Optimizing Life

Early Days

I was born and raised in Virginia and from an early age I realized I only had limited time on this planet. Since then I have sought every day to maximize my impact on the world and get the most enjoyment out of life.

Philisophy

Continuous Learning, Innovation, and Open Collaboration

When taking on a project, I always try to learn something new and usually develop some tools along the way. In trying to maximize my impact, I have open-sourced many of these tools. My hope is that the net productivity gain to the finance, data science, and web development industries from open-sourcing these tools will be far greater than the amount of work I could produce alone. If everyone agrees to collaborate openly rather than keeping tools or knowledge for themselves or teams then society will be much better off as a whole.

Reproducible Research

Another reason for my focus on software and automation is because I believe we would gain much more understanding of finance if our research studies were consistently open and reproducible.
The Problem
Our studies often require complex manipulations of data for cleaning, merging, aggregating, analyzing, and visualizing. A research project that completes all of its stages from raw data to publication and presentation, in well-organized, modular, readable code currently easily spans tens of thousands of lines of code. Asking someone who also needs to know statistics, econometrics, economic theory, visualization, writing, and presentation to learn the level of software engineering skill currently required to execute this is too much of a burden for most.
The Solution
Automation, open source software, and version control are the keys to this future. An empirical research project should be able to run from the raw data sources to the full analysis, publication, and presentation by executing a single line of code and this is how I structure all my projects. The code and data should be submitted along with a journal submission and the reviewer should reproduce the results and inspect the code and data.
To make our research reproducible, some empirical researchers need to put a greater focus on software which automates the more difficult parts of the process and share it openly with the world. Then research projects could be completed with far less code and be automatically reproducible. I hope to do my part towards this end while also completing research and teaching.

Day to Day

I spend most of my time researching finance topics, teaching, and building these tools, but when I get some extra time I love to work with my hands and experience the outdoors. I have been maintaining our family's vehicles since 2009 and take any chance I can get to go hiking or camping.