Hi! I'm Ivan, a full stack senior developer experienced in building out large scale technical architecture.

Welcome to my site. Learn about who I am, where I've worked, and what I do in my spare time.

About Me

Ivan's Photo

I am a lifelong learner, always acquiring new skills and seeking out new mindsets to enrich my experience of life. I spend my free time on many different pursuits - mastering various technologies, furthering my understanding of the world, and bettering my mind and body. Coding is my passion - I live and breathe it. I often get woken up in the middle of the night by a flash of inspiration for some feature or idea of an implementation approach. Sometimes I even dream in code. Since 2018 onward, I have noticed my interests shifting towards large scale system architecture. I have led multiple teams through large scale backend redesigns and improvements, focusing on resiliency, security, and perfomance.

With my work, I strive to make life easier for people, be it a niche time saving script or an exciting new product that will delight millions of people. I believe that there are endless possibilities to improve this world, and it's my core mission to have maximum impact on bringing my vision to life. As I gain more experience, my efforts have been shifting towards empowering the junior engineers under me and teaching them how to become effective 10x engineers.

When I'm not mentoring people or architecting systems, I like to travel and spend time with friends. I also enjoy adding to my long form blog and short form blogs , where I share various lessons I've gleaned as I walk this path in life.



Chief Technology Officer February 2020 - present

I am currently working as the Chief Technology Officer of Elude. I lead a group of 9 developers across three teams: iOS, Backend, and QA. My top priority at the moment is to ensure we do everything we can to achieve a succesful launch. Through my guidance, the company has adopted best practices around project planning, generating strategic milestones, and modern developer practices. We have had multiple sessions around de-risking practices, optimizing latency, and increasing developer velocity. Our team needs to grow very rapidly, so I am getting more involved in hiring proposals, budget planning, and preparing information for our Venture Capital partners.

There's an interesting story on how this all started: in early 2019, Alex Simon, one of the founders of Elude got in touch with me with some technical questions. After a few calls I agreed to become their Advisor. After about a year of calls, we realized it made sense to enter a deeper engagement and invite me in as a part time CTO. Since early 2020, I have been remotely managing a team of 9 developers. I helped re-architect the entire backend for a 50x speed improvement, and helped prepare for launch while ensuring proper speed, security, reliability, and accuracy of the iOS app and backend.

I have been able to balance my commitments to Elude and my full time employers (first Google, then Stripe) by using very precise time management and leveraging the timezone offsets to my advantage.

Executive Consulting

Independent Consultant May 2020 - present

I am available through a variety of expert consulting networks such as Guidepoint, GLG, Silverlight Research, and a few others. Details on my services and expertise can be found through the relevant portals.

I am also open to part time engagements as a startup advisor or Silicon Valley mentor.


Senior Software Engineer January 2021 - May 2021

I worked remotely for Stripe as a Senior Software Engineer in the first half of 2021.

I joined the Payments Infrastructure team at Stripe as a Senior Software Engineer in early 2021. In May 2021 I left the company. I am now enjoying a sabbatical while I work several consulting engagements.


Software Engineer February 2016 - January 2021

I worked for 5 years in the Google HQ Office based in Mountain View, California.

During my first year, I worked on the internals of the Ads backend, performing some large-scale pipeline optimizations. I then spent 1.5 years on the Google Assistant for Android TV, launching the headliner Nvidia Shield with Google Assistant. Over the years, the foundational work that our team did has become the root of the modern Google Assistant large screen experience.

After a successful launch, I decided to explore the Google Assistant internals and switched to working on the Google Assistant SDK team. The core library that we build is used in all Google Home devices and many other IoT integrations.

During my last year, I explored datacenter internals in the heart of the Google Cloud Platform, where I worked on some classified software for enabling next-gen hardware devices.

Lighthouse AI

Software Engineer May 2015 - December 2015

I was the first employee of Lighthouse.AI, a startup that had a strong focus on IoT and machine learning backed by the PhD research work of one of the founders.

I was the primary Android developer, and contributed to infrastructure and backend design. Since we were such a small company at the time, I also had the chance to be heavily involved in various high level decisions about company focus, strategy, and prioritization.

I ultimately decided to accept Google's full time offer rather than return after my internship.

Sadly, the company failed and the IP was sold to Apple in 2019.


I deeply enjoy tinkering with various personal projects. Over the years, I have started focusing more on sharing my stories and content with a wider audience, so that I can help others grow to their own maximum potential. What follows is a list of both my technical projects, as well as my various published works, interviews, podcasts, and other showcases.

Personal Long-form Blog

I like to view my blog as an FAQ on my life. If I get a question often, it's a clear signal that my viewpoints on that particular topic are useful to many folks. I have been posting longform articles here since 2014. Topics range from time management to networking psychology to technical articles regarding docker. I suffer from perfectionism, so I don't publish as often as I would like. I'm working on getting better.

Ivan's IO: Short-form blog

As part of my "cure" to the perfectionism that plagues my long-form blog, I started Ivan's IO. It's a tiny blog with 1-2 minute snippets about my thoughts, projects, and ideas. I'm using this to highlight what sort of work I am doing and what topics I am exploring. The posts are meant to be lightweight, thought provoking and inspirational.

Personal Technical Cluster and Infrastructure

I like to tinker with a variety of DevOps tools as I maintain my personal infrastructure. I have several servers which provide a variety of useful services to me: x509 security, rapid website prototyping, hosted docker solutions, automation, and more. The tools that I use are: Ansible, Hashicorp Consul, Terraform, Docker + Portainer, Wireguard, and Zerotier.

Volunteer Guest Speaker

I am a strong evangelist of the power of technology, and have been able to participate in numerous events that help inspire young students. I was one of 9 mentors at the 2019 Adahacks 2 all girls hackathon, coaching 3 teams to victory. On the back of that experience, I was invited to teach a class at the St. Francis High School Computer Science club on version control (lecture notes: http://smirnov.link/git). I have also hosted over 10 student tours at the Google headquarters, promoting STEM to under-represented minorities.

Involvement in education is a strong passion of mine, and I welcome any new opportunities to help bring more young folks into this wonderful field.