I’m Michael Shilman, a computer programmer who splits time between San Francisco and Seoul. I’m interested in finance, data visualization, open source software, and personal coaching.
I build tools to improve financial transparency and control. Money is the lifeblood of modern society, but finance is broken. My wife and I created Hello Money, a tool for personal investors to visualize their portfolios and share them for peer feedback. It’s popular on Reddit and is the official tool of the /r/portfolios. It was also chosen as one of the 7 best personal finance apps by Product Hunt.
Before that, I built Wize, a venture-backed web service that crawled and algorithmically summarized millions of product reviews from around the web. Based on review text it recommended the best products for a user’s specific needs, such as the best digital cameras for low-light photography or best vacuum cleaners for pet hair. Wize grew profitable and was acquired in 2010, but before long was quickly reduced to a shadow of its former self.
I worked as a research scientist at Microsoft Research in Seattle developing pen computing user interfaces and machine learning algorithms for document analysis, handwriting recognition, and sketch recognition. I made core contributions to the ill-fated Tablet PC; my work shipped in both Windows and Office and my prototypes were demoed by Bill Gates on CNN and BBC. Some of my papers are archived here.
I received my BS, MS, and PhD from UC Berkeley’s department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. My dissertation was about recognizing structures in hand-drawn sketches.