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Meet Software Architect and Rock Climber Mike Mann

Mike Mann — a rock climber for fun (especially when it’s not a pandemic) — joined PEAK6 right out of Purdue University. More than a decade later, he hasn’t stopped scaling walls, nor scaling his knowledge about fintech and his rock-solid engineering skills.

Right Now

I’m a software architect with Apex Fintech Solutions. I was with PEAK6 for 11 years and have been with Apex since 2012. Before PEAK6, my only other employer was Purdue’s IT department during college and a summer internship with a chemical company.

Why Tech?

I grew up in a home where we were early adopters of dial-up internet. In middle school, I picked up a “Programming for Dummies” book. I read through it, followed the examples, and have been hooked ever since. The more I learned and read, the more I knew writing software was exactly what I wanted to do.

Proud Tech Moment

Probably my proudest tech accomplishment was the next-gen platform at PEAK6, which we completed in 2012. It was a new system we wrote for traders to search for ideas based on which to transact. It was our own programming language and became the primary way for traders to find things to trade. The platform had a long lifespan—about seven to eight years. In fact, we just decommissioned it recently. It was one of the most interesting and most challenging projects for me to date.

True Story

I saw some crazy instances of fraud when I was working on Apex’s cash management system. I wrote an early system analyzing risk for cash movements in and out of the firm. The ingenious ways people would commit wire fraud was shocking. One hacker had created wire instructions, designed to wire money from an Apex account that the hacker had infiltrated. The hacker’s wire instructions were intended to send funds to an international, big-box store to pay off the hacker’s purchase. Fraudulent transfers of this type were one reason why we decided to build a more flexible system for risk analysis of cash transfers.

Next Challenge

I plan to continue building my knowledge of cloud-native architecture. I’m interested in projects that are part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, such as Kubernetes and Prometheus. I also want to spend more time learning about Linkerd and Istio, both of which are service meshes for Kubernetes, and how other people are building software that’s cloud native.

Just for Fun

I love rock climbing. I got into it when I was a teenager through the Boy Scouts, but then I stopped doing it in college. When I moved out to Portland in 2016, a coworker invited people to climb with him— reinvigorating my interest in it. I’m also an avid reader of technical books and leadership and management books. Right now, I’m reading High Output Management by Andrew Grove, CEO of Intel.

Open-Source Fave

I care deeply about Kubernetes. The concepts behind it are so simple, yet it has revolutionized how engineers and SaaS companies deploy and run software—including Apex.

Best Part(s) of My Job

Two things: I’m able to work with amazing people who are extremely smart and fun to work with, and it affords me the chance to continue to learn daily. I’m improving my engineering skills and learning about finance, which is a nearly endless topic. I learn something new about this business every day.

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