pages superfluous, this website is meant to inform you, dear reader, of everything (indeed, probably much more than) you need to know about me.

I'd say this site is designed around the embarrassing theme that I can't be interested in just one thing. Of course, I like to think that variety of pursuits leads to a more satisfying and integrated life. So I've selected some of the most prominent of these interests to showcase in their own sections.

Biographical Ramblings

It's a bit hard to say where I'm from. Before I was 6 years old I'd lived in Arizona, California, and Papua New Guinea. I spent my growing-up years in a little town outside of Dallas called Cedar Hill, TX. When we moved there it was a small town of about 10,000, but since I moved away it has become a booming suburbopolis, replete with all the big box stores your heart desires and very little of the small town charm I remember.

Anyway, I finished up high school in Orlando, FL, and went off to college in sunny California at Stanford University in Palo Alto (BA/MA in Philosophy). After finishing these degrees in 2004, I stuck around Palo Alto, lived with friends in a kind of intentional community, and cut my career teeth as a freelance software developer for tech startups. At one point I took a sabbatical and spent the better part of a year in Kenya at the Tumaini Children's Home in Nyeri, helping to start Hope Runs.

In 2009 I got the chance to live out a lifelong dream and started another graduate degree at Oxford University in the UK. This time my studies were in "General Linguistics and Comparative Philology", which is pretty badass according to me. I was all set to start a PhD in Linguistics at the University of Chicago in 2011, but at the last minute decided to start a software company in San Francisco instead.

I lived in San Francisco for 5 years and it was an amazing season of working for exciting tech startups, including some of my own projects. During that time I wrote the popular Appium automation software which has since become a long-lived and much-loved (or much-bemoaned depending on who you're talking to) open source project. I've had the good fortune to develop a very satisfying software development career based around Appium!

In 2016, my then-partner and I moved to beautiful Vancouver, BC, where we had a son. I still live in Vancouver with our son, enjoying all the amazing things that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Additional Delights

You might think that the myriad categories already featured on this website are more than enough things for me to be interested in. Not so fast! Here are some other hobbies I maintain at some low to medium cadence: