• Summary

    I like solving interesting problems with technology. I've done a little bit of everything, but my best work usually involves some combination of product management, building teams, writing, and making relationships.

    On the side, I tend to obsessively binge on random new topics or hobbies every 6 months or so. Past obsessions have included photography, ukulele, epigenetics, human evolution, and Western European socialist history.

     

    Occasionally, I think externally on Medium.

  • Experience

    Product Manager

    San Francisco, CA
    March 2015 - Present

    Occipital brings state-of-the-art computer vision to smartphones and tablets. Our main products are 360 Panorama (http://360.io), Structure Sensor (http://structure.io), Canvas (http://canvas.io), and Bridge (http://bridge.occipital.com), and we're backed by Intel Capital, Foundry Group, Shea Ventures, and Techstars (Boulder 2008).

    Here are a few videos about our products:
    Structure Sensor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGP4l93yzH8
    Canvas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA7FMoNAK9M
    Bridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iys8yo0sjYg

    I manage Canvas, as well as a bunch of other projects related to the intersection of 3D and AR/VR with the home.

    We're only in the early innings, but Occipital's mission is to bring this whole world of what we call "spatial computing"​ — i.e., software that can understand and interact with its physical surroundings — to everyday life. Day to day, I get to work with really smart people that teach me a lot about things I don't know, think about how to make science fiction reality, and play with really, really cool toys.

    We're hiring pretty aggressively, so drop me a line if you're interested! Company-wide openings: http://occipital.com/jobs

    Fun fact: the founders are also Wolverines, which means I've technically never been employed by anyone who did not attend the University of Michigan.

    Co-founder and CEO

    Cambridge, MA and Ann Arbor, MI

    January 2011 - April 2015

    Fetchnotes makes simple, smart tools that help people work together and get things done. The company was born out of a class at Michigan taught by Nathan Stoll (co-founder of Aardvark) in 2011, and I led it through its acquisition by Driftt in April 2015.

    I've had to wear many hats as a founder, but I see my responsibility as two-fold: guide product direction, and ensure the company has the resources it needs to accomplish its mission. Sometimes that's additional capital, sometimes that's more people, and others it's rolling up my sleeves and doing dirty work myself. At one point or another I've had to not only learn but become the company authority on everything from product management, customer development, fundraising, growth and user acquisition, content marketing, retention analysis, legal contracts, and pretty much any other function of a business besides writing code.

    I've also written some code but it didn't make it into production :)

    Biggest accomplishments: Mostly, though, I talked to our users and tried to figure out how to build a product that becomes a daily habit.

    Co-founder

    Ann Arbor, MI
    January 2011 - April 2012
    The New Student Union was a nationwide, totally student-run media outlet. We wanted to solve the problem I experienced at the Daily where the best writers wanted to write about the big issues, but campus newspapers generally want you to maintain a local focus.

    I recruited nearly 100 writers from around the nation and helped define the organizational structure and strategy. We produced a lot of great content, but ultimately it fizzled out as everyone was busy with other projects. I still think there's a huge opportunity here.

    Vice President

    Southfield, MI
    May 2010 - May 2011
    I cut my teeth in tech at Benzinga, a financial media outlet that delivered fast, efficient "news you can use" and analysis on the markets. Benzinga raised $1.5M from Lightbank in 2011.

    As one of the first employees, I was the right-hand man to the CEO and had my hands in nearly everything — recruiting, business development, editorial, fundraising, user experience, sales, and whatever else was needed to get the job done. While I started as a writer, eventually the majority of my time became spent on distribution partnerships. I worked on deals with Business Insider, Forbes, The San Francisco Chronicle, CNBC, Yahoo! and many more to syndicate and expand the reach of our content. I even got us a radio show on KFNN!

    While there, I also launched two major editorial initiatives.

    Following the same strategy from the Daily, I recruited an army of columnists called "The Benzinga Brain Trust" — this time, my "star athlete" was Bill Black, a renowned expert on financial regulatory policy and published author that has testified before Congress. This gave us scheduled, high-quality content we could promote to create a more regular readership.

    I also hosted and managed our podcast, Zing Talk, which was one of Podomatic's top 10 business and investing podcasts while I ran it. I got to interview some truly incredible people for Zing Talk, including Andrew Ross Sorkin, Caterina Fake, Brad Feld, Peter Schiff (no relation), Bruce Bartlett, and many more.

    Editorial Page Editor

    Ann Arbor, MI
    May 2010 - September 2010
    After two semesters at the Daily, I was elected by the entire staff as one of the youngest summer EPEs (the head of the opinion section) in the history of the institution. I hired a team of columnists and editors, solicited viewpoints from the community, selected what content got published online vs. in print, and ran the editorial board (among many other things).

    This was my first experience building, managing, and developing a team. I decided that I was going to do it differently than my predecessors, and rather than choosing the best mechanical writers I hired columnists that would provide the most unique perspective. My favorite example was hiring two star volleyball players to write about student athlete issues — it wasn't widely applicable to the student body, but they were widely read and followed because it was the first time the group was given a voice in campus journalism.

    At the beginning of my term, I was told that the opinion section had never been allotted more than 2 pages in the summer paper in its 120 year history (the rest was printed online). During my tenure, we produced high-quality content consistently enough that we not only broke this precedent, but did it twice.

    Columnist and Assistant Editor

    Ann Arbor, MI
    January 2010 - May 2010
    After only a semester on the editorial board, I was promoted to the position of assistant editor and given a bi-weekly column.

    In addition to my existing responsibilities, I also edited op-ed contributions and letters to the editor and was responsible for laying out the page in InDesign. I now shudder whenever people say "InDesign."

    While my columns spanned life, humor, politics, and more, my favorite column was actually about the Michigan state smoking ban in bars and restaurants. The public (and editorial board) debate devolved into this grandiose battle of individual freedom vs. common good, but no one actually took the time to listen to how it would impact the people employed by these establishments. Rather than adding yet another ideological viewpoint to the mix, I interviewed bar owners, managers, and employees and used my column to tell their stories.

    This was also how I developed my now well-known habit of doing most of my work in bars, as well as my complicated relationship with the Oxford comma.

    Editorial Board Member

    Ann Arbor, MI
    September 2009 - September 2010
    Before I even started classes freshman year, I visited the Stanford Lipsey Publications Building to say I wanted to join The Michigan Daily.

    I took on a lot of roles there, but I was always a member of the editorial board. Meeting every Thursday, "editboard" would discuss current events of local, national, and international importance. We would debate the Daily's stance based on values that have emerged over 120 years of "Daily precedent" — often not something the writer or even a majority of the board agreed with — and then someone would write an editorial, or "leftside", advocating that opinion.

    One of my first editorials (advocating for repealing the Michigan Marriage Protection Amendment) received an angry letter from the American Family Association of Michigan for being leftist and "intractably intolerant" — I had a fun time writing this response.

    Research Assistant

    Ann Arbor, MI
    September 2009 - April 2010
    I supported the efforts of Dr. Shirli Kopelman in her negotiation research as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. Specifically, I worked on studies disproving the myth that making the first offer leads to a worse outcome.
  •  
     
     
    Alex is a pleasure to work with. He manages his team well and communicates clearly, honestly, and often. He recruits and retains great technical talent, and inspires creative and diligent work. He even somehow manages to get his team to deliver on technical milestones on time -- a rare and wonderful quality. Work with Alex if you have the chance.
     
    — Dan Von Kohorn, Principal at Beta Fund and Board Observer at Fetchnotes

  • Skills

    Product Management

    Productivity, collaboration, consumer mobile, online media, AR/VR, spatial computing, home services

    Growth

    Product-driven, BD, content, sales automation, email marketing, PR

    Team Building

    Sourcing, interviewing, managing, development

    Writing/Editing

    Content marketing, blogging, editing, editorial management, journalism

    Programming

    JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Lua, Git, Parse, FullContact API, Twilio API

    Analytics

    Mixpanel, Google Analytics
  • Projects

    Snooper

    JavaScript, HTML, CSS and FullContact's API
    At first, Snooper was designed simply to give me a dedicated place to guess and check the validity of email addresses since Rapportive was only inside Gmail's web UI. Later, I built in a "guesser" function such that you feed in a first name, last name, and domain name of their email, and it will iterate through a list of guesses until it finds the correct one.

    It's pretty sparse, but it's really useful for looking up investors and higher-profile people in tech. Someone even paid me $20 when I had a donate button - I guess that makes me a professional software engineer?

    Daily Thought Journal

    Lua, HTML, CSS, Webscript.io, Twilio API
    I made a bunch of random apps with Twilio's API (mostly screwing with my friends with recurring text messages), but this one actually had a purpose. It sent me a text every morning asking, "What's on your mind?" Whatever I responded would be posted to Twitter with "#dailythoughtjournal" appended.

    I quickly decided it wasn't worth the $5/month I had to pay to keep the script running on Webscript, but it was cool while it lasted :)

    Jim Harbot

    BotKit, JavaScript, Slack
    Every team occasionally needs a pick-me-up, and who better to deliver it than the great Jim Harbaugh? Jim Harbot listens for key words and phrases for just the right moment to inject your day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.
     
    Including such hits as: "I don't take vacations. I don't get sick. I don't observe major holidays. I'm a jack hammer."
     
  • Education

    Coursera

    January 2014 - Present
    Since January 2014, I've completed the following Coursera courses.
     
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
    Johns Hopkins University
     
     

    University of Michigan - Stephen M. Ross School of Business

    Business, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) 2010 - 2012
    I left after my junior year to take my company, Fetchnotes, through the prestigious Techstars Boston accelerator in Fall 2012. Even though I took the road less taken, I still bleed Maize and Blue on Saturdays!

    Palm Harbor University High School

    International Baccalaureate, High School Diploma 2006 - 2009
    College was a joke compared to IB.

    North Farmington High School

    High School 2005 - 2006
  • Say hello

    I'm not nearly important enough to ignore your email :)