Hey there! I'm Shanif - a young professional with a background in technology and a passion for investing and trading. I've been developing software since 1997 and have been trading options profitably since 2008.
I have a BS in Computer Science and Systems & Information Engineering, and recently earned my MBA, focusing on Quantitative Finance and Entrepreneurship. These days, I focus on generating high returns with options trading and building up a successful mobile software business.
People, Places, Things - My Best Shots
November Fitness Recap
Here are the results for November. I was out of town for a while so they aren’t as great as I could have hoped for. Lots more work to do.
|Metric||End of October||End of November||Change|
|Weight||190.8 lbs.||192 lbs.||+1.2 lbs.|
|Waist to bicep ratio||2.333||2.408||+.075|
|Lean body mass||152.7 lbs.||153.7 lbs.||+1.0 lbs.|
|Fat||38.1 lbs.||38.3 lbs.||+.2 lbs.|
|Body Fat percentage||19.95%||19.95%||-|
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Groggy No More
Every now and then I like to write about tech devices, gadgets, or software that I makes my life easier. For a while now, I’ve been wanting to write about an app that has very real, practical use, and that I’ve found to make me much more productive.
I, like virtually everyone else out there, have major issues with waking up early, which is a major problem for me since I find myself to be incredibly productive whenever I have some extra time in the morning to workout and get some work done. I’ve tried a bunch of things to solve this issue. Everything from setting 5 staggered alarms before I go to bed to buying a Clockie to writing software that will delete a random file on my computer if I don’t get up in time to deactivate it.
In pretty much all cases, I’ve outsmarted myself – usually by deactivating or turning off my alarms and then going to sleep for another couple of hours. Usually, this happens because I’m fighting myself. Whenever I used to wake up, I was always in a groggy, half-asleep state, a state that my willpower just couldn’t compete against. And that’s because I was fighting my normal sleep patterns.
Queue Sleep Cycle, an app that’s actually able to detect your sleep patterns and wake you when you’re in your lightest stage of sleep. I know this sounds ridiculous and like a scam, but I’ll tell you that I’ve been using this thing for about 6 months now, and it has done wonders. These days, whenever I wake up, I’m never groggy (unless I’ve only gotten less than 5 hours of sleep – no app can solve that problem yet). Whenever I use Sleep Cycle, it’s much easier for me to get out of bed and start doing the things I want to do in the morning.
The app itself has a relatively straightforward interface. You basically turn it on at night, put it under your bed, and it uses the accelerometer in your phone to track your phases of sleep. You give it a thirty minute window for when you want to wake up in the morning, then, it predicts when your lightest phase of sleep will be during that timeframe and it plays a soft tune (of your choice) to wake you up. It’s great, and for me, it just works.
I don’t wake up 100% of the time when it goes off, but that’s usually not due to me being groggy, anymore. At this point, it’s mostly habit, and as long as I don’t have my own biology fighting against me, I can take my normal steps to break that habit.
I’d encourage everyone that has issues with waking up to give the app a shot. It’s not free, but come on, a couple of bucks to ensure you wake up every day is a no-brainer. Try it out and let me know what you think!View comments →
October Fitness Recap
Last month I started my latest cutting cycle. It wasn’t the best or most focused that it could have been, but it’s a good start. This will likely be a long-term effort, so I’m getting ready for the long haul
Here’s how things were looking at the end of October:
|Metric||End of September||End of October||Change|
|Weight||191.2 lbs.||190.8 lbs.||-0.4 lbs.|
|Waist to bicep ratio||2.326||2.333||.007|
|Lean body mass||153.1lbs.||152.7 lbs.||-0.4 lbs.|
|Body Fat percentage||19.95%||19.95%||-|
Overall, October was a relatively low key month – not a lot of change. Ultimately, I set the stage for losing fat, but there’s a lot more to do. In November and December I’ll be traveling a bit, so hopefully I’ll find ways to make progress, even with that said.View comments →
September Fitness Recap
September was my first full month of my cutting cycle. The goal is to lose not only the fat that I built up during the bulking cycle, but also all the fat I’ve gained in 2 years of business school, 5 months of sleeping on a couch, and just being a generally unhealthy person. In terms of measurable goals, I’m aiming to get down to 8% bodyfat.
Here’s how things were looking at the end of September:
|Metric||End of August||End of September||Change|
|Waist to bicep ratio||2.372||2.326||-0.046|
|Lean body mass||157lbs.||153.1lbs.||-3.9lbs.|
|Body Fat percentage||21%||19.95%||-1.05%|
So you can see that I lost a little bit of fat and a little bit of LBM. I’m not too worried about the loss in muscle just yet, as a lot of it is probably water. I’m going to take a very moderated approach at trying to do just enough cardio to achieve results, and reduce my calories by just enough to put my body in a calorie deficit. The majority of what I eat has stayed the same, but I’ve cut down some meals to be smaller, and I’ve also done my best to eliminate sugar (so doing things like switching from flavored Greek yogurt to plain). Sugar is a huge contributor to not only obesity but also a variety of other health issues in this country and it’ll do me a lot of good to start reducing it.
That’s it for now, I’ll keep you updated as I make more progress.View comments →
August 2013 Fitness Recap
Updated stats from August:
- Suprailiac measurement: 20.5″
- Weight: 200.6 lbs
- Waist below navel: 38.25″
- Bicep flexed: 16.063″
- Waist to bicep ratio: 2.381
- Lbs. muscle: 158.5
- Lbs. fat: 42.1
- BFP: 21.00%
In the middle of August, I switched from doing a bulking phase (that lasted about 7 months) to a new cutting phase. I’m still in the transition phase, where I’m slowly cutting calories and increasing cardio, which makes August more of an irrelevant month when it comes to stats, but it is important to note that the transition to the cutting phase has not been easy. There are a lot of distractions, and doing cardio several times a week is hard when you start cold turkey, but I’m looking forward to the challenge, since this gets me on the road to my ultimate goal, which is to reach 8% body fat. Hopefully there will be more to update next month.View comments →
Learning To Enjoy The Journey
Those of you that know me well know that I’m nothing if not ambitious. There are things inside me that compel me to always aim for goals I know I’ll never reach, to work harder than I probably should for successes that will very likely never play out, to always, always shoot for my next milestone while ignoring all others I’ve already surpassed. These are defining characteristics of who I am as a person, and I’d be lying if I said I wanted it all to change.
These same characteristics, though, the same ones that lead me to my occasional successes and moments of joy, play their part in making my life a series of constant emotional struggles. Struggles where I fight feelings of having “not achieved anything” and having failed at all of my major goals. Struggles where I plan and work and push to achieve my next big accomplishment, all so I can avoid having to feel the same disappointing feelings for a little while longer, before they come on again. Struggles where everything I do will fall short, purely because who I am as a person means that every new goal I set for myself will always be bigger and more unreachable than the previous.
It’s time to break the cycle.
I’ve learned that living life in this way, always striving and pushing and working hard for the next big thing because I’m never satisfied with where I am at any given moment, is just pointless. It’s dumb. And on top of it all, it’s probably counterproductive to achieving the goals that I set for myself.
Most of life is about the process, about the progress, about the struggle itself. The moments where goals are hit and milestones are achieved are fleeting and much more transitory than the road that it takes to reach them. The amount of time spent on that road is far, far greater than the amount of time spent alongside it, pausing to enjoy an accomplishment. And if the only times I stop to enjoy life are during those pauses, nearly all my life will be an unhappy, unsatisfied journey where I’m never content with anything.
That can’t happen.
I can’t live a life where the majority of it is spent trying to avoid negative emotions all by trying to use those very same emotions to fuel a fire in me to get the next big thing. It’s exhausting. It’s unsustainable. And it takes the joy out of things that I should be finding enjoyable.
Everyone has heard some variation of the quote “it’s not the destination but the journey that truly matters.” It’s funny, because when you actually do a search for that, you see an unbelievable amount of highly successful people that have the same philosophy. It seems, ironically enough, that those who achieve true success know that it’s ultimately not the successes that make the difference in life. It’s a simple change in my mindset, but it’s one that will make all the difference.
This is how I have to approach things going forward. And that’s not to say that I’ll stop working and planning and striving to hit my goals. In fact, I think it means the opposite. It means that I’ll stop to take time to appreciate what I have, the people around me, the incredibly fortunate situation in life that I’ve been given. It means I’ll take more time to connect with my friends. It means I’ll build stronger relationships. It means I won’t be so focused and so blinded by a distant goal that I neglect and forget the things that matter now.
No, ultimately, it means that I’ll be better equipped to achieve the goals that I do set. And though they’ll all take a while, I’ll arrive at my destinations better prepared, and in better spirits, than I would have if I had just plowed towards them without any thought or pause for everything around me.
I’ve already noticed a lift in my mood and demeanor, not to mention the way I look at things in life. Being able to recognize that just because I’m not where I want to be, it doesn’t mean I’ll never get there, has lifted a load off my shoulders. It’s funny how such a simple little action, a change in my own mind and thoughts and way of looking at things, can so drastically affect my day-to-day life.
There’s no doubt that I’m still going to be driven to achieve; there are things in me that will never allow me to change that about myself, even if I wanted to. I still truly believe that, all else being the same, achieving a major goal overshadows the actual process of achieving it. I still don’t believe that the journey itself is the destination. But I know now that living only for the destination is a mistake. One that I aim to correct, starting now. I’m going to have fun along the way.
Image from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/886117View comments →
July 2013 Fitness Recap
Updated stats from July:
- Suprailiac measurement: 20″
- Weight: 198.4 lbs
- Waist below navel: 37.75″
- Bicep flexed: 16″
- Waist to bicep ratio: 2.359
- Lbs. muscle: 157.4
- Lbs. fat: 41
- BFP: 20.65%
July was somewhat of a lost month. My progress hit a wall and I gained a little bit of fat and not much muscle. I think my body has gained back all the muscle I lost over the past couple of years and I’m now hitting a wall as I try to build up new muscle (which, for those of you that lift, know is a very tough thing to do).
I probably didn’t eat enough clean calories, so that affected me negatively. I also find myself with a little bit less energy and a bit more sluggish sometimes. That could be due to stress or poor sleep habits (though I did get an awesome app called SleepCycle that wakes me up when I’m in my lightest stage of sleep). But my guess is that my lack of cardio activity and sedentary lifestyle (other than the morning gym) has contributed to that. So starting from the next Monday, I’ll be shifting into a cutting cycle where I try to lose some of this fat that’s built up over the past few month.
My ultimate goal is and always has been to get down into the single digits in terms of body fat percentages. I’m aiming to hit 8% by the end of the year. Wish me luck (and dedication)!View comments →
June Fitness Recap
Updated stats from June:
- Suprailiac measurement: 19″
- Weight: 196.6 lbs
- Waist below navel: 37.75″
- Bicep flexed: 16″
- Waist to bicep ratio: 2.359
- Lbs. muscle: 157.4
- Lbs. fat: 39.2
- BFP: 19.95%
June was a mixed month for me. I gained some muscle but also gained some fat and came down a bit on bicep measurements. It’s most likely due to the fact that I had a rest week last month, and the following week I lost a lot of time when I had to skip the gym due to being sick. No excuses though.
I’ve got a ways to go until I reach my goals, and it’s time to make it happen.View comments →
May Fitness Recap
A couple of days late, but here it is, quick post on my progress in May:
- Suprailiac measurement: 19″
- Weight: 194.4 lbs
- Waist below navel: 36.75″
- Bicep flexed: 16.125″
- Waist to bicep ratio: 2.279
- Lbs. muscle: 155.6
- Lbs. fat: 38.8
- BFP: 19.95%
Slow and steady progress is continuing. I gained about 1.5 pounds of muscle and around .4″ on the bicep. Still have a couple of months to go before I can hit all my goals (10 pullups in a row – done, 165 lbs. of muscle, 16.5″ biceps), but I’m gonna get there. It’s just a matter of progressive overload and eating the right stuff in the right quantities.
More stats next month.View comments →
April Fitness Recap
For those of you that have been following my ramblings on this blog, you’ll know that every month I post an update on my fitness stats. To recap, my long-term goals for 2013 are to get down to 8% bodyfat. However, my medium-term goals are actually a bit different, and possibly in conflict. Since I lost so much muscle mass over the past few months (and probably a lot more during business school), my medium-term goals are to build that muscle back up before trying to cut down again.
In any case, I’ve been making slow progress, as is to be expected when trying to gain muscle. Here were my stats at the end of April:
- Suprailiac measurement: 19″
- Weight: 193 lbs
- Waist below navel: 36.75″
- Bicep flexed: 15.875″
- Waist to bicep ratio: 2.315
- Lbs. muscle: 154.5
- Lbs. fat: 38.5
- BFP: 19.95%
April was an interesting month. I gained a lot of muscle and weight, but also put on some fat. I was traveling for two weekends, which undoubtedly threw off my routine a bit, though ultimately, it seems as if the time I took off from weight lifting actually helped my body to recover faster. Stay tuned for the May update in a month.View comments →
I manage, implement, and utilize big data, business intelligence, automated analytics, and large scale technology at TapCommerce to help companies retain and acquire their best mobile customers, increasing their ROI on investment in mobile technologies.
TapCommerce is the leader in mobile retargeting. We're trusted by the most successful mobile brands to deliver customers, revenue, and return on investment across mobile platforms. TapCommerce is a venture-backed mobile technology company headquartered in New York City's Union Square. Learn more at tapcommerce.com
• Design, architect, implement, test, and monitor the company’s core real-time demand-side platform, handling 40,000 requests per second. Implemented concurrent, multi-threaded Java code, enterprise grade application servers, and big data systems on the AWS cloud infrastructure
• Designed and implemented the analytical and technical process that enabled the company to advertise to mobile web users, enabling the company to increase its product offering and client base by 2x
• Optimize campaign performance through the use of statistical methods and machine learning algorithms
• Set and manage the company’s roadmap for expansion into features centered on data analytics
• Key driver of the company’s technical interview process, designing coding challenges, questions, and cooperative work sessions designed to determine a candidate’s technical aptitude and cultural fit
• Manage financial costs and create projections for the company’s technical infrastructure
• Drove thousands of dollars of weekly revenue by developing e-commerce capabilities for the company’s flagship app. Used Java and Objective-C to create a mobile app for displaying and selling products, integrated with a payment gateway, and managed software and server infrastructure used by hundreds of thousands of users every month
Founded an investment club focused on generating consistent, periodic income by using the aid of custom-developed analytic methodologies and computer programs to trade options
• Generated an average annualized return of 40%
• Coordinated the research and analysis efforts for myself and two partners
• Developed and automated several quantitative analysis algorithms that assist in the investment process by providing rankings of publicly traded companies based on financial fundamentals, listings of stocks with the highest options premiums, and predictions of stock movement based on trending and momentum criteria. Created the algorithms using the fundamental principles of weighted trade studies and later automated them using Ruby on Rails
• Created a website that enables the publication of investment articles and provides access to the aforementioned automated algorithms, a portfolio management tool, and educational resources
• Performed market research on publicly traded companies, focusing on industry standing, historical performance, competitive advantage, and future prospects
• Managed legal, financial, accounting, logistics, long-term strategy, and investment objectives
Software developer and member of founding teamoGolf
Member of the management team on an early stage startup that developed technology to provide data analytics and game management software for golfers.
• Created a website allowing golfers to review a comprehensive set of analytics about their game
• Developed financial projections and investor presentations, presented the new business and software at conferences, pitched to potential investors, and demoed the product to customers
• Developed strategy and marketing plans for growing the business
• Recruited new talent to assist with software development, marketing, and operations
AssociateBooz Allen Hamilton
Provided information and communications management solutions to public and private organizations as an IT consultant at a large, multi-national consulting organization.
• Managed timelines, resources, and a staff of up to 10 software developers and testers in the technical implementation of a project management application that allowed over 4,500 users on 500 projects to easily collaborate on key deliverables, organize project schedules, review budgets, and create financial projections. Coordinated the efforts of staff from multiple departments across the firm to implement a new development process that reduced the number of hours needed to create and test new software by more than 50%, eliminated the need for overtime work, and ensured the timely delivery of new functionality. Received a performance award for ensuring product quality, meeting deadlines, and effectively managing personnel
• Led and managed the technical implementation, logistics, timelines, and activities of myself and two other developers in the delivery of a web-based traffic simulation engine that provided a testbed for industry-specific application developers to test their proprietary algorithms. Received a performance award for “leading the team and ensuring critical deadlines were achieved without sacrificing quality.”
• Assisted in domain administration for a server farm consisting of SharePoint front-end web servers, Microsoft SQL Servers, domain controllers, and a SAN
• Lead developer for a Ruby on Rails and Flex-based application designed to automate the deployment of SOA-based military service offerings. Implemented a RESTful methodology for saving and delivering data to a Flex front end
• Participated in university recruiting and interview efforts for the firm. Provided recommendations that led to the hiring of approximately one-quarter of the total staff on sub-team, as well as the hiring of approximately 30 junior staff straight from college
• Progressively increased managerial responsibilities over the course of two promotions in three years
Software DeveloperWamily, LLC
Member of the management team on an early stage startup that developed web-based group communication, management, and coordination software.
• Worked with a team of web developers to create an Internet business centered on a website that would allow its users to easily manage and interact with their real-life groups in an online setting
• Developed widgets for communication and collaboration, permission models and security implementations, and user interfaces for site features
• Assisted in recruiting 500 alpha users and raising $20,000 in angel investments
• Participated in board meetings to determine long-term strategies
Intern Research AssistantBooz Allen Hamilton
Provided research and development support as a technology intern to a large, multi-national consulting firm.
• Provided a fully functional, database-backed web application for use by overseas military personnel in a shortened timeframe of 3 weeks as part of a 3-person development team
• Created a collaboration site that provided Navy leadership with near-real time critical information to streamline the decision making process in the Navy Gulf Coast Region in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
• Designed and created several web part solutions using APIs from Active Directory, Microsoft MapPoint, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft SharePoint
• Created a Macromedia flash proof-of-concept dashboard for a status reporting application integrated with SharePoint
Researcher and Lead DeveloperUniversity of Virginia
Developed software, created algorithms, and analyzed information management processes that would optimize the battery life on micro-sensor hardware devices as part of a university thesis project.
• Coordinated the efforts of a five-member team focused on developing an approach to optimize the use of resources on wireless sensor networks
• Designed, implemented, and maintained a simulation engine capable of simulating enemy solider movement and sensor network functionality in customized, loadable, user-defined scenarios. The application was written in C#, supported XML-based loadable scenario files, and utilized various optimization algorithms (such as Dijkstra’s algorithm and A*). The simulation engine provided users with an intuitive graphical user interface for simulation control as well as the ability to view and report on simulation progress
• Performed statistical and quantitative analysis on results to determine optimal resource allocation policy for the tested scenarios
• Lead author and presenter of a paper at the IEEE Systems and Information Engineering Design Symposium describing results
Researcher and DeveloperPersonal and Academic Projects
Developed a variety of software for a myriad of purposes on several different platforms and programming languages.
• Developed and tested a C# desktop weight management application using Access as the database backend, and later migrated it to the Internet using PHP and MySQL
• Lead developer on a team that created, documented, and tested robot control and communication software for the Evolution ER1 robot. The software allowed users to remotely control the robot by way of a specially created communications protocol
• Developed a prototype for an interactive Macromedia Flash map that retrieves external data and allows users to easily view them in a geographically organized format
• Created a discrete event queuing model simulation of a dining facility located on campus using Rockwell Arena, based on data gathered and interpreted by the project group
• Created a prototype Peer-to-Peer application based on the Gnutella search and communication protocol in Microsoft Visual Studio .NET using C# and TCP/IP socket programming
Branch ManagerCollege Works Painting
Participated in an internship designed to hone and cultivate the entrepreneurial skills of college students by allowing them to run their own local branch of a large, nationwide business.
• Operated a local house painting business, which generated over $15,000 worth of gross revenue in contracts with 25+ clients
• Responsible for sales, payroll, recruitment, operations, customer relations, and marketing
VolunteerAmerican Red Cross
Volunteered as a member of the executive management board of the youth community service organization of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Red Cross.
• Served as president (2001-2002), vice president (2000-2001), and member of a local youth community service organization as part of the National Capital Chapter of the American Red Cross
• Managed and coordinated the execution of various community service projects and their logistics, including fund-raising, logistics, marketing, and management of personnel
• Served as one of five United States youth representatives to the international Youth Exchange in 2000
• Received various formal volunteer recognitions
• Gained skills in leading multi-person projects, effective communication, and time management
Master of Business AdministrationNYU Stern School of Business
Completed two years of a rigorous MBA program at a top business school, focusing on acquiring the skills required to improve my trading activities and start a new business.
• Graduated with specializations in Quantitative Finance and Entrepreneurship and Innovation
• First Year Activities: Associate Vice President of Technology for the Stern Hedge Fund Association and Associate Vice President of Communications for the Entrepreneurs Exchange Club
• Member of the Technology and New Media Group and the Association for Investment Management and Research
• Completed one course on Doing Business in China at the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University
• Studied abroad at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy
Bachelor of ScienceUniversity of Virginia
Completed four years of study in the engineering school, focusing on acquiring software development, statistical analysis, modeling, simulation, and data analytic skills.
• Received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and double majored in Systems and Information Engineering
• Received a minor in Math
• Part of a team-oriented effort to improve resource usage in sensor networks. Main author of a paper published at the IEEE Systems and Information Engineering Design Symposium
• Graduated with distinction
• Achieved Dean's List in 3 different semesters
- Name: Shanif Dhanani
- Address: New York, NY, USA
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 703.477.1438