👋 Hey, there! I'm Michael, a software developer and product designer.

Currently, I'm working on something new. Say hello.

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Previously, I started Grouper, a group dating app that was funded by Y Combinator (W'12), featured in The New York Times and parodied by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Before that, I started an e-learning company and graduated from Yale.

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I'm interested in interfaces that just work, user experiences that don't make me think, and direct-to-consumer brands that connect people. My preferred tools are well-written Ruby, Javascript, and English.

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I play the drums, suffer as a Cleveland sports fan, and write ocassionally. I'm a dog dad to Stevie and Mabel, and husband to Tory.

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Recently, I've written about dog food (not as a metaphor) and I open-sourced a small snippet of code for user-friendly "floaty" form inputs.

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Find me on Twitter, Instagram, Github, HN, LinkedIn & Email.

📕 Recently read (fiction)

  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
    - Fun, sci-fi thriller involving multiple dimensions.
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    - A widely beloved nerd adventure story set an all-too-possible apocalyptic near-future, and a plot built on 80's nostalgia. Now made into a Steven Spielberg movie.
  • A Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
    - Critics debate whether the Bard's classic play is deliberately anti-Semitic, but for modern readers it offers a window into one of the world's oldest prejudices.

📗 Recently read (non-fiction)

  • The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu
    - A history and influence of the attention/ad industry from early newspapers to our current giants Facebook and Google, and its implications for our personal lives and socieites. Added Feb 2018
  • How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
    - A scary and all-too-relevant analysis of how democracies die, particularly modern ones; they aren't overthrown in Cold War-era coups, they slowly slide into authoritarianism... Added Feb 2018
  • Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
    - Isaacson follows up his biographies of Einstein, Ben Franklin, and Steve Jobs with another towering genius who also excelled at the intersection of the arts and sciences.
  • Impeachment by Cass Sunstein
    - Leading con law professor Cass Sunstein lays out the origins and mechanics of impeachment while, delicately, not naming names of to whom it might apply...
  • Collusion by Luke Harding
    - The Guardian's former Moscow bureau chief lays out a blisteringly clear, evidenced-based exposé of how the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. There are interesting backgrounds on characters like Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and Paul Manafort; spoiler alert - turns out they all (literally) worked for the Russian government.

📘 Books I want to read

  • Grant by Ron Chernow
    - Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow takes on Civil War hero and president Ulysses Grant
  • Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
    - The founder of the world's largest and most eccentric hedge fund expounds upon the systemic principles that guide his life and work.
  • Pines by Blake Crouch
    - Blake Crouch worked with the Duffer Brothers (of Stranger Things fame) on the TV version of this book series.

📺 Shows Worth Binging

  • The Crown (Netflix) - An epic, big budget masterpiece (~$13 million per episode) offers outstanding acting and a fascinating look into key moments that shaped the UK and its royal family.
  • Master of None (Netflix) - Comedian-philospher Aziz Ansari's heartfelt and beautifully-shot show captures the struggles of modern love and the millenial experience.
  • Stranger Things (Netflix) - As they rejected their show, studio execs told the Duffer brothers that they couldn't make a show for adults with child protagonists. Turns out they could.
  • Black Mirror (Netflix, BBC) - These deeply disturbing, one-off vignettes imagine a near future ruined by a technology gone wrong.
  • The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu) - When Margaret Atwood wrote the book in the 1980's there's no way she could've known how prescient it would be. This chilling world is brought to life by superb acting, led by former Mad Men-star Elizabeth Moss.
  • Atlanta (Hulu, FX) - Donald Glover pioneers a new kind of show in this raw, fictional drama about a homeless, aspiring hip-hop producer in Atlanta.

💾 Software that makes me smile

  • Bear
    - (MacOS, iOS) Great personal text editor for MacOS and iOS, but no collaboration features.
  • Notion
    - (MacOS, iOS, web) Great for collaborative notes, wikis, and tasks.
  • Oak
    - (iOS) Free guided meditations and breathing exercises, from Kevin Rose.
  • Five Minute Journal
    - (iOS) Simple and beautiful gratitude journal - a practice that research has shown measurably increases happiness.
  • Stripe
    - (Dev tool) I've been a happy customer of Stripe's incredibly-easy-to-use payments software since their private Beta in 2011. Their latest v3 version (Stripe Elements) is excellent. I particularly like new the Payment Request object, which offers easy integration with Apple Pay and Google Payments.

💡 Products that make me smile

  • Outdoor Voices
    - ath-leisure wear made for hanging out not winning the Olympics.
  • Allbirds
    - "It turns out, the world's most comfortable shoes are made from wool." Best tagline ever.
  • Apple iPhone X
    - Face ID is a game-changer. The screen is gorgeous. The form factor is just right. And within a day you forget about the notch and the new gestures required by the removal of the home button.
  • Whistle
    - A "Fit-bit for dogs" and GPS-tracker. Our one dog hit her activity goal for 171 days in a row, which was fun. Good battery life and decent iPhone app, too. [Acquired by Mars in 2016]
  • Native
    - Natural deodorant. Aluminum-free. Smells great. Solid brand and website. Great product. [Acquired by P&G in 2017]
  • Glossier
    - Their brand and products simply make me smile, even if I'm not a customer. Ok, I actually use their face wash.