John-Paul May, Developer in Madison, AL, United States

John-Paul May

Social Media Apps Developer

Madison, AL, United States
Toptal Member Since
January 12, 2017

John-Paul is a leader in the most complex iOS, technical 3D, real time, and product engineering. With broad and deep social, financial, and gaming experience, he's often called on to solve complex problems. He's created many huge successes and industry firsts for clients.

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iOS, Swift, SwiftUI, Model View Viewmodel (MVVM), AWS Amplify
iOS, Android, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Firebase, Architecture, Social APIs...


Social Media Apps - 15 yearsRealtime - 15 yearsGame Technology Development - 15 yearsApps - 15 yearsProduct Management - 15 yearsiOS - 15 yearsArchitecture - 10 yearsUnity3D - 10 years


Madison, AL, United States



Preferred Environment

Unity, iOS, Android

The most amazing...

...of my many successes, Fingercoaster is an enormous money maker, and the most complex existing VR/AR system.

Work Experience

2021 - 2021

Senior Engineer and Architect
  • Addressed performance and latency times on the whole stack as the senior engineer with this huge user-base commercial app.
  • Worked with the bitwise/GitLab production stack in the typical scrum process.
Technologies: iOS, Swift, SwiftUI, Model View Viewmodel (MVVM), AWS Amplify
2021 - 2021

Senior Architect

Discovery Channel | Globant
  • Served as a senior team architect for the app and systems for this major media provider.
  • Focused on time to market with the alpha app, resolving ongoing issues.
  • Managed the team under the CTO, resolving more complex large-project issues, particularly automated testing and custom automation.
Technologies: Roku, Node.js
2021 - 2021

Product Lead | iOS and Android

  • Architected and developed the upcoming launch of version 2 of these highly commercially successful apps.
  • Engineered the fully native Android and fully native iOS versions of these apps which combine social media and camera/image manipulation tech; engineered the complex AWS/Node.js real-time cloud-side.
  • Included Shaders, extensive use of camera technology, and typical real-time scaled social media type feed and features.
Technologies: iOS, Android, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Firebase, Architecture, Social APIs, Realtime, Database Design
2020 - 2021

Product Lead

  • Engineered an extremely complex multi-user game-like business training platform fully incorporating highly novel Zoom-like video talk integration for participants for a long-established business training company.
  • Executed perhaps the most complex existing Agora video chat application, with highly dynamic rooms, and user transport working closely with Agora.
  • Executed the very detailed real-time desktop apps from networking to gameplay layers, architecture to engineering.
  • Engineered the scratch-built real-time multiuser game server (AWS, Node, Sockets, MySQL, Express). Engineered the complex real-time telemetry WWW admin side, including the dynamic reach-in control of all online apps in real-time.
  • Sourced, hired, and managed technical specialists. Entirely developed the testing regime and created the test department. Sourced, hired, and managed a large real-time multiuser test team. Discovered, hired, and managed the test lead.
Technologies: Game Development, Realtime, Node.js, Agora
2020 - 2020

iOS Research Engineer

W.L. Gore Research Division
  • Worked with the materials science research team, engineered the low-level bench app for their needs.
  • Used the Greenfield approach to this fascinating small project in the materials science field.
  • Worked on total project from architecture to basic idea discovery to daily project explorations.
Technologies: Videos, Low-level Programming, iOS, Swift
2019 - 2020

iOS Social Media Project Lead

  • Served as the iOS/product lead for, a major, highly novel, audio-oriented social media startup.
  • Executed extremely interactive, real-time, "perfectionist" apps.
  • Invented and executed a number of key gamification and highly novel social features and other key IP.
  • Engineered various cloud-side services, such as a real-time audio generation service (AWS/Node.js/Express.js/SQL).
Technologies: Swift, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, API Development, Networks, Architecture, In-app Purchases, Product Engineering, Database Design, Realtime, Game Technology Development, Product Management, User Experience (UX), iOS
2018 - 2019

Lead Unity | iOS Researcher

A Major Media Group
  • Worked directly with the cutting-edge science group of the major global media and content company.
  • Led this breakthrough 3D/networking project on the Unity/iOS side.
  • Utilized my in-depth knowledge of video streaming, low-level iOS, mesh generation, shader engineering, technical Unity, Metal/OpenGL, streaming, HLS, low-level plugins to rendering engines, VR/AR, and the rendering pipeline.
Technologies: C#, Swift, Networks, HTC Vive, Games, Virtual Reality (VR), Realtime, Game Technology Development, Product Management, Unity3D, Streaming, Low-level Programming, 3D, iOS, Unity
2013 - 2019

Product Lead | Head of Research

  • Created hugely successful, technically novel attraction products which are the core of Smaaash's sports-oriented urban theme parks.
  • Developed attractions for the world's biggest sports figures such as Ronaldo and Sachin Tendulkar.
  • Invented and engineered the single highest money-making VR product in existence—the Fingercoaster.
  • Led research in bleeding-edge generative mesh, the most novel VR realtime rendering, real-time multiuser XR, motion control machinery.
  • "Imagineered" with a broad range of mesh-level generative systems, robotics, image processing, sensors, stadium apps, motion capture, animation, and filmmaking.
  • Led projects that resulted in spectacular ticket sales, installation sales, and investments key to the organization's global expansion.
  • Staffed and managed leading figures in technical fields, 3D and 2D art departments, and tech lead on major theme park openings globally. Oversaw new factory lines.
Technologies: AWS Mobile Hub, C#, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, API Development, Networks, Architecture, Product Engineering, HTC Vive, Game Design, Database Design, Games, Virtual Reality (VR), Realtime, Game Technology Development, Product Management, Unity3D, Game Engine Programming, Robotics
2017 - 2018

Product Lead | CTO
  • Led programming, staffing, and research for this novel video-oriented social media project for a California VC team.
  • Achieved the game-like, physics-based interface of the project in native low-level iOS, Android.
  • Crafted the top-to-bottom architecture, built a five-person team, and engineering for this video-focused social media startup.
  • Implemented the security and engineering of an in-house USD-based app currency system (AWS, Node.js, SQL).
  • Handled many typical systems of a modern social project—provisioning, messaging, third-party testing companies, Algolia, a Neo-4J based data science team, and so on.
Technologies: AWS Mobile Hub, C#, Swift, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, API Development, Networks, Architecture, Product Engineering, Database Design, Realtime, Product Management, Unity3D, Animation, Physics, BaaS, Cloud, Data Science, Currency Exchange, iOS
2016 - 2017

Cloud Engineer | iOS Engineer

Service Fusion
  • Implemented the in-house real-time device-cloud system for this mapping and scheduling-oriented, high-volume, white-label app system. Included a custom CFRD-like system on AWS.
  • Engineered the real-time iOS libraries and apps—emphasis on threading, instantaneous response, performance programming, detailed UX, for this mapping, calendar, and scheduling oriented app system.
  • Wrangled all day-to-day app/server issues such as tracking, testing, provisioning, app store, transactions, social, analytics, and pipeline.
Technologies: Swift, Apps, MySQL, Networks, Architecture, Database Design, Realtime, SQL, Android, iOS, Mapping
2012 - 2016

Game Lead

Defy Media (Viacom), LA
  • Created the enormously financially successful, hit celebrity game for kids: Super Head Esploder X, for the top YouTube celebrities of the day. One of the fastest ever apps to the top ten.
  • Invented highly successful additional "minor" features. For example, a crowdfunding campaign which generated $258,000 in a few weeks, and an in-app-purchase idea which cost $3,000 to produce and which generated low six figures in two weekends.
  • Organized the app and cloud architecture for the social features of the huge user base.
  • Helped streamline multiplayer networking and in-app-purchase systems for the corporation's stable of game development.
Technologies: C#, Swift, Apps, Social APIs, Architecture, In-app Purchases, Product Engineering, Game Design, Games, Realtime, Game Technology Development, Unity3D, Google Play Store, Unity, App Store
2009 - 2016


SMHK, Ltd.
  • Engineered for many brands with major successes for 15+ years with clients based in the US, Europe, and Asia.
  • Focused only on high-value technical challenges. For example, secure transaction projects, "maker" technology for games, and mesh generation research.
Technologies: AWS Mobile Hub, C#, Swift, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, Networks, Architecture, Product Engineering, Game Design, Database Design, Games, Virtual Reality (VR), Realtime, Game Technology Development, Product Management, Cloud, iOS
2005 - 2016

Cloud Architect | App Engineer

Sourcetop, NY
  • Handled all the app engineering for this 20-person East Coast web development team.
  • Worked with clients like BRANY for a major pharmaceutical company and a streaming reviews startup for Android and iOS.
Technologies: Swift, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, Unity3D, Firebase, PubNub, Cloud, Android, iOS
2009 - 2015

App Engineer

360Design, NY
  • Handled all app engineering for this quality downtown design studio.
  • Worked on projects such as the Metrie AR catalog app; a Tylko-like AR furniture app.
Technologies: Swift, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, Cloud, Android, iOS
2011 - 2012

CTO | Lead Programmer

de Clermont-Tonnerre, Belgium
  • Created, in a few months, a social dot-com for a European startup associated with high-profile investors.
  • Worked on iOS and Android engineering, architecture, and staffing.
  • Developed a novel prototyping framework which slashed costs.
Technologies: C#, Swift, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, Architecture, Product Engineering, Database Design, Realtime, Product Management, BaaS, iOS, Android
1997 - 2009

CTO, Online Transactions and Gaming

InterSoftware Ltd, HK
  • Created one of the first in-browser software sets for online casinos. Highly successful for a number of gaming properties in Asia and Europe with a number of six-figure sales.
  • Built the PSB server for online blackjack and poker, an early server (C++) for real-time, secure, multiplayer, card-gaming. Three installations with some 20 million hands played and were bought out.
  • Operated a successful white-label prepaid debit card company. it provided software services for a number of card companies in Canada and Europe.
  • Developed software services for a number of digital currencies such as bank card interoperability and secure provisioning.
Technologies: AWS Mobile Hub, C#, Swift, Apps, MySQL, API Development, Networks, Architecture, Game Design, Database Design, Games, Realtime, Game Technology Development, Product Management, Unity3D, Gaming, Financials


LearningDesignNetwork Unity Remote Training Platform

I completely led this major remote business training product startup. Architecture, systems design, and programming of both the Unity desktop apps and the entire real-time networking system (an AWS, Node.js stack) makes this one of the most novel and complex Unity/Agora projects extant.


I created Fingercoaster for Smaaash Entertainment, Asia—by far the world's most successful VR ride.

It's the most complex existing VR product. A rack of PCs builds worlds in real-time, driving novel VR-motion-platform software and hardware. Riders "draw their own world" on kiosks and then pay to ride a multi-user, VR-motion experience.

A huge industry hit, it immediately achieved seven figures in machine sales. It is by far the highest ticket sales VR attraction. It often outsells competitors (such as Cruden, Simuline, etc.) by 10-to-1 in side-by-side sites.


For Star Sports Asia and for the world's biggest sports brand, Ronaldo, I created a number of complex Unity-based installations and simulators.

Super Head-Esploder X for Viacom
One of the fastest ever hits to the top ten. A perfectly executed kid's game for the world's number one YouTube celebrities. Particular focus on perfectly handling in-app purchases at this enormous financial volume level.

Celebrity apps are a difficult field: the direct competitor's app which was created in response completely failed.

Just the "whacky" promotional video for Head Esploder had some 13 million views—it is by far the most successful promo video ever for a digital product for that organization.

We made the smash indie hit PadRacer at the time of the launch of the iPad. It made mid-six-figure sales in a couple of months.

It was the first phone-to-pad networking game. An excellent example of generating indie sales by being the first with new technology.

It received much coverage from Mashable, Wired, and conventional news outlets worldwide. It is an excellent example of combining a gimmick with a difficult new technology.


I created the first good finger-to-mesh system. Starting with a line drawing, it creates a 3D mesh and other assets needed for racetracks for car-racing games. The tool set was sold to a number of studios—an example of financial success by executing a technology first.

ProtocolBuilder and Other Dot-coms
I built for the pharma industry. Other typical app-cloud projects include (web architecture, apps, staffing), (AR-catalog apps), Skywall (a European social startup)



Objective-C, Swift, C#, Swift 5, JavaScript, SQL


Unity, .NET, Core Data, Unity3D, Realtime, UIKit, SwiftUI


Core Animation, Sockets, API Development, Social APIs, CocoaPods, PubNub, Node.js, AWS Amplify


Agora, Xcode, AWS Mobile Hub, Git, GitHub


Database Design, Data Science, Model View Viewmodel (MVVM)


iOS, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Firebase, Android, Amazon Web Services (AWS)




Freelancing, In-app Purchases, Product Engineering, Gaming, Physics, 3D, Streaming, Apps, Social Media Apps, A/V Coding, AR Foundation, Augmented Reality (AR), APIs, Transactions, Mesh Development, Architecture, Networks, Game Technology Development, BaaS, Product Management, Games, Virtual Reality (VR), HTC Vive, Google Play Store, Game Design, Mobile UI, Mobile UX, Software Architecture, Roku, WebSockets, eCommerce, Mobile Architecture, 3D Math, Cloud, App Store, Game Engine Programming, Financials, Currency Exchange, Animation, Low-level Programming, Game Development, Videos, Mapping, Mechanical Engineering, Image Analytics, Robotics

Industry Expertise