Rich Howard

Rich Howard

Founder & CEO


Split between Atlanta, Georgia and San Francisco, California


Having moved from London to San Francisco, Rich founded Optimal in 2015 after a more than 20 year career in web development. In that time, he developed a particular interest in performance and user experience, working with brands like Sephora, Vodafone, and Williams-Sonoma.

Rich now shapes Optimal’s company vision and culture, bolstered by the recruitment of highly collaborative performance pros from around the world. Besides designing our service offering and mentoring Optimal’s whip-smart team of performance experts, Rich provides thought leadership to a diverse client base to help them supercharge their businesses.

A passion for performance runs deep with Rich. He started out in a usability team building UI prototypes, then spent more than 10 years as a web developer and architect working in full-stack web development, infrastructure, and content delivery networks. Most recently, he was Senior Architect in Vodafone’s Global Channels Optimization team, responsible for web performance and experience for 625 million customers worldwide.

Rich has traveled to over 30 countries. He’s lived in the UK, US, and Thailand—where he became a lifelong student of the Thai language. This international influence further shows up in his advocacy of Kaizen, a Japanese business philosophy that maintains there’s always room for continuous, incremental improvement across all functions.

Watch Rich in action at conferences like Akamai Edge World and MeasureCamp , where he speaks in-depth about the latest performance topics.


B.S. (Hons) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences, University of Sussex

Publications and online articles:

  1. The Best in Performance Interview Series - Featuring Rich Howard
  2. 10 Steps to Prepare Your Website for High-Load Days: Are You Ready for Black Friday?
  3. World’s Top Web Performance Leaders to Watch
  4. Fast Websites in China - Optimizing Delivery for Great Experiences
  5. 6 Essential Tools and Strategies for Integrating Performance Testing into the CI/CD Process (Video)

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Fascinated by all things Japanese since childhood, Rich has a deep respect for Japan’s culture, design, architecture, food, and customs—a visit to the country is firmly in his sights.

Last supper guest list (dead or alive):

  1. Bill Gates
  2. Elon Musk
  3. Randy Pausch
  4. Wayne Dyer
  5. Ajarn Chah
  6. The Dalai Lama

Follow Rich on:

Linkedin and Twitter