I grew up in Aarhus, Denmark. The second-largest city in the country after Copenhagen. In high school I used to compete for Denmark in algorithmic problems. I wasn’t that good at it (Denmark has a small population, not as hard to be selected as in, e.g. the US), but I learned a lot. At the same time, I worked at Firmafon. They build a fantastic phone and chat support tool for the Danish market. In 2013, I moved to Ottawa, Canada (where I still live) to work as a software developer at Shopify.
When joining Shopify, I was interested in the infrastructure team. That’s the team that gets paged if the site isn’t working. The goal of the infrastructure team is to make software as reliable and fast as possible. I worked as an infrastructure engineer for several years: the initial system that sends data to our ‘data warehouse’ (Kafka, 2013), moving Shopify to containers to make it faster and more predictable to move code from developer’s machines to the data-center (Docker, 2014), and improving resiliency of the platform (Toxiproxy, Simian, 2014-2015).
In 2016 I became the lead of a small team (3-5) and was tasked to make Shopify able to run out of multiple data-centers at once, which we completed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2016. In 2017, I grew the team into two teams, one responsible for moving shops without downtime between regions and another responsible for the ‘job infrastructure’, running workloads outside of web requests made to Shopify to do large-scale data migrations. In 2018, I started building the Service Communication team that’s building the software to make it as easy as possible for applications built inside Shopify to talk to each other.
Starting in 2019, I ran a lab called New Capabilities which booted up highly technical teams. I straddled a role somewhere between project manager, manager, and engineer. I helped get projects off the ground, while building the team and enabling everyone on it to grow. My goal was to put the team in a position where they no longer would need me, as fast as possible.
In 2019 in New Capabilities we started a team to do a complete rewrite of the Shopify Storefront, which serves all merchant store traffic. Its architecture is based on everything we learned from running Shopify at scale. It’s able to serve read-traffic out of multiple regions, cache better, and is much more performant. About a year and a bit after we started the project with a team of ~8, it was serving the vast majority of production traffic, some up to an order of magnitude faster.
In 2020, New Capabilities worked on patches to MySQL and real-time components for the Admin of Shopify. For half of 2020 and 2021 I worked on dramatically expanding the search efforts at Shopify.
In May 2021 I left Shopify. After that I consulted with companies of friends for a while to help them scale their infrastructure. That’s where I discovered that no serverless vector database existed, so I founded turbopuffer.
If you need to pronounce my name in English.