personal website of Michael McNicholas of San Jose, CA

Driving a 4x4 across Namibia, spring 2011

About Mike McNicholas
  • Most oft spoken quote

    “What is the purpose of this meeting?”

    Most beautiful places visited

    Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP; Sandwich harbour, Namibia; Orongo, Easter Island

    Nominee for Coolest Song Ever

    Countries visited

    Americas: US, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, Costa Rica
    Asia: Japan, Russia, Turkey, Oman, China
    Europe: UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy
    Africa: South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania, Egypt, Ghana

    Best movie ever


    Most memorable outdoor accomplishment

    Running the 46-mile Rae Lakes loop in the Sierras in 1 day

    The Rae Lakes Loop is a 46 mile loop in Kings Canyon National Park. It starts at Road's End (5,032') and ascends to Glen Pass (11,760') in 18.5 miles, and then descends thru a series of lakes and valleys for 27.5 miles back to the start. Normally, it is a beautiful 5 day hike. I ran/hiked it in one long day on Sept 11th, 2010.

    Lifetime outdoor goals

    • Paris-Brest-Paris (or any other 1200km bike race)
    • all the California county highpoints
    • all the California 14K peaks
    • Denali

    Best pleasures in life

    taking a nap after a run on saturday afternoon

    What did I have for lunch yesterday

    I have the same thing everyday- A wholewheat tuna sandwich. Less choices means your mind can wander to more interesting problems.

    Favorite Fruit


    Lifetime musical performance goal

    C minor prelude from the Well-tempered Clavier

    it is not especially difficult, but I am a beginner and I think it is really beatuiful.
    (btw- this isnt me in the video)

    California County Highpoints I have visited

    Only 25 people have climbed the highest point in all 58 counties of California. I am 1/3 complete.

  • What I do at work

    I am working on a mobile project.

    Skills I would like to improve

    I wish I had studied Math more at school. I studied English and Computer Programming for Musicians at McGill University. I am more of an autodidact, and I learned most of the stats I use via studying for CFA exams, and some Six Sigma courses I took. If I had deeper math experience I think that would help in several areas like collaborative filtering, and user recommendations.

    Things I am good at

    Strong communicator. I have high expectations for people around me. I ask good questions

    Interesting recent projects

    We recently integrated the ad buying / optimizing / campaign management fuctions into my business unit, so we are doing some process mapping to improve theses functions, and changing the metrics which we measure their performance. Previously, the company used a 2-year lifetime value model which attempted to predict the total revenue likely to be earned from a group of registrants. The issue with this is that the model is very volitatile in the begining of a campaign so it is a difficult metric to use. We are moving to using a fancy CPA target. We have also been doing alot of work to study the secondary economic effects of our ad buys so we can tune our performance targets, and understand type-in traffic better.

    We are also re-writing our dating platoform using a new technology stack since the old platform had built up a lot of technical debt, and was very unstable. This has given us the chance to use more front-end tools like Backbone.js and Underscore.js, build a service architecture in the backend, and update the UI which was looking dated.