Lan Quach, senior software engineer at PEAK6 Technologies, is a star player on the job—and at the poker table.

Lan Quach first joined Apex Clearing, a PEAK6 company, in 2014, after completing her bachelor’s in computer science at the University of Texas at Dallas. In the years since, Lan has used her skills to advance the software platforms at PEAK6 companies Apex Clearing, Spark Networks, Capital Management (CapMan) and, most recently, PEAK6 Technologies.

Right now:

I’m a senior software engineer with PEAK6 Technologies. I lead development and maintenance of the Crypto trading platform, a new PEAK6 business launched in 2019 that provides Apex customers with a way to trade cryptocurrencies.

Why tech?

As a kid, I liked watching my dad use his computer. I was amazed. He’d type something in a box on Google and it would spit out information. In seventh grade, I learned to code and participated in competitive programming events from eighth grade through high school.

Proud tech accomplishment:

When I moved to CapMan in 2018, their services were run natively on a physical machine. We saw some opportunities to modernize the CapMan system to run in Kubernetes. I’d had experience using Kubernetes at Spark Networks, so I led that effort at CapMan—to move services to container and Kubernetes. It took almost a year, but we moved the majority of services into Kubernetes and built out the tooling to monitor and manage those services.

True story:

When I was at Spark Networks—an online dating platform that PEAK6 acquired (and later sold in 2017)—I wrote a system to charge customers a monthly fee when they enrolled in our dating site. We were using a new technology for messaging. That messaging technology had a bug. The result was that the payment system I wrote accidentally charged our customers multiple times per month—in some cases 20 times! This impacted a lot of customers. We found out pretty quickly because it was near our launch date and we were monitoring our systems very closely. I spent a hectic Saturday morning in the office with our CTO, writing code to promptly refund our customers and revert the damage, and then put in place protections to make sure it didn’t happen again.

When I’m not working:

I like to play poker—and play well. I first learned to play at PEAK6 last year when we launched Poker Power, an initiative with the goal of teaching 1 million women to play poker as a means to gain confidence and hone strategic thinking and decision-making skills. Poker teaches you a lot about risk and reward, and how to think differently. Since I learned, I’ve participated regularly in our PEAK6 POWER tournaments. I read poker books and try to improve online. During the quarantine, I taught my friends and sisters how to play poker. [Want to learn to play? Enroll in Poker Power lessons here.]

Tech for the greater good:

I’d like to use my technology skills to help small businesses launch websites or grow their businesses through technology. Growing up in Saigon, Vietnam, there were many very small businesses—shop owners with a stall on the street or perhaps a tiny storefront. I’d like to help people leverage technology to support their business success.

Best part of my job:

I get to learn about new technologies and know a lot about the business aspect of any project I work on. I can’t think of any project where I haven’t understood the business, the impact of our work on customers, and the reasons behind it.