Management Team

Chris Tolles Co-founder & CEO

Chris Tolles is the CEO and co-founder of Topix. Chris has co-founded three companies: Topix, NewHoo (now the Open Directory Project within AOL) and Spoke Software. Chris also ran product development at Aol music and Netscape Search (the largest part of Netscape's business after its acquisition by AOL).

Previous to starting NewHoo and joining Netscape/AOL, Chris was an executive at Sun Microsystems and ran marketing for Sun's security products group . Chris holds two social networking technology patents and has been a speaker and industry expert in news, online local, cryptography, Internet search & network security.

Chris has a degrees in Economics and Computer Science from UCSD and the Michael Addison Award winner for his honors thesis.

Steve Rubinstein COO

Steve provides to Topix an engineering background in both shrink-wrapped and Internet software. Just prior to working at Topix, Steve was a development director at EA helping to deliver Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 on multiple gaming platforms.

Before that, he held a variety of roles at Netscape/America Online which included several years working on the Netscape website, Netscape browser and lastly as Technical Director for AOL Shopping. Before that, he spent several years at Apple Computer as an engineer developing a cross-platform printing engine for FileMaker Pro.

It was around this time that he invested in a small restaurant in Yountville called the French Laundry. He started his career at a small startup which later sold the marketing rights for its product to IBM. Steve has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University.

Mike Sawka VP Engineering

Mike architected the forums and engagement platform here at Topix prior to being promoted to VP of Engineering and has been a critical part of Topix since his joining in 2005. Responsible for all of backend architecture. Minimal downtime utilizing NoSQL model of redundant in-memory data, no traditional databases.

Experience implementing at every level of our technology stack from HTML/CSS/JS to Apache/perl to low level system work. Experience with all aspects of publisher ad serving, including implementing and evaluating ad networks, trafficking, and analytics.

Prior to Topix, Mike was the architect at Spoke Software, the first VC funded social network, and a key early hire. Mike was a developer at Siebel before joining Spoke. Mike holds a BS with honors in Computer Science from Stanford where he was the Terman award winner.

Laurie Hironaka VP Sales

Laurie Hironaka is our Vice President of Sales at Since joining Topix in 2007, she has built a national sales team focused on the country's leading, blue-chip digital advertisers and their agencies.

Laurie came to Topix from The Economist where she opened that global business/news magazine's first publishing office in San Francisco. Within six years, her office had become the single most productive revenue generating territory for The Economist, worldwide.

Also, Laurie was elected sole U.S. representative to the International Advertising Association (IAA), a two-year term of office expired in 2008 and served as president of the IAA's Bay Area chapter and on the board of directors for the IAA and the Bay Area Relief Committee.