This is the short version. See Duncan’s curriculum vitae for the long version.

James Duncan Davidson is a seasoned technology leader with a non-traditional career path guided by deep interests in technology, architecture, and art. He has created and delivered software platforms that millions of developers have used, written books that have helped a generation of Mac developers, and has advised and guided startups at many different phases

Recent Professional History


March 2021 - Present: Technical Advisor, Office of the CEO

Microsoft for Startups

January 2020 - February 2021: Principal Technical Advisor, responsible for charting, identifying, and researching challenges in the startup landscape for Microsoft.

July 2018 - January 2020: CTO in Residence, responsible for advising startups both in and out of the Microsoft for Startups program on technical and technical management matters.


July 2015 - July 2018: Principal Engineering Manager, responsible for helping the Wunderlist team transition from being a small startup to being a small group in a vast software development organization.


January 2014 - July 2015: Technical Advisor, responsible for helping the Wunderlist team ship software and, later, handling technical matters related to the acquisition of the company by Microsoft.

Professional Career Highlights

Apache Ant and Apache Tomcat

While at Sun Microsystems, Duncan wrote the first version of Apache Tomcat as a reference implementation for the Java Servlet API. To help ensure that as many developers used servlets as possible, he convinced Sun’s executive management to donate Tomcat to the Apache Software Foundation.

Apache Ant was the Java-based build tool that Duncan created to build Tomcat. It became the default build tool for Java projects for well over a decade.

Book Author

Over his career, Duncan has authored two titles and co-authored four other titles for O’Reilly Media, Pragmatic Bookshelf, and Pearson Education.


Starting at Sun Microsystems, Duncan has spoken at hundreds of events worldwide on technical topics to audiences as small as local user groups and as large as the JavaOne developer conference.

Other highlights

Throughout his career, Duncan has at times been a professional photographer. He was part of the team that defined the visual look for speaker photographs at TED Conferences.

For more information

See Duncan’s curriculum vitae for more information about his career path and accomplishments. His LinkedIn profile also contains another view into his career.