I'm an engineer. I care about working on projects that are meaningful.

Personal Work (2003-Present)

I've written essays about A/B testing, web analytics, and building products for the web in general. Two of these which are representative and well-received are "Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Give Real-time Analytics" and "Choose Boring Technology".

Conferences I've talked at include Warmgun, Lean Startup, and OSCON. My most popular talk is Data Driven Products Now! I've recently wrapped a long-form video about using data in the product process which will be released by O'Reilly soon.

Advisor (2015-present)

I am currently an advisor for Medium and for Simon Data.

Skyliner (2016-)

I've cofounded a startup with Marc Hedlund and Coda Hale. We're building tools to help you do your best work over at Skyliner.io.

Stripe (2015-2016)

I spent a little over a year at Stripe. I mostly worked on business intelligence, data warehousing, ETL stuff, and operational metrics.

Simon (née Radico) (2014)

I worked at a startup with some of my colleagues from Etsy. Originally an advertising platform product (essentially, Etsy Search Ads as a service), it has pivoted and is currently a testing automation tool. I am still with Simon as an advisor.

Etsy (2007-2014)

When I started at Etsy there were less than 20 employees, and when I left there were over 600. My title when I left was Principal Engineer. I was the second most senior individual contributor (just behind Rasmus Lerdorf) on a team of over 150 engineers. At various points I managed small teams.

I think of my experience at Etsy as being divided into two relatively distinct epochs.


Etsy's engineering founders left along with most of the team at the end of 2008. Those of us who remained spent the next few years getting in front of our scaling problems. I paid down technical debt and worked on infrastructure and ops projects.

I helped Etsy migrate from a monolithic database to MySQL shards. I wrote core libraries to support this. I wrote a functional test suite that was critical for our reliability until our production monitoring caught up. I was heavily involved in converting our development process to continuous deployment.

Building Products

By 2010 it was possible to build features for the website again. I led a small team that built Etsy's activity feeds, which have since become Etsy's homepage. I am proud of how well my original architecture scaled up without much maintenance.

I was notably involved in experiment-driven engineering. I gave many internal presentations on this and related topics. I mentored Etsy's analyst team. I led a small team of very senior engineers working on growth and other data-driven endeavors. Some notable projects here were recommendations in checkout, abandoned cart emails, and redesigning Etsy's listing page. Along the way I participated in building Etsy's data infrastructure. I worked on many other search and data-related features.

While at Etsy, I co-wrote and starred in two critically-acclaimed recruiting videos, which you can see here and here.

Capital IQ (2003-2007)

This was a financial startup, eventually acquired by Standard & Poor's. I worked on Microsoft stack stuff here. I built Windows client applications and the company's main ASP(.NET) website. I got very good at debugging in disassembly at Capital IQ. I learned a thing or two about writing software for a living, and I also learned that the financial industry is not for me.

Earlier Years

I graduated from Cornell in 2002, with a degree in computer science. I'm originally from a small town in western Pennsylvania.

RSS | Atom | Copyright © 2004-2017 Dan McKinley. At no point has the writing here constituted the opinions of my employer(s).