Well hello - I’m Mark, a technical product leader currently on the product team at Newsela, previously PM at Academia.edu, founder of Gazet, caretaker at Suck, Again, and on the founding team at Skimlinks. I have over a decade of experience at every stage of the product lifecycle and a dedication to supporting inclusive teams.
I’m continuously fascinated by the power of technology to change the context of human behavior. How does newsfeed design influence what we write? What are the consequences of shifting the temporal context of media? How can ubiquitous data collection be used for good and help us make better decisions about our financial, physical, or our planet’s health?
How I work
Addressing these types of questions requires effective collaboration across varied teams and I strive to bring a sense of curiosity, humility and humor to this work. I’ve found that developing effective products requires sympathetic leadership, continuous customer development, and considered analysis of product use.
Over the years, I’ve spec’d features, written code, built teams, pitched customers, freelanced, bootstrapped a company, raised money, lost money, celebrated successes and learned from failures.
I began my professional career as a research specialist studying the neural basis of learning and memory first at Cambridge University then UPenn. While mining terabytes of fMRI brain imaging data, I developed an appreciation for careful experimental design and analysis, and discovered a respect for the power of code that led me to pursue opportunities within the startup world.
After a stint doing QA, ops and customer support for a German e-commerce platform’s UK launch, I found my way to Skimlinks, an online monetization and analytics company headquartered in London. I was the first client facing hire in a tiny team and consequently undertook everything from user research and wireframing on-boarding flows, to presenting at conferences and building custom SQL reports for VIP clients.
As the company grew, I relocated to San Francisco with our CEO to help setup and lead the day-to-day running of the new west-coast office. I hired, trained and managed a team of fourteen Publisher Development Managers across three cities, and collaborated with Engineering, Design and Marketing as a key stakeholder in the launch of numerous successful products.
A long-time hobbyist programmer, on leaving Skimlinks I decided to improve my technical foundation by attending Hack Reactor, an immersive software engineering course in San Francisco. With freelance consulting gigs on the side, and a desire to scratch the entrepreneurial itch, I set about developing a couple of startup ideas before settling on Gazet - a media aggregator powered by a community of volunteer editors.
As the sole product owner and engineer building Gazet (a PWA written in React/Node), I’ve approached the development with a bias towards action and experimentation. Collaborating with a talented product designer and other contractors, I’ve taken care to inform product decisions with measurable user insights and interviews. With limited resources, prioritization is paramount, and I’ve been deliberate in utilizing effective sprint planning and backlog management to ensure technical debt didn’t swamp the project.
Running Gazet has been unbelievably powerful experience. Ultimately, bootstrapping a media startup is intensely hard, and the time has come to look for new challenges. I'm open to opportunities with innovative, mission-driven product teams and welcome any chance to chat with like-minded folks. Do get in touch!