I’m Head of Product at Membersy, a fintech startup in Austin that builds payment tools and subscription infrastructure for the dental industry. While my formal education is in user experience, my career has comprised predominantly of engineering and product management roles. My experience ranges from tiny startups to some of the biggest and well-known software companies in the world. In my spare time, I enjoy consulting and advising startups on product development topics, in addition to working on my own side projects.
I was born in Minnesota but grew up in Tianjin, China. In middle school, I became fascinated with the power of the web. I taught myself how to design and program basic websites. It wasn’t long before I turned my personal hobby into a profession. I founded an interactive design and development firm, developed web applications for educational institutions, and worked on startup ideas with classmates — all while still in high school. Upon returning to the United States, I consulted with startups and small businesses on the side to fund my formal education in user experience design. I graduated from Texas State University with a degree in Communication Design with an emphasis in interactive media.
I eventually made my way to Austin, where I became one of the earliest frontend engineers for HomeAway, Inc. I was in charge of architecting a skinnable website templating system to to maximize code reuse on the frontend and backend. Later, I joined a fintech startup where I single-handedly developed and managed its equity crowdfunding investment SaaS platform. While I had enjoyed both being on teams and flying solo, I recognized that I needed formal management experience to take my career to the next level. Since there was no path to that where I was, I took a short-term contract opportunity at Apple as a DevOps engineer in their business intelligence department. I then returned to the fintech startup as CTO, on condition of managing a small team of developers and designers to maintain the platform.
Next, I became a software development manager at Oracle, one of the largest software companies in the world. At Oracle, I managed both local and offshore teams that developed social media SaaS products. After 2 years as an engineering manager at Oracle, it became apparent to me that while engineering execution is a critical component, there are a great deal of other facets of product development that factor into the success of software projects. I had been able to utilize my strong multi-disciplinary capabilities at smaller startups, but I found this more difficult as part of the engineering organization at a huge software company. I obtained PMP and agile certifications, then made a lateral move into product management while still at Oracle. I then leveraged that experience to become product management team lead at a Scottish training management SaaS platform startup, where I served as the right-hand man to the CPO, directly managing a team of product managers.
I have both been an individual contributor and manager of software engineering, user experience design, DevOps, and product management. I take charge of software projects and manage them from soup to nuts, utilizing my deep understanding of every aspect of product development execution. I am an advocate for practical agile practices and have guided numerous organizations in their agile transformation journey. I believe in autonomous teams informed by data and best practices, working toward a common vision with focus and determination.
I live in Austin with my wife, two kids, a dog, and two cats. When I’m not managing software projects or developing my own interactive products pleasure, I am usually playing soccer or video games, drumming, biking, or going on hikes with my family. I am an avid traveler and have set a stretch goal of visiting all of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in my lifetime. I also sometimes find the time to read articles and books about technology, design, science, and philosophy.