I grew up in Aarhus, Denmark. The second-largest city in the country after Copenhagen. Sometimes we say that it’s “the world’s smallest biggest city”, which I tend to agree with. 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 to work as a software developer at Shopify. They found me through a clickbaity article I wrote about not having a smartphone. It started as a ‘gap year.’ I am now many gap years in and never went to university.
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, Semian, 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.
Today, I am thoroughly enjoying leading highly technical teams, straddling a role somewhere between project manager, manager, and engineer. While I don’t ship much code myself today (it’s higher leverage for me to empower others to), I spend time pairing, reviewing, and engaged in deeply technical discussions with the team. I take immense pleasure in helping the team succeed and enable everyone on it to grow.
If you need to pronounce my name in English.