Point of View

Contributions of Michael Cannon

A thirty-year reflection of my contributions to business and technology


Good day, I’m Michael Cannon, a boundless Virgo water-rat, Drusus & Jace’s remote dad, for @Axelerant‘s success, of conscious choices and simple living by kindness through curiosity and reflection here in Taiwan and abroad.

I’m writing this document to demonstrate the varied organizational and technological contributions I’ve made over the past thirty years. I’ve been fortunate to learn from my mistakes and have success’ which positively impacts the lives of thousands. I’m looking forward to experiencing what’s possible through more leadership and self-development practices.

Career Highlights

  • Author of over 230 technology-related articles since 2009
  • Changed cultures, improved morale, united and empowered people
  • Consistently recognized for being enthusiastic, kind, and open with people
  • Made Axelerant a top place to work with 4.8/5.0 Glassdoor reviews
  • Manage a 90-plus person delivery and people operations team
  • Over 500 positive client referrals and testimonials
  • Presents leadership and lifestyle topics at multiple international conferences
  • Written software for over 50,000 websites
  • June 2008 Seacoast Ventures Entrepreneur
  • 2003, 2004 National Republican Congressional Committee Businessman of the Year

Social Credentials

What Matters Now

In February 2013, I joined Axelerant as it’s Chief People Officer. After nearly thirty years of being hands-on with technology, I wanted to make lives better for those around it.

One of the first things done was bring about clarity and fairness for what was expected of team members. Like, it’s okay to not wear clothes, but then you should keep the video camera off.

Past the clothing-optional humor, the real importance of what I do these days is simple; making feel people safe through meaningful conversations, feedback, and recognition. And to help them do the same for others.

Simple Standards

In my latest role as Chief Success Officer, I provide leadership development and strategic program execution, such as performance and career management. And, the challenge of these things is being consistent through standards that other people can understand and use.

A favorite recent standardization of mine, to unite people has been why, what, and how of the Axelerant Operating System. Rather than using terms of V2MOM, holacracy, etc., I’ve learned when crossing cultures, keep word-complexity minimized for greatest understanding.

Demonstrate Gratitude

While leading people, we also must tell their supporters thank you. And, I’ve demonstrated such through personalized videos for my peer’s family members and such.

Make Better, Faster Decisions by Good Conversations

In today’s business, the speed of a decision often matters more than its quality. That’s because many of the things we deal with now are reversible or changeable after the fact. Therefore, helping others make good quality decisions faster is critical.

This decision-making process is an excellent example of a collaborative conversation. We’ve gone from 15- to 12- and now 6-steps using technology enablers to keep a discussion flowing.

Generated Conversation

Sharing Because I Care

Though I’m not a coder anymore, much of what I do contributes back to Axelerant and the open-source community in the form of enablement and leadership practices.

DrupalCon Photography Team Guidelines

I helped the Drupal Association formalize the media capture of the community during conventions and other meetups. From one person to a team of a dozen, they came together to make others aware of how Drupal is more than code.

How to Avoid Firing People – People Management 102

How often do you think to fire someone or actually do because they’re not meeting expectations? What would it be like for you to focus more on the conversations that move you both forward?

Leadership, at its core, is about connecting with, directing, and inspiring people. Yet, getting started is often the hardest part. So whether you’re new or not to people management, we’ll share lessons learned to keep people engaged, no matter the team-size or location.

This session will help you better understand and motivate people through a reusable structure of recognition, conversations, and feedback towards their success and the organization’s advancement.

Let Customer Experience Define Your Business – FOSSASIA 2019

The long-term survival of your business depends upon what people feel about it. And, it’s an emotional connection that you do have control over. By taking greater consideration of how customers interact with your business and making that experience smarter, faster, or happier; you’re solidifying long-term gains, today.

Now, you’ve been successful to find a profitable market fit for your product and service. Yet, revenue growth has stalled and you’re trying to reach the next level. Through this session, you’ll learn how to step back from stalling and find a transformational path for your organization and its customers through a customer journey.

Open Source Photography – Article

You’ve got an event scheduled, but how are you going to capture its spirit to share? Especially when the event is larger than you’ve ever expected. And, how do you provide images that matter?

This workshop will provide you with a framework for planning event photography for yourself or a team of shooters. And, most importantly better understand the expectations of whom your shooting for.

Open Source Photography – Presentation – FOSSASIA 2016

Setting and Sustaining Culture – NUS Kopi Chat

Lessons learned from making organizational culture matter.

Successfully Leading Remote Teams – FOSSASIA 2016

Here’s how a globally distributed agency went from being mediocre to an industry leader by changing their mindset. From reacting to demands to proactive by questioning everyone and everything that took place in professional service operations for what really mattered.

Successfully Managing Distributed Teams – FOSSASIA 2015

When to Choose Drupal or WordPress – Tokyo 2016

Understand when which system capabilities matter for your top 10 or 1M website in choosing a content management system.

WordPress to Riches – FOSSASIA 2014

A practically given SaaS business model using WordPress.


I first started software development in 1984 while in school, by coding snake games before classes using Basic. In the early 1990s, through Pascal, I created simple card game applications. In the late 1990s, I built inventory control management systems and informational websites for the United States Air Force while serving as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Journeyman principally at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho and Osan Air Base, South Korea.


Upon returning to Seattle, Washington, United States in 1999, I attended Seattle University, a top-25 US engineering school to earn my bachelor of science in computer science degree with a business specialization.

An Open-Source Company

While studying at Seattle University, I started publicly releasing software I wrote through my first software development company, Cannon BOSE for the phpWebSite content management system. The choice to give away the software at first was for awareness purposes. Later on, it became the right thing to do.

Open-source software is a type of computer software in which source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. Open-source software may be developed in a collaborative public manner. Wikipedia

The majority of my phpWebSite contributions dealt with making content easier to be visually accessed or enabling people to connect with businesses directly for simplified communication.

Between 2003 and 2005, I started shifting much of my software development work specifically towards that to support media and publishing organizations through the second generation of content management platforms that could scale and provide experiences unlike any before.

  • Incorporated 6 major New Orleans radio and publications into web-based content management systems, covering more than 15 domains.
  • Development of a full life-cycle online leasing management program.
  • Moved timeclock and project costing online for distributed development team tracking.
  • Automated tax schedule creation from multiple income and cost resources to save $250,000 USD a quarter in taxes.
  • Improved data mining techniques for customer support to identify fraud and how to prevent terms of services violations.
  • Centralized company financial transactions allowing client and market segments to be identified and targeted quickly.
  • Integrated ms_survey system based user registration questions with sr_feuser_register at Allows admins to easily add, edit, or delete registration questions without changing templates.
  • Created news_lead extension of tt_news providing reporting of user downloads for files assoicated with news.
  • Created news_event_register extension to allow tt_news to be used as a event display, registration, and reporting system.
  • Bid, built, and delivered in less than 4 weeks the heavily customized Typo3 implementation for Business Process Management Institute.

By August 2005, software written through Cannonbose, was in use by over a thousand systems.

By the end of 2007, I lead Cannonbose into the web development shift of partnerships because applications were becoming increasingly difficult to deploy due to greater amounts of system complexity and scale involved. Additionally, formal code and monetary contributions to open-source software organizations became a regular occurrence like.

  • TYPO3 Content Management System
  • SugarCRM (Customer Relationship Management)
  • Geodesic Auction and Classified Systems

In May 2008, I was spotlighted through Seacoast Ventures Entrepreneur Watch as President of Cannonbose.

Later in 2008, Cannonbose and two other companies merged into Acqal to improve the overall customer experience of website development and usage, by recognizing that design choices mattered.

Writing Down My Experiences

Further, from late 2006 until mid-2010 over a hundred articles about website development and user experience choices were written as a means to help other people make their systems more usable and maintainable. Like, localization, contact forms, security, etc.

2010-2012 Failure, then Focus

In January 2010, I resigned as president of Acqal to live a quieter life in Taiwan. Eventually, the opportunity came up which allowed me to become the Chief Operating Officer of Srijan in Delhi, India. My role was to merge another company, Axelerant, into Srijan. I succeeding in bringing the companies together while I learned the hard way that culture matters. 

In December 2010, I recognized that I wasn’t ready for such a leadership position and went back to freelancing for a few years in the WordPress space, while still publishing content to help others get more out of their life and development needs.

In the span of two years, over another 100 articles, presentations, and videos contributing back to the TYPO3 and WordPress communities were crafted.

Testimonials Widget

Starting in August 2011, I began writing a WordPress plugin, called Testimonials Widget. In effect, it allowed people to share the good things said about them or their organization freely, on their WordPress website.

At its highest point, Testimonials Widget was in use on over 60,000 websites, backed by complimentary support and had premium options. Further, it remains consistently, one of the top plugins of its type.

Other WordPress Plugins

I’ve authored many other WordPress plugins over the years, but frankly, more have been archived that remain current.

In fact, I’ve open-source over forty software packages to the media and publishing industry within a decade of effort.

And now we at the time that matters, that of my being at Axelerant.

By Michael Cannon

Boundless Virgo water-rat, Drusus & Jace's nearby dad, for @Axelerant's success, of conscious choices & simple living by kindness through curiosity & reflection

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