ML that increases profits

Localize and classify objects that will destroy your AV

Autonomous vehicles need to avoid collisions, so the machine learning models that drive them need massive volumes of labeled data. Getting that data can be prohibitively expensive, so we sped up the process with our own ML to localize and classify objects like helicopters. Additionally, a separate model detected frames with no target objects, allowing us to quickly skip labeling those.

Key outcome

Sequences with target objects now usually need only verification and take seconds instead of minutes. Skipping empty frames saved time as well. Our margin on these videos doubled (or better), from low or even negative percentages.

My role

I owned the business aspects of applied ML. The question is always “will the margin benefits be great enough to offset the engineering cost, and will we get there quickly enough for it to matter”. I performed that analysis and managed ongoing cost/benefit accountability across the tech org.

3D point cloud labeling tool

Build a tool for the hardest kind of annotation

LiDAR requires the thorniest and most time-consuming kind of annotation. Localizing objects in three dimensions requires highly specialized user interfaces, and they also have to deal with massive amounts of data, even for a single frame. We developed an optimized tool from scratch with a wide range of features purpose-built for efficient and accurate annotation at scale.

Key outcome

This opened a whole new market segment for us in autonomous vehicles etc. With this tool, we could improve margins without sacrificing quality, and win more business by pricing aggressively without losing money.

My role

I oversaw product management and design, ensuring delivery of a capable product that met business goals, while leaning on SMEs for deep expertise. I also launched the product, including sales and customer success kickoff and training.

Product career ladder

Give employees a path for advancement

In an early-stage company, it's nice to avoid too much formality, but as you scale, the product team needs a path for growth. The company had never had one.

Key outcome

The advancement tracks I laid out and negotiated with HR were well-received, and contributed to an overall 78-point improvement in employee NPS.

My role

I defined and delivered the career ladder, and worked with human resources to ensure it aligned with existing designations and salary tiers.

A true MVP

Clinch a big renewal while validating new product ideas

Marty Cagan says beware of “specials”, but what if one of your biggest customers was willing to pay for one and you could also use it as a low-risk/low-cost way to test the concept of a new product for an adjacent market?

Key outcome

We built a very focused app in 8 weeks, pleased Walmart, renewed them, made their users more effective, and learned a great deal about how a “data explorer” might fare in the market.

My role

I conceived of the solution, worked with the enterprise account manager to validate it with Walmart, sourced a nearshore development firm, defined the API and user interfaces, and saw the project through to completion by training users.

ML for accuracy and speed

Make an ML model that outperforms humans on color labeling

We needed to label garment colors in fashion catalog images, on a short timeframe with tight margins. We developed a model that outperformed humans at telling light gray from silver (and other fine distinctions).

Key outcome

We completed the labeling with far greater accuracy and speed than with people alone. Faster = better margins, and applying ML was the only way we could make a profit on this contract.

My role

I made the key go-for-it decision, and acted as scrum product owner to get it into production.

Price modeling

Determine how to price a new product

As we introduced a new self-serve version of our platform, we had a problem: billing for data annotation is hard because it's tricky to define what an annotation even is. We side-stepped the thorny problem by billing like a utility.

Key outcome

The simple billing scheme in the self-serve platform reduced friction in the buyer journey and reduced support headaches, leading to an increased likelihood of both purchase and renewal.

My role

I performed value metric analysis to determine feasibility and buyer appeal. I then advocated for the best method with executives and peers.

Enterprise reference app

Make API customers successful in days, not weeks

Humanify was a rich and sophisticated platform, but it had no “on-ramp”. We built a rocketship instead: Clarity, a mobile reference implementation to accelerate successful integrations by demonstrating best practices and API calls.

Key outcome

Sales reported the app moved the needle on key deals in the 6- and 7-figure range. Customer success reported API implementations by clients were 2–3x faster, and less prone to error.

My role

I crystallized our purpose (what we were doing and why), collaboratively defined the functionality, and helped drive the project with a third-party developer to two successful launches (one iPhone, one Android).

Next-level web analytics

Give users fixes, not just metrics

When your e-commerce site slows down, you lose money by the minute. You need a fix, not forensics. Instead of just a web analytics dashboard, we built one that makes suggestions in addition to presenting charts, and it also leveraged unique WordPress-only metrics.

Key outcome

In addition to differentiating the WPEngine experience from competitors’, this became marketing's best-performing lead-gen tool.

My role

I worked with the founder to clarify the initial vision, researched APIs, managed integrations with our partner NewRelic, defined the product's functionality and user interfaces, and drove stem-to-stern launch activities.

Data-informed decision making

Analyze and visualize usage metrics for better product decisions

Spiceworks was introducing a new product for their enterprise community users, and needed to make some foundational decisions.

Key outcome

We were able to tailor the new functionality to optimize for predicted demand.

My role

I crunched numbers and created novel visualizations, then used them with executives and other product managers to understand and advocate for the real voice of customer.

A true market pivot

Thrive in a downturn by changing product focus

Pluck established itself early as a leader in the new social marketing space, with a platform for integrating social features into high-traffic sites. But as the economy changed for publishers, we needed to find new buyers.

Key outcome

On a multiyear journey, we grew retail and brand revenue from zero to over $16 million; it became the core of our business.

My role

I inherited Pluck from the great product managers before me, but as director, I had responsibility for everything (the capabilities, UX, APIs, quality, integrations, technical documentation, and more).

I've worked with some great brands over the years. Every one of these represents a weeks- or months-long engagement where I could not only provide value, but learn tremendously.
My professional journey started in music education, went through full-stack web programming, and arrived in product management. I carry pedagogical training and technical skills into everything I do as a product and people manager.
computers stacked on orchestral scores. it represents my career path.


Senior Web Engineer, InCircuit Development Corp.

Programmed interface and application layer for a SaaS-based asset management system used by large institutions such as the Louisiana state government and University of Texas. Tech included Java, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

  • Completely revamped an application layer written in ColdFusion without a DRY approach; saved thousands of lines of code and untold time lost to duplicate maintenance.
  • Helped in a total agile transition (implemented Scrum).
  • Hired, trained, and managed a second web developer.


Full-stack web engineer (contract)

Houston. Contract developer with jobs lasting from 3 weeks (Time Warner Cable) to over two years (J. Ray McDermott). Worked through TEK Systems much of this time. Other clients included Dow (Union Carbide), AIM Funds, Schulmberger, Boeing, Webvertising. Tech used included SQL Server, ASP (classic!), ColdFusion, Visual Basic, HTML, JavaScript, CSS.

  • Lead developer on a bespoke system used for J. Ray McDermott’s multimillion-dollar bids. Reduced the cost of developing and tracking bids by 5–10%.
  • Modernized and added interactivity to J. Ray McDermott’s corporate web site.
  • Refactored a greater-than-100,000-page training website for Dow. Reduced surface area for QA and maintenance by one third, lowering TCO.


Web developer (freelance)

Houston area. Part-time designer and developer of “brochureware” websites at a time when that meant lots of <TABLE>, some GIFs, and a little JavaScript.


Music teacher

Private trombone teacher for several school districts south of Houston, including Lake Jackson ISD.

  • Within a year of starting, my studio was performing as well as the powerhouse Pearland ISD system.
  • Wrote my own method book.
  • Had sixth graders familiar with fifth position and F♯. Fellow trombonists will understand this is kind of a big deal.

Dec. 1994


Texas A&M–Commerce (trombone performance)

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