The Gist

I am a product and engineering leader with a focused experimentation and conversion optimization background and a taste for analytics-driven MVP delivery. I'm the UI and Experimentation Engineering Lead at VividSeats, both leading the architectural efforts and managing the team tasked with evolving the web front-end and experimentation platforms at the company.

I'm the founder of Shortwave - the first adaptive podcast hosting, syndication, analytics, and dynamic content stitching platform. Most recently, I've launched Podcast Campfire - a news, discussion, and jobs board for the podcasting industry.

I've led technology at small companies, most recently as Chief Technology Officer at Direct by Vaystays, an operations, customer experience, and distribution software platform for professional vacation rental management companies.

I have also led engineering efforts within optimization and experimentation at much larger companies, some being Raise Marketplace, Expedia Inc., and Orbitz Worldwide. The teams I have built and I are responsible for creating both the framework for, and the mindset around lightweight A/B experimentation within these companies' eCommerce experiences. I have a proven record of building A/B testing development practices from the ground up, focusing on experimenting and optimizing across all product verticals while simultaneously accelerating and training specific product teams to do the same.

I’m also the author of Building Responsive Data Visualization for the Web, a book on the processes of building code-driven data visualization upon the principles of responsive and API-first web design.

In summer 2018, I started Martini Limited alongside other experienced engineering leads in the Chicago area. We are an engineering management consultancy that specializes in aiding investors in and leaders of early stage companies to shape their technologies and best align their product development processes for measurabnle success.

I fly to different cities as often as I can to talk about the future of web development, data visualization, and cross-platform design.

Experience

  • Founder

    August 2017 — Present

    Shortwave
    Chicago, IL

    In late summer 2017, I founded Shortwave, a podcast hosting, syndication, analytics, and dynamic content stitching platform built to empower creative individuals create shows with adaptive content. As the founder, I am responsible for:

    • Designing and building the entire Shortwave platform from scratch.
    • Developing a consistent and performant deployment pipeline and error monitoring dashboard.
    • Defining both the short term and long-term product roadmap, and how to best validate it via MVP delivery, user interviews, or experimentation.
    • Building all integrations with audio transcoding services, billing services, asset servers, and content syndication platforms.
    • Working internally and with outside individuals to develop marketing materials.
    • Build in-person, CPC, and content marketing campaigns to share Shortwave.
    • Solicit customer feedback and regularly react to new needs within the marketplace.
  • UI and Experimentation Engineering Lead

    August 2017 — Present

    VividSeats
    Chicago, IL

    UI and Experimentation Engineering Lead at VividSeats. I am responsible for architecting the experimentation practice and framework within Vivid Seats' web and app products, and for both leading the efforts around, and managing the engineering team responsible for evolving our customer-facing marketplace. I am responsible for:

    • Architecting a no-downtime cross-platform experimentation service for use by all of our customer-facing websites and apps.
    • Developing testing and data strategy alongside our analytics and product teams.
    • Building analytics platform for benchmarking of marketplace health and product success.
    • Management and career growth for our web middleware and UI engineering team.
    • Building both long and short term strategy for a UI framework at VividSeats.
    • Aligning technical goals of the UI engineering working group with the product roadmap for our web team.
    • Prioritization and parallelization of ongoing product and technical enhancements.
    • Creation of a maintainable and experiment-driven design system for reuse throughout VividSeats, alongside our UX team.
  • Chief Technology Officer

    January 2017 — September 2017

    Vaystays
    Chicago, IL

    Chief Technology Officer at Direct by Vaystays, an operations, customer experience, and distribution software platform for professional vacation rental management companies. I am responsible for the strategic planning, product vision, execution, engineering architecture, and analytics surrounding product development of both Direct, and the Vaystays Marketplace. Some of these responsibilities are:

    • Architecting a scalable multi-tenant system to support ecommerce by hundreds of property management companies.
    • Managing, attracting, and mentoring a high-performing team, while simultaneously creating silo-ed work for staff augmentation.
    • Regularly pitching to and communicating with investors and consultants, distilling technical information into understandable, meaningful conversations.
    • Building long and short term budgets for engineering needs, architecture upgrades, and scaling cloud storage and computing.
    • Developing cohesive roadmap for feature development teams.
    • Building analytics platform for benchmarking of marketplace health and product success.
    • Prioritization and parallelization of ongoing product and backend enhancements.
    • Creation of a maintainable design system for reuse throughout Vaystays marketplace.
  • VP of Product

    August 2016 — September 2017

    Vaystays
    Chicago, IL

    Vice President of Product at Vaystays, a market-network for professionally managed vacation rentals. I am responsible for the strategic planning, product vision, execution, and analytics surrounding product development of the growing Vaystays marketplace. Some of these responsibilities are:

    • Developing cohesive roadmap for feature development teams.
    • Building analytics platform for benchmarking of marketplace health and product success.
    • Establishing experimentation practice within product enhancement development.
    • Prioritization and parallelization of ongoing product and backend enhancements.
    • Creation of a maintainable design system for reuse throughout Vaystays marketplace.
  • Optimization and Experimentation Engineering Lead

    April 2016 — August 2016

    Raise Marketplace
    Chicago, IL

    Lead engineering role creating the optimization framework and practice at Raise Marketplace. I am responsible for architecting an A/B testing framework supporting the Raise Marketplace web and app experiences. This framework includes:

    • Experiment qualification and segmentation logic.
    • User data capture and analytics platform.
    • Configuration tool for modifying and rolling out experiments.
    • Injection of lightweight experiment code into the greater Raise Marketplace web application.

    In addition to this framework, I am the engineering organization's evangelist and instructor for lightweight and meaningful A/B and MVT experimentation practices, coaching development teams within the organization on proper experimentation practice.

  • Engineering Manager in Air Experience Site Optimization

    November 2015 — April 2016

    Expedia Inc.
    Chicago, IL

    Manager for site optimization and experimentation team within Expedia's air vertical. Our team is responsible for running lightweight, user-focused experiments within the air shopping and flight information sections of the path. I manage a nimble team that builds and executes on experiments as quickly as possible.

    Outside of the team, I have continued to grow the experimentation practice at Expedia by taking lessons learned from my previous role, and applying them to the following:

    • Removing technical barriers to more lightweight and client-side experimentation efforts.
    • Building a standardized way to envision, define, and develop experiments to reduce collision and interaction on high-visibility features.
    • Improving on analytics in a responsive web framework, moving toward screen sizes and user contexts, rather than device categories.
  • Senior Site Optimization UI Engineer

    September 2014 — November 2015

    Orbitz Worldwide
    Chicago, IL

    Lead technology role within the site optimization group at Orbitz. As the team and practice of site experimentation has grown at the company, I have continued to develop a suite of lightweight client-side experiments, but have also taken on mentorship of more junior on-team engineers, and the technical training of front-end engineers across the organization. I have also taken ownership over advancing our client-side experimentation framework and monitoring capabilities.

    Technical initiatives that I have led in this role include:

    • Building an internal client-side experimentation framework in order to eliminate the reliance on third-party tools.
    • Developing a templating system to reduce overlap in experiments and allow quality engineers insight into conflicting experiences.
    • Creating an eventing system to group and reduce calls to third-party tracking systems.
    • Scaling our client-side development practice through workshops and guided lessons in order to accelerate the testing practice of individual feature teams.
  • Site Optimization UI Engineer

    March 2014 — September 2014

    Orbitz Worldwide
    Chicago, IL

    Technology resource for the site testing acceleration team. This is a product-agnostic team focused on rapid experience-driven experiments and optimizations of the Orbitz shopping and booking path. Responsibilities were to ideate, design, develop, and analyze a suite of client-side and server-side multivariate tests across the Orbitz Worldwide platform while building a maintainable way to grow the scale of experimentation within the organization.

  • UI Engineer in Hotel Group

    June 2012 — March 2014

    Orbitz Worldwide
    Chicago, IL

    Front-end development role within the hotel group at Orbitz Worldwide. I was responsible for standards-based UI development, design input, and framework evolution on our then-fresh responsive design efforts. Larger projects included AJAX hotel neighborhood comparison, mobile-first hotel search results, responsive property details, and internationalized landing page real-time pricing modules.

  • Assistant Program Director

    March 2011 — March 2012

    WPGU 107.1FM
    Champaign, IL

    Director of on-air talent at WPGU - managed a staff of ~30 individuals as in-studio DJs, event hosts, and ad producers. I was responsible for talent acquisition, training, and growth, along with budget management, brand development, and regular presentations to both the sales team and executive board.

  • On-air Talent

    September 2009 — May 2012

    WPGU 107.1FM
    Champaign, IL

    Radio host and disc jockey for a commercial radio station owned and operated by Illini Media. Was responsible for programming, ad trafficking, interviews, producing on-air content, and hosting live events.

Education

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

August 2008 — May 2012

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL

Computer Science undergraduate degree with a specialization in human-computer interaction and user interface design. Additional coursework in advertising and creative writing. Dean's list student, and inductee into both the Chancellor's Honors Scholar and James Scholar programs.

Studied abroad in India through a joint engineering, industrial design, and MBA program focused on building sustainable products and businesses within subsistence marketplaces.

Publications

Building Responsive Data Visualization for the Web

Published November 9, 2015

After speaking at the Data Visualization Summit in fall of 2014, I was approached by an editor from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. to create a book on the same topic as my talk: responsive data visualization.

The book is separated into two parts: The first details the growth of responsive techniques in solving for the multi-device web, applying real-world examples. The second grows these techniques, and in introducing clean visualization design, applies them to building responsive, platform-agnostic data visualizations.

Presentations

  • Actionable Interfaces

    First presented April 2016

    Mobile Innovation Summit 2016
    London, England

    This presentation revolves around a new way of thinking about designing for different sizes of screens: ignoring the screens altogether. It details how, as screens, input methods, and the Internet in general, permeate every device that we have, designers and engineering teams are fighting against attention spans, not screen sizes. And as such, we need to build for as wide of an interaction field as we can, without creating overlapping work.

    The presentation first examines how we have gotten to the multi-screen world of now, and how we are beginning to design, more and more, for devices that don't even have screens. From there, it details the efficiencies gained by building an API directly to your content, giving you the ability to then connect lightweight, specialized input methods to that content, without having to ever reach past your view layer.

    Watch on YouTube

  • The Inconsistent Web

    First presented September 2015

    Digital Design and Web Innovation Summit 2015
    Los Angeles, CA

    This presentation distills my experience growing the site optimization framework and practice at Orbitz Worldwide. As A/B experimentation becomes more prevalent a way to optimize conversion, designers and development teams now create even more complexity in what they serve to the user. At best, this filters out a hyper-focused set of features. At worst, it creates opacity around any single user’s experience.

    The presentation walks through how we have reached a consistent method for maintaining both experiment and optimization quality while being mindful of the greater user experience for our audience. The talk's tentpoles include: defining quantifiable success metrics, over-communicating results, failing cheaply, and not experimenting on inevitabilities.

    Watch on YouTube

  • Building Responsive Data Visualization for the Web

    First presented September 2014

    Data Visualization Summit 2014
    Boston, MA

    This presentation poses the question: "How can responsive web design inform data visualization as we move to a mobile-dominated, multi-device internet?" It seeks to answer it by walking through the core methods of responsive design: fluid grids, flexible images, and media queries, and abstracting them out to greater lessons about designing for the modern multi-device web. Those lessons are then applied to the science of data visualization to create device-agnostic designs.

    This presentation has since been expanded into a book and accompanying website.

Projects

  • Podcast Campfire

    Publicly released August 2018

    After working so deeply to launch Shortwave in 2017 and improve it through the first half of 2018, I wanted to create a new greenfield project with the improved architectural patterns I had developed. However, I still wanted to be working int he podcasting space, as I care deeply about it. What I noticed was that podcasting does not have a news and jobs board similar to Hacker News or Designer News. So I created Podcast Campfire. The front end is a react app, hitting a rails API app. The apps are deployed on Heroku. All ideation, development, adn design were done by me. Working some nights and weekends, this project went from conception to job board affiliate revenue in 41 days.

    View project

  • Shortwave

    Publicly released December 2017

    I had a New Year's Resolution going into 2017 to start a podcast. I came up with some ideas, contcated a few guests, made a cover, and then started looking at hosting platforms. And I was disappointed with each one. So I changed my resolution to starting a company and making an app that would evolve podcast hosting, and analytics. The differentiator came when a I developed the process for on-demand audio transcoding to allow users to stitch new clips into old episodes. This allows podcasters to create, theoretically, infinitely monetizable content. I began ideating on this project in June of 2017, launched it privately in fall of 2017, and publicly at Podcon 2017, in Seattle. All conceptualization, development, and UX was done by me. Illustration work was done by Mo Komperda.

    View project

  • Building Responsive Data Visualization for the Web

    Initially released October 2015

    In parity with the book, I created a website that provides resources, exercises, and information about responsive design, data visualization, D3.js, and building future-friendly experiences. This website is built on Jekyll, and uses Sass as a CSS preprocessor. Exercises in the chapters include AJAX techniques, responsive design, jQuery, and D3.js. I was responsible for all design and development on this project.

  • CTA Train Tracker

    Initially released March 2015

    The CTA Train Tracker is a BackboneJS webapp that queries the Chicago Transit Authority's arrival prediction API. It is a personal project with goals on both the technical and design fronts. On the technical side, I created the project to learn BackboneJS and proxy setup for secure data transfer. On the design front, it was an exploration into progressive enhancement, perceived performance, and adherence to Material Design standards. I was responsible for all design and development on this project.

    View project

  • The Cocktail Guide

    Initially released May 2013

    The Cocktail Guide is a cocktail recipe webapp with the goal of building a fast, mobile-first experience for searching for and mixing drinks. The project was my first exploration into responsive design principles. The server-side work is Ruby on Rails, with CoffeeScript and Sass on the front-end. I was responsible for all design, front-end development, and cocktail-making.

Skills

  • Robot

    Things that I can use.

    • HTML
    • PHP
    • JSP
    • Ruby on Rails
    • Mustache
    • Liquid
    • SEO-standardized markup
    • ADA-compliant markup
    • CSS
    • Sass
    • Less
    • JavaScript
    • jQuery
    • D3.js
    • BackboneJS
    • AngularJS
    • ReactJS
    • AWS
    • Heroku
    • NPM
    • Adobe Creative Suite
    • Sketch
  • Human

    Things that I can do.

    • Responsive Design
    • Progressive Enhancement
    • Data Visualization
    • API-First Development
    • A/B Experimentation
    • Conversion Optimization
    • Team Leadership
    • Product Vision
    • Product Management
    • User Experience Design
    • Public Speaking