I am the VP of Engineering at Smile Identity, where I work on tools that have helped over 90 million people in Africa gain access to financial services. Before Smile, I was the co-founder & CTO of Arthena and a co-founder of Matroid. In my spare time, I enjoy investing in people and ideas through a small venture fund. I am particularly interested in projects with high social impact. If you think I can be helpful to you or your cause and would like to meet, please feel free to get in touch.
My parents put a computer in my bedroom in 1993 when I was 3. It was an old Tandy that ran MS-DOS. My favorite games were Street Rod 2, Wolfenstein 3D, and Tom and Jerry. It had a mechanical keyboard and a turbo button. To this day, I still don't know what pressing the turbo button really did.
We subscribed to AOL in 1995. I still remember installing it from a floppy disk onto our brand new Packard Bell. It took years for me to send my first email.
At 7, I discovered the mini-games hidden in Microsoft Office. I also beat Minesweeper on expert for the first time.
At 8, my parents bought me a Sony Mavica MVC-FD71 digital camera after I stole their SLR one too many times. It could fit 10 images to a floppy disk at a 0.3MP resolution. I still have it and it still works. I've been taking photographs ever since, now with a Nikon D750, D800, and occasionally with a Mamiya 6II.
At 10, I built my first website with Microsoft FrontPage on our Pentium III Gateway. My website was terrible.
I was 11 when I built my first Tesla Coil (without the permission of my parents). Over the next few years, I built several more including one of the first audio modulated coils and one of the first DRSSTCs.
When I was 12, I set the all-time high record at my local laser tag facility by reverse engineering the charging station and weapon protocols with a photo-resistor, micro-cassette recorder, and a lot of patience. I was unstoppable.
At 13, I went to space camp and fell in love. I went back two more times and promised myself that I'd work in space. I've since helped build three generations of satellites and have contributed to two more.
At 14, I was almost expelled for finding a backdoor into my high school's file server and telling everyone but the faculty members about it. Later that year, I figured out how to turn off the internet firewall by editing system registry keys. I anonymously shared my work months later.
At 16, I participated in a foreign exchange program in Dortmund, Germany. Since then, I've gone back almost every year.
14 - 17, I played a lot of video games. My favorites included Counter-Strike Source, Command and Conquer 3, Halo 2, and Age of Empires II.
At 18, in the summer before college, my friends and I started playing Muggle Quidditch. We went on to start over 8 teams in the International Quidditch Association, including the Buffalo Quidditch Society. At our height, we were ranked third in the IQA. Although I don't play anymore, you can still see pictures of me holding a broom while wearing a chess camp t-shirt on Facebook.
At 19, I took my first graduate course and published my first academic paper.
At 20, I co-authored a grant to build a satellite and managed a 60+ person team for the next two years. You can read more about that here.
Ask me in person for other stories that I'm afraid to share with the internet.
- Sailing and the sea
- Colored pencils (Faber-Castell Polychromos)
- Podcasts (The Daily, The Ezra Klein Show, Planet Money, The Indicator, This American Life, 99% Invisible, The Economist, Radiolab, Hidden Brain, Inquiring Minds, and others)
- Good design
Travel / Geography
- I am originally from Buffalo, New York. I have since lived in Palo Alto, Mountain View, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City.
- I've been to approximately 50 countries, some of which I have forgotten, many of which I would like to revisit.
- In 2016, I visited Canada, Ethiopia, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Italy, Romania, Sweden, Norway, Svalbard, Panama, Costa Rica, Uganda, Japan, and the UAE, mostly in that order.
- In 2017, I visited Canada, Japan, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Estonia, Russia, the Netherlands, Belgium, the U.K., Spain, Iceland, France, Switzerland, Ethiopia, and Luxembourg.
- In 2018, I visited Canada, France, Italy, Israel, and the U.K.
- In 2019, I visited Canada, England, France, and Switzerland.
- In 2020, I traveled barely 20 blocks. I stayed in New York and remodeled an apartment.
- In 2021, I continued remodeling an apartment.
- In 2022, I switched jobs and visited the UK, France, Greece, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and Kenya.
- In 2023, I visited France, the UK, Ireland, and Rwanda.
- I am an Oregon Trail II enthusiast.
- I have a list of thousands of ideas, like creating matching bow ties for cats and humans.
- I almost always have a sketchbook with me and a 01 Sakura Pigma Micron Pen.
- I can't locate every country on a map.
- I operate a small angel fund with terrible returns.
- I break about 30 traffic laws on a skateboard or bicycle every single day.
- I stack-rank coffee shops, restaurants, and every dog I see in New York.
- I added this page because many people complained that my site was just my resume.
I dream of
- Inspiring and feeling inspired.
- Enabling a brighter future for everyone, regardless of political or socioeconomic status.
- Treating every individual with genuine kindness and respect.
- Staying curious.
- Continually improving.
- You not checking the commit history for earlier drafts of this file.
Websites from people I admire
- Alex Peysakhovich
- Chris Lengerich
- Chris Saad
- Duncan Tomlin
- Hawley Moore
- Holman Gao
- Ian Webster
- Johanna Flato
- Judy Mou
- Kristina Monakhova
- Noah Trueblood
- Ruoxi Wang
- Tom Sachs
- Will Holley
If we are friends and you feel like you belong on this list, you're probably right. Submit a PR, or ask me and I'll add you.