Dustin Johnson, Web Developer

Hello, I am a full stack interactive developer with a background in design. I've lead teams, worked for award winning agencies, and flown solo many times. I've been brought in to maintain legacy systems and I've architected large projects from scratch. If you're looking for someone with range, I'm your huckleberry.

Hello, I am a full stack interactive developer with a background in design.

I've lead teams, worked for award winning agencies, and flown solo many times.

I've been brought in to maintain legacy systems and I've architected large projects from scratch. If you're looking for someone with range, I'm your huckleberry.

Areas of Specialization


I've built several e-commerce solutions ranging from custom Shopify sites to fully custom NodeJS and Stripe implementations.

Television and Video

In 2008 I co-founded an international television startup, building platform and apps to deliver HDTV in mulitple languages to web browsers, set top boxes and mobile devices.

Publishing and Ad Supported Media

Familiar with high traffic websites and large content databases. I've worked with most ad formats and have migrated client server platforms for greater traffic stability, created caching routines to optimize for millions of pageviews.

Finance and Economics

I'm a finance nerd and closet economist.I consider myself an expert with CAC, TLV, churn, infrastructure costs and creating fluidly scalable financial models with multi-scenario reporting.

Cloud Computing and Scalable Systems

Whether building robustly featured platforms or handling 1000x traffic spikes for viral content, I'm well versed with programatic approaches to EC2, Azure, Heroku, S3, Cloudfront, and others.

I18n & International Markets

Several of my projects have required i18n for database driven content management systems as well as front end development and design. I have also traveled and lived abroad in Asia and Europe.

Skills I've Gained Over the Years

You can follow up here to see a few protips and gists of my code, including the full source to this site.

The Backstory

I started out as a video game hacker & hobbyist in the 90's and went on to officially study interactive design and new media theory through the SBCC SOMA program and USC's Institute of Multimedia Literacy program.

Over the past 10 years I've been hired by dozens of companies as a contract designer, animator, developer, and project lead.

Here are just a few of the brands I've worked with since 2005:
Justin WinesLandmark VineyardsHistory.comHalosKoreamAmazon

The Dive Into Startups

From 2008 to 2012, I worked on building a large technology platform for AST, a multi-million dollar video startup that I helped co-found. Over the 4 year period that we built out our product, I lead the system architecture, managed user experience, and oversaw the implementation of front end user interfaces across multiple browsers and native apps for embedded devices. Building this platform I directly recruited and managed 8 fulltime software developers and numerous contractors.

I assembled and lead the team developing an embedded Linux set top box. Throughout this process I gained extensive experience working with video transcoding, embedded systems, distributed computing, and RDB schema design for content metadata.

Simplified architecture diagram.
Scalable Service Oriented Architecture

The platform I built transcodes massive volumes of HDTV source material into multi-bitrate HTTP Live Streaming delivered across multiple server and cloud platforms linked to a custom built content management system where international TV programmers can schedule shows to play out on channels, manage pricing for video on demand, and maintain multi-language metadata.

A globally accessible dashboard to manage TV content rights in realtime.

This back end system connects to a TV set top box running on a software stack developed in house where users can channel flip through professionally created HDTV channels, view any and all content On Demand, and search or browse for thousands of titles.

This is an early live demo of the first generation set top box platform.

When browser video technology started catching up to native apps, we quickly transitioned our front end to servicing multiple devices through a browser based UI sharing the same JSON APIs and providing users with the same channel flipping and video on demand experience.

In this process we deployed prototype iOS apps as well as fully functional Android and iOS remote controls for the TV service.

I lead the design and implementation of multiple responsive single page web applications, iOS and Android touch interfaces, and several proprietary set top box platforms.

Leading Teams

As a founding technology entrepreneur, I scaled a team of 2 up to nearly 20 fulltime employees with 13 direct reports. I directly managed software engineers with all levels of technical experience ranging from very senior Chief Architects to college students. I lead graphic design teams and recruited and trained interns. I oversaw everything from major releases requiring custom hardware deployment to quick marketing site updates. For two years I managed relationships with clients overseas in Japan and Korea and managed offshore software developers in Europe.

Some of the people I've managed over the years:

I’ve used most major project management tools ranging from Jira and Basecamp to Trello and MS Project. I build wireframes and design mock ups in the Adobe Creative Suite and have created both granular and high level documentation for projects ranging in length from days to years. I specialize in iterative development with short release cycles, but also jump at the opportunity to create painstakingly wellcrafted up front specifications for larger projects.

Beyond just being a hands on developer I'm adept at print and digital page layout and typography, using everything from InDesign to Pages and PowerPoint for exceptional presentations and buisness collateral.

Sample from product specifications prepared for a b2b client.

As an entrepreneur I gained mission critical experience managing budgets and deadlines, estimating costs, and adapting to complex situations in a rapidly changing environment. Although follow through and maximizing product quality are always key goals, I also have learned the immeasurable value of adapting plans quickly to take advantage of natural efficiencies and adding constraints to a project scope to achieve the highest value results. As a hands on developer and participating in the architecture process, I can much more accurately estimate project timelines and resource requirements, evaluate team performance, and identify where negotiating a small change to a specification can result in huge cost savings.

Milestones Along the Way

Recent Agency Experience

This has been a great way to refine my build process, which I've written about here, and get up to date on the capabilities and workflows of the latest web technoligies like this WebGl project.

One of the larger projects included a pair of next-gen AngularJS and Wordpress driven ecommerce website for two legendary wineries that I've written about here.

Lead Development on Badassembly.com

The site won both Awwwards SOTD and a Microsoft Developer Award.

The site has been featured in numerous publications across the web, everywhere from France to Hong Kong, Russia to Brazil.

This site is deployed on Heroku using a Rails pipeline centered around CoffeeScript, Sass, and integrating some existing components in BackboneJS with Marionette.

2014 Holiday Project

A WebGL expiriment.

For Christmas 2014, I co-lead development and R&D for a WebGL project to test the capabilities of modern browsers with a bit of humor and holiday spirit. Santa crash lands on a distant planet and decides to crack open some beer, throw down a christmas mix tape on his boombox and dance away his troubles.

This project has it all. Its responsive, it employs the web audio api for live waveforms, it stretches browser performance with ThreeJS, gracefully degrades on lesser devices when possible, and even implements a custom animated SVG preloader. It did not make the production version but in development it also employed free flying with collission detection and on iPad supported gestural controls.

The site is deployed on S3 and Heroku free tier so forgive the fact that it can take a tick to load as the instances spin up.

Justin Wine & Landmark Vineyards

Sales for both of these multi-million dollar wineries are run through e-commerce sites that I built with one other developer at Bad Assembly.

At the client's request we used Wordpress as a CMS but opted to implement both sites as single page web applications through custom extensions to emerging JSON api's for wordpress.

Both sites are managed through Git deployment across dev, staging, and production environments and are pre-compiled from Coffeescript and Stylus using Brunch in conjunction with Gulp for a secondary build to support all the way back to IE8 with Blessed CSS.

AngularJS drives the front end of these sites and all of the content is managed through Advanced Custom Fields in wordpress using a block system we developed to allow the client to create an infinite number of combinations of different layouts using a very flexible grid built on Jeet with some customization for IE8.

Responsive and IE8 compatible.

While this build process is not ideal for every kind of site, it was an excellent solution to both support the Wordpress CMS requirement and the extreme flexibility the client designs demanded.

Halos Mandarin Oranges

Part of a record setting $100 million marketing campaign for a new agriculture brand, this website is built on a wordpress backend to support the client's familiarity. Using custom fields, almost all of the site content is hot swappable through the CMS. GruntJS was used to precompile, concatenate, and minify Stylus and CoffeeScript and the whole project is deployed via Git and SSH with separate dev, staging, and production environments.

On the front end it utilizes Skroller for parallax animations, CreateJS for vector canvas animations, and YouTube's api for rich video metadata.

Perhaps most impressive is the cross device and cross browser support back to IE9 despite the pervasive use of gradients, parallax, and hardware accelerated CSS3 animations.

I have a long lived passion for photography

Tokyo at Dusk, Kachidoki Island
Edo at Night
Shiodome Escalator
Nishi Shinjuku
Hal Mode Iko
Isuzu in Fall
Hudson at dusk, KODAK PORTA 800 ISO
Hyde Park, London
Irish Mar Vista
The road to ensanada, KODAK Kodachrome 400 ISO
Real California
Future City
The little city by the sea
Montecito Garden

I am currently living the dream in downtown LA.