Learn how a data science executive thinks about building scalable data systems at startups.
Startup Veteran. Leader. CTO. Principal Engineer.
Hi, Startup Founder! It's great to meet you. Words are cheap, so here's what I've done at 30,000 feet:
Ex-Tranzito - I managed technology for a 30MM government program.
Ex-Preset - I worked in open source and brought a complicated product to market.
Ex-Entelo - I cut their AWS bill by 50% (500k/yr) and took their build time from 20 minutes to 4.
Ex-Change.org - I operated on a huge scale and rearchitected their email infrastructure.
Ex-Sqwiggle - I built a competitor to Zoom and Slack.
I built the MVP of Rentalutions (later renamed to Avail and sold to Realtor.com)
I'm located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Let's build something great together!
Athlete to Athlete was founded in 2023 in response to a rule change for Division 1 Athletes, allowing them to make money for the first time. The founders created an agency to match Division 1 Athletes with students as mentors. After raising funding, the non-technical founders were not sure how to move forward with building their platform. As a consultant, I gathered requirements with the founders, performed market research, and paired them with multiple platform vendors who could meet their needs. The total time of engagement was two weeks. The founders estimated that I saved them six months of time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in platform costs.
STAP is a world-class, self-sustaining program that provides shelter, shade, safety, and comfort with amenities that support increased use of transit and alternative transportation and the shared use of City sidewalks.
As the CTO of Tranzito, I led all aspects of hardware and software development to support creating a new type of bus stop for Los Angeles. The program was developed utilizing off-the-shelf hardware and innovative platform integrations to drastically reduce the cost of ownership for smart hardware on the streets of LA over the next 20 years.
Change.org had a problem - they were leveraging Salesforce to send all their email. As a platform, they had 32MM monthly active users, so all the emails were billions of messages in 18 different languages. Salesforce decided to crank up the price to something Change.org couldn't afford, so they pulled 3 of their best technical leads from other tasks and put us on the project. Rob and John were absolute dream collaborators, and we crushed it.
After requirements gathering, we built a distributed system in Elixir to handle delivery and metrics capture. The system scaled successfully, and Salesforce was kicked to the curb. According to my back-of-the-napkin math, the system saved Change.org approximately $4MM/year.
As an independent consultant in 2012, I built the MVP of Rentalutions.com. After MVP development, the company raised funding, and I helped them hire their first CTO. Rentalutions was renamed to Avail a few years later. The company was purchased by Realtor.com in 2022.
Chief Technology Officer / Principal Software Engineer
Sep 2021 - Nov 2023
Tranzito helps public agencies integrate new mobility into their smart city's future. Our open-ecosystem approach seamlessly integrates the best partners and technologies to offer a customized solution.
- Led hardware and software development for a $30MM LA City program to deploy thousands of new bus stops over the next 3-5 years.
Senior Engineering Manager / Staff Software Engineer
Sep 2019 - Aug 2021
Open, cost-effective business intelligence for modern teams making self-serve analytics faster, easier, and more approachable for every user in your organization. Leveraging Apache Superset.
- Managed, led, and grew a Feature Team from 3 Engineers to 7 Engineers across 3 timezones from US Pacific to EU West.
- Led the launch of Preset's Private Beta program.
- Led the development of Alerts and Reports in Superset, Preset's most-requested feature during our Private Beta.
Staff Software Engineer
Mar 2019 - Aug 2019
Entelo provides true source-to-hire automation technology alongside best-in-class managed services for a platform that actually focuses on results, not just AI. Welcome to the era of agile recruitment – driven by humans, to hire more humans (sorry robots).
- Led a project involving the whole Engineering team that cut total AWS spend by 50% over the course of 2 months.
- Cut build times for the organization on their Rails monolith in CI from 20 minutes to 4 minutes.
Engineering Manager | Senior Software Engineer
Feb 2016 - Dec 2018
The world’s platform for change. On Change.org, people everywhere start campaigns, mobilize supporters, and work with decision-makers to drive solutions.
- Co-architected a high-volume distributed messaging system in Elixir for the comms platform, replacing Salesforce and saving the company approximately $4MM yearly
- Created a system to allow zero-downtime migrations of large MySQL tables, significantly increasing stability and uptime.
- Led multiple full-stack feature teams.
Apr 2014 - Dec 2015
A direct competitor to Slack and Zoom, Sqwiggle raised a round of Angel funding but failed to gain market traction. When the lockdowns of 2020 came along, the founders and I had a collective <bang head on desk> moment. At least we can laugh about it!
- Implemented systems allowing Sqwiggle to move from a peer-to-peer WebRTC connection to leveraging geo-aware video MCU systems, removing low participant limits on the platforms.
- Acted as the primary Operations Engineer for both platforms, supporting both application programs and Video MCU systems in AWS.
- Acted as first-line support for the product, handling customer issues directly and conversing directly with clients and prospects.
B.Mus. in Cello Performance
Sep 2003 - Dec 2006
I graduated from the Peabody Institute of Music with a performance degree in classical cello. I studied with Alan Stepansky, former Principal Cellist of the New York Philharmonic, and studied Chamber Music with a variety of amazing artists. While I no longer work as a musician, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything!
- I performed in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall with the Peabody Conservatory Symphony Orchestra.
- I performed in a Broadway musical premier with a professional pit orchestra.
- By my senior year, I was matched in chamber music groups with Doctorate-level students.
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