Haystack benefits from the advice and networks of many advisors and ambassadors.

At the platform level, results have to be fast, trustworthy, and consistent. Trista, as former Global Head of Sales for Morningstar, saw this phenomenon (and these customer demands) first-hand in the context of a proprietary, paid-service model. Now, consumer platforms from Netflix to Spotify face similar issues with user expectations and service levels and Trista helps us understand what’s needed.

With nearly twenty years in the multimedia space – including in music and visual content – Shannon has seen trends come and go and understands what it takes to be popular online and offline. Having experience from print advertising to the music industry to UI/UX design, Shannon is a key advisor on how search functionality should work and what’s wrong with how image and music search works now.

Starting with a Tumblr loosely based on her yoga practice, Sarah has built a big following across platforms with no ad spend. How? By focusing on engagement rather than views and recognizing that what she’s been building is a lifestyle narrative, not a how-to blog or a product placement stream. She’s in Seattle and advises our team on what’s needed to make search work for multi-platform content.

Having joined startup Vendavo shortly after its Series E but before its 2006 funding round, Mike has seen what it takes for a startup to continue to scale, improve profitability, and enter new areas. After Vendavo’s acquisition by a private equity firm in 2014, Mike has held a variety of Director-level positions. Mike earned a B.S. from Northwestern and an Executive M.B.A. from London Business School.

Matt is an automotive journalist, podcast personality, and social media star. Now, with hundreds of millions of views on YouTube, Matt has gone from borrowing friends’ cars to make amateur videos to getting fresh models from manufacturers and tuners to test on camera in high-production-value review clips. Matt lives, unsurprisingly, in the capital of American car culture: Los Angeles.

Someone who has recruited key technical talent from full stack engineering (AWS) to search (Bing), Margaret brings her Amazon and Microsoft recruiting experiences to her advisory role at Haystack, helping us evaluate our needs and helping us understand the landscape of available candidates. Before working at Amazon and Microsoft, Margaret worked for a Seattle-area startup. She’s from Chicago.

Karma Rx is a social media personality, model, and entrepreneur. Since 2014, she has gone from being unknown on social media to having over 1,000,000 followers on Instagram and some of the highest engagement rates on multiple platforms; she is a success story of someone with no ad budget who figured out how to go beyond mere popularity to obtain loyal followers and high user engagement.

John is a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs in the Asset Management group. Prior to joining Goldman, John co-founded and managed Imprint Capital Advisors (acquired by Goldman Sachs in 2015) and, prior to that, was a co-founder of Medley Capital. John is an expert on early- and growth-stage companies. He is a Yale alumnus, a talented musician, and an avid outdoorsman.

Jake is a partner at 8VC (formerly part of Formation 8). Prior to life as a venture capitalist, Jake co-founded Humin (acquired by Tinder), where he built the technical/engineering team, product plan, and partnerships. He is also a founder of the Solé Bicycle Company, which has evolved from a single bicycle model to become a lifestyle brand. Jake is a graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business.

Heidi is one of Haystack’s advisors on platform-level tech. Having experience at Oracle serving demanding clients like Facebook, Heidi understands what it takes to run search, recommendation, and feed services at scale and what technologies will and won’t work when user numbers grow into the millions – or billions. Heidi has advised Haystack since 2017 and lives in the Bay Area.

Feven is an entrepreneur, executive, and operations expert. From B2C (Pandora) to B2B (Twilio), Feven understands there are two steps to getting things working: getting users onto a platform and then keeping them engaged on that platform. She has been an advisor to Haystack since the autumn of 2017 and advises our team building search tech for audio and podcast content. Feven is based in London.

When not advising Haystack, Doug leads a team at Microsoft responsible for over a billion dollars in annual revenue. In more than twenty years at Microsoft, he’s seen the evolution of the core business along with changes in customer expectations, changes in the technology, Microsoft’s search engine journey. Doug earned an undergraduate degree in Economics and an M.B.A., both at Harvard.

Dayo leads partnerships for Africa at Google. She is the author of The Bright Continent, a book on innovation, technology and opportunity in sub-Saharan Africa. She began her career as a reporter and has worked at Reuters, the New York Times, and at Facebook. A graduate of Yale College, Yale Law School, and Yale School of Management, she currently lives in London.

Cristina is a creative professional with years of experience at some of the most prominent agencies and management companies in the film industry. She offers a full range of services to content creators and curators, from deal negotiation to advising clients on artistic choices. Cristina holds a B.A. in Political Science, Sociology, and Anthropology and a J.D. She advises our team from her home in California.

A member of IBM’s Innovation Team, Claire is a key advisor to Haystack. IBM is one of many firms building technology related to Haystack’s innovations and was the first Fortune 50 company to cite Haystack technology in a patent application. Claire holds a B.S. in Manufacturing and Design Engineering and an M.S. in Engineering Design and Innovation, both from Northwestern University.

Chadwick is a painter, photographer, performance artist, and multimedia creator who has wowed audiences around the U.S. His prolific output, sometimes creating more than a dozen paintings per month, has earned him attention across media platforms. Chadwick creates difficult-to-sort, difficult-to-metatag art that is a challenge for any categorization or search system. He lives in Los Angeles.

Brooke is the CMO of The former head of Brand Strategy at Twitter, Brooke has seen how platforms work and what they need to do to attract, promote, and retain users. She also understands the search and ad mechanisms by which people discover content, products, and services. Prior to Twitter, she was in the Chicago advertising world at brand-name firms including FCB and DigitasLBi.


Amy is the CEO of the Johnson Foundation and advises Haystack on the difficulties non-profits, community groups, and other similar organizations face when trying to distribute or publicize unpaid content often de-prioritized in search results. These kinds of organizations are producing more and more multimedia content. She is a long-time resident of, and vocal advocate for, the City of Cincinnati.

Alice is an entrepreneur and consultant who has advised Haystack since Day Zero. In her consulting role, she helps startups and early-stage companies identify and follow paths to reaching scale. She is an Accenture alumna, with experience across the software development lifecycle. Alice holds masters degrees from Stanford and the University of Chicago and a B.S. in Computer Science from Emory.

Maybe you’re a seasoned entrepreneur looking to advise cool companies in this space. Maybe you’re a veteran intellectual property portfolio manager and intrigued by an early-stage company with a unique IP posture. Maybe you’re a former media executive or a content creator who loves technology that connects people with the best music and videos. If so, reach out. We’re open to new advisors.