#nathantsoi
#notes

My name’s Nathan, but you can call me Nate. Raised near the border between Colorado and Wyoming, I spent my early years roaming the great outdoors, mountain biking with my dad, shooting trap with friends and building homemade rafts. In middle school, I assembled my first computer, started learning dynamic memory allocation in C++, and played a few rounds of Counter-Strike. By the end of high school, I had learned Java, read Nietzsche, and decided to attend to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA.

Within my first year at Cal Poly, I was recruited to a student teaching role where I led computer science and math review courses for the college. I picked up surfing and started conversations with friends that would eventually lead to the white hat computer security club. I worked most of my summers in Colorado as a developer for one of the premier health systems in the country where I built the first ajax-enabled web apps their corporate intranet had ever seen. The summer before senior year I spent writing code for a web server on the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. School kept me busy with classes ranging from computer architecture where we built a simulated mips, to a course on ethics in computer science, where I examined the effects of internet pornography on the brain. Most of my time was filled with learning agile software engineering practices, implementing network protocols, writing a compiler, coding a shell, building circuits in digital design, writing buffer overflow attacks, and bending my mind around DFAs, NFAs and NP-completeness. Surfing, writing an opinion column for the school paper, attending my dorm's Campus Crusade Bible study, working on several startups, and learning to brew beer in my free time helped keep life in balance. Four years of learning couldn't have been more fun.

I graduated Cal Poly with honors, not because of brilliance, but because I enjoyed my studies and worked hard. Coming out of school I knew I wanted to work somewhere small, agile, and fast moving. Somewhere I could gain exposure to a broad array of ideas and technologies, contributing and learning in equal amounts. After much interviewing and soul searching, I joined some friends from school who had moved up to the San Francisco bay area. I worked as a web consultant and on some startup ideas. Eventually, I was connected to the app development team at Sequoia Capital, where I began helping out as a consultant, eventually joining full time.

The culture of lifelong learning at Sequoia is what makes working there so much fun. In my time at Sequoia, I’ve contributed to, built myself or spearheaded things like natural language processing to collect and analyze news feeds, data mining to better target and understand investment opportunities, new databases and web development frameworks, Outlook plugin development, browser extension development, firewall and reverse proxy programming, DDD and SOA to integrate new and legacy systems, continuous integration systems, and agile development methods. When we're not building awesome new systems or maintaining them, we get the chance to try out the latest technology from startups all over the world. It's awesome working on a tight knit team, alongside extremely talented and intelligent individuals, in an industry that tries to glimpse into the future and learn about the next big thing first.

Outside working hours on most days, you can find me coding up a fun project, reading a good book, or kickin' it with my wife Julie at home in Palo Alto. Weekends are filled with family and friends, hiking, surfing, or snowboarding. On occasion we'll go fishing, camping, or take a trip abroad. Spending time outdoors, away from technology, affords the opportunity to reflect on life, study, and grow.

My interests lie in the intersection between computer science, finance, and economics. These fields overlap more than you might think. Decisions in computer security and finance are both driven by risk and potential for reward. Beyond that, economists and financial analysis rely heavily on accurate and relevant data. Recently, I've been thinking about ways to weed out valuable information and pinpoint the data relevant to determining risk, valuation, timing, and potential for growth. I'm interested in how political and market factors influence investment decisions. Which information is knowable to a computer and within that set of data, which is valuable? What specific, actionable data is applicable to investors and economists covering specific sectors, companies, and policies?

Whether writing code, performing analysis, or enjoying a little rest and relaxation, from time to time I reflect on my motivation. What am I doing? Why am I doing it? Sometimes the answer is, "because I want fame, wealth, and power", but I don't think that should be my goal. I strive instead to be motivated by my faith, shared with C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and Winston Churchill, the faith that Dr. David Aikman, former Beijing Bureau Chief for Time magazine calls, “the heart of your [Western] culture," and the primary cause of Western global power: Christianity.

Honestly, I'm impressed you read all that. Less impressed if you used ctrl+f to find my email. Either way, I'm thrilled you took the time to learn a bit about me. Now, I would love to get to know you better. Shoot me an email at [email protected]. I can't wait to chat!