Simon Willison

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Simon Willison
Willison in 2008
BornJanuary 1981 (age 42)
Alma materUniversity of Bath (B.Sc. Computer Science, 2005)
Occupation(s)web developer, entrepreneur
Known forDjango Web framework, Lanyrd

Simon Willison is a British programmer, co-founder of the social conference directory Lanyrd, and co-creator of the Django Web framework.


Simon started his professional web development in 2000 as a web master and developer for the UK based website Gameplay, where he was instrumental in creating File Monster, a large games related file download site. In 2001 he left to attend the University of Bath. Whilst studying, he worked part-time for Incutio where he developed the Incutio XML-RPC Library, a popular XML-RPC library for PHP (used in WordPress and Drupal).[1] During this time Simon started his web development blog. In developing the software for his blog, Simon built one of the first implementations of pingback.[2] Through his blog he was an early adopter and evangelist of OpenID.

In 2003–2004, whilst working at the Lawrence Journal-World[3] during an industrial placement year, he and other web developers (Adrian Holovaty, Jacob Kaplan-Moss and Wilson Miner[4]) created Django, an open source web application framework for Python.

After graduating in 2005, Simon worked on Yahoo!'s Technology Development team and on very early versions of the Fire Eagle Internet geolocation service. After Yahoo! he worked as a consultant on OpenID and web development in various publishing and media companies. Willison was hired in 2008 by the UK newspaper The Guardian to work as a software architect.[5]

In late 2010, he launched the social conference directory Lanyrd with his wife and co-founder, Natalie Downe.[6] They received funding from Y Combinator in early 2011.[7] In 2013, Lanyrd was acquired by Eventbrite[8] with Simon and Natalie joining the Eventbrite engineering team in San Francisco.


  1. ^ The Incutio XML-RPC Library for PHP
  2. ^ "Pingback 0.9". hixie.ln. 1 December 2002. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Ten questions for Simon Willison". 1 June 2004. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Django committers". Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Simon Willison joins Guardian News & Media". 22 August 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2011. Former Yahoo and Lawrence Journal World developer Simon Willison has been recruited by Guardian News & Media as a software architect, it was announced today.
  6. ^ "Lanyrd FAQ page". Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Lanyrd announces YC funding". Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  8. ^ "Eventbrite acquires Lanyrd and Eventioz to speed up its global expansion and aid event discovery". 3 September 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2014.

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