About Me

I’m Zander (aka ZPH and ZPH)

Polyglot, problem solver and remote-worker, and engineering leader. I enjoy solving problems according to their technical specifications, ecosystem support, business longevity1.

I’ve been the CTO of a 50 person startup, a Sr. Director of Engineering, and most recently the manager of managers for a deeply technical backend group of ~20 software engineers and ~3 managers in the Platform area, with a focus on online storage.

I’m deeply interested in results and less interested in the exact tools/technology we use.

I’m currently excited and interested in:

  • Founding my own startup
  • Databases at scale
  • Log Architecture and Data pipelines [eg]
  • High throughput distributed & fault tolerant systems

Career Priorities

  1. Rapid growth and learning
  2. While delivering high business impact
  3. That’s sustainable and low maintenance
  4. Striking the right balance of speed and precision (depending on circumstance)
  5. Enjoying the work I do and the people I work with

Business Domains

  • Fintech
  • Small/medium startups
  • High traffic websites
  • Media companies

Engineering Domains

  • Platform
  • Online Storage
  • Infrastructure
  • Developer Efficiency

Technologies I want to spend more time with professionally and personally (ORDER BY interest DESC):

  • NewSQL, NoSQL, ClassicSQL
    • TiDB
    • ScyllaDB
    • FoundationDB
    • TigrisData2
    • Postgresql
    • MySQL
  • GRPC & Protobufs (they’re the future 😍 and the past 🤔)
  • Golang (fast, predictable, dull and small syntax surface area 🐿️))
  • Rust or Haskell (to improve my craft of software engineering)3
  • Elixir (in the right niche circumstances and for the pragmatism of OTP 🔮)4
  • Clojure (the parenthesis are like a million hugs)5

For a list of open source projects that I’ve worked on, see my github.

Current Technical Interests

  • FoundationDB
  • TiDB
  • ScyllaDB
  • TigrisData
  • Hermit
  • MongoDB6 tooling, operations and cluster management

As for the software stack that I have known and loved (daily use || proficient):

  • Languages
    • Golang
    • Bash/Zsh/Fish (<3 the cmdline)
    • SQL (PG)
    • Mongo Query Language
    • Ruby / Crystal
    • Elixir
    • Clojure
    • Typescript/Javascript (ES6, React, Redux)
    • Python
  • Datastores (ordered by usage in anger/scale)
    • MongoDB7
    • PostgreSQL
    • Redshift
    • Redis
    • Riak
  • Infrastructure
    • Nginx, Traefik
    • AWS (EC2, S3, Kinesis, SNS, Lambda, CloudFront, Route53, ELB)
    • Terraform
    • Kubernetes, Docker, & Docker Compose
    • CI for testing and release artifact builds (Circle, Travis, GH Actions)
    • Imgproxy and imgix for on the fly image optimizations
    • Honeycomb.io/Statsd/Datadog/Librato (monitoring/metrics)
  • Editors
    • Vim/Neovim
    • Emacs/Spacemacs (for Clojure & Org-mode)
    • VSCode

Conferences I’ve Known and Loved

  • Present8
  • 2016 - StrangeLoop (St. Louis, MO)
  • 2016 - Ruby on Ales (Bend, OR)
  • 2015 - StangeLoop (St. Louis, MO)
  • 2015 - Ruby on Ales (Bend, OR)
  • 2015 - Ruby For Good (Arlington, VA)
  • 2015 - Ruby DCamp (Arlington, VA)
  • 2015 - ElixirConfEU (Poland)
  • 2015 - CodeMash (Sandusky, OH)
  • 2014 - Steel City Ruby (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 2014 - StangeLoop (St. Louis, MO)
  • 2014 - Ruby on Ales (Bend, OR)
  • 2014 - Ruby For Good (Arlington, VA)
  • 2014 - Ruby DCamp (Arlington, VA)
  • 2014 - ElixirConf (Austin, TX)
  • 2014 - CodeMash (Sandusky, OH)
  • 2013 - Steel City Ruby (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 2013 - Ruby Midwest (Kansas City, MO)
  • 2013 - Ruby DCamp (Arlington, VA)
  • 2013 - Madison Ruby (Madison, WI)
  • 2013 - LoneStarRuby (Austin, TX)
  • 2012 - Steel City Ruby (Pittsburgh, PA)

I enjoy programming, pairing (1-1), remote teams, Open Source Software, databases, commandline tools, FP and some other important buzzwords.

I’m very fortunate to be happily employed with a few standing offers but if you want to offer me the chance to work on challenging things with kind folks, I’m happy to chat. To set realistic expectations9, it’s unlikely I’ll be drawn away from my current team because they’re wonderful folks <3.

-ZPH zander@xargs.io

Public Key for Secure Communications or to Report Site Vulnerabilities (all of which will be publicly credited):


  1. Low excitement, high productivity and reliable/performant systems ↩︎

  2. If/when it gets off the ground it has the right foundation to be groundbreaking b/c of FDB. ↩︎

  3. Rust is a language that can still help me grow as a software engineer and one I’d enjoy a sincere practical reason to become proficient with. ↩︎

  4. I’d likely only use elixir from the ground up in a company as adopting it into existing company was challenging and problematic. ↩︎

  5. It remains a niche language that I really enjoyed as a practitioner but I’d be reluctant to found a company on it ↩︎

  6. MongoDB and I have a complicated relationship. It helped successfully launch and scale three startups of mine and was a poor choice for datastore in 2 of 3. I’ve come to appreciate deeply what it accomplished in the 1 of 3 where it was the most correct choice available and also look forward to evolving onto a new platform that can learn from the architectural mistakes of MongoDB. Ironically, by knowing it deeply and the alternatives, I’ve become hawkish defender of Mongo when people throw around technically barbs about this datastore. It’s as if the trauma I’ve experienced have bonded me to it like Gollum and The Ring. ↩︎

  7. Hundreds of TB cluster on EC2 for v3.x with strict reliability requirements and having to solve hard scaling problems including working around architectural limitations of the db itself by dropping down to reading the db code. ↩︎

  8. I’ve stopped attending conferences due to competing life responsibilities and the talks ceasing to introduce as much novel and challenging content for me ↩︎

  9. If I look at all offers/outreach, I’ve accepted around 1 in 500 ↩︎