About

Ersin Akinci pitching at StartingBloc

Hi there! My name is Ersin Akinci and I’m a developer living in sunny San Francisco.

My most recent job was working as the technical lead and cofounder of Trove, an Instagram-like mobile app for fashion blog readers. I managed the successful development and launch of our app, created robust microservices with JSON API’s (personally implementing among other things an OpenID Connect identity provider from scratch, i.e., “Log in with Trove” buttons), and laid the foundations for the world’s first fashion-focused mobile analytics platform.

While living in Chicago, I helped create a digital forensics lab within a class action law firm (the only such lab in the US, to my knowledge) that focused on data privacy. We protected consumers against apps and devices that leaked private data and PII as well as fraudulent software. I also did fun stuff like memory and network forensics to circumvent encryption on iOS, Android and various other platforms.

What am I into right now?

My work at Trove exposed me to a number of data infrastructure challenges that have captured my attention. We were a small data company with big data problems, building a traditional stateful mobile app (e.g., “who are your followers?”) as well as an event-based analytics platform (e.g., “how many followers looked at your profile over the past month?”) The challenge of building a flexible infrastructure that could handle these two radically different data needs with the limited resources of a startup led me to three questions:

  1. How can we create a simple, performant and distributable data store that unified state and event data, one where state was a function/”composed view” of canonical event data? (I.e., if Kafka and Postgres had a baby, what would it look like?)
  2. If Rails nailed the question of “how do we create fully-featured and secure monolithic web apps in under 15 minutes,” what will be the Rails of distributed apps?
  3. How can we use blockchains as a general data structure for reliable, performant and distributed applications that aren’t just Bitcoin?

I’m currently looking to work with companies and teams that are cracking these problems and who want a broad thinker with a non-traditional engineering background. While these issues came up during debates at Trove, my interest in how we extract, transform and load data has deep affinities with my background in history and my experience in historical archives (see below).

Personally speaking…

I embody a curious mix of cultures. Born and raised in the US, the child of immigrants, I grew up speaking English and Turkish and went on to learn Spanish, Italian, German, and Latin (and some smidges of Arabic, French, and Portuguese). My academic background is in the humanities, yet I have been hacking and programming since I was 8 years old.

Before I got involved with computer forensics and then web development, I was a Ph.D. graduate student in the history department at the University of Illinois. I studied medieval history of science, and my scholarship took me to the bowels of the Vatican Secret Archives, among other places. Thinking about how information storage technologies have changed over millennia informs my approach to building distributed web applications today.

Get in touch

I really enjoy getting to meet new people (as well as old friends). If you want to get in touch, please visit my contact page and drop me a line.

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