Erik Bernhardsson    About


I live in NYC and since Feb 2015 I’m the Head of Engineering of Better — a company rethinking how mortgages are done.

Before Better, I was at Spotify for nearly 6 years. I spent 2.5 years in Stockholm managing the “Analytics” team and then 3.5 years in NYC building up and managing the machine learning team. I built the first version of (and most of the sauce still powering) Spotify’s music recommendations, such as “Related Artists”, Radio, Discover Weekly, etc.

At Spotify I also open source a couple of tools including Luigi — a workflow engine with 6,000+ stars and 200+ contributors, and Annoy — a library to do find approximate nearest neighbors in high dimensional spaces. There are some other more silly open source projects at my personal Github.

Besides blogging, I also tweet random things every once in a while.

I joined Spotify after graduating with a M. Sc. in Physics from KTH in Stockholm, where I’m originally from. Earlier I also spent six months at Google in Zürich. I also worked briefly with high frequency trading and a couple of other things. In school I started two companies which had some initial success but then faded away.

I enjoy giving talks if there’s something I know a lot about. Previously I’ve talked about approximate nearest neighbors, Luigi, and machine learning for music recommendations. I am the co-organizer of the NYC Machine Learning meetup which has talks once a month.

Earlier in my life I spent some time with programming competitions. I have a gold medal from IOI and I participated in the ACM-ICPC world finals twice. In high school I won the Swedish physics competition as well as the Swedish programming competition.

When I write code I usually do it in Python, but historically I’ve used a lot of C/C++ and a fair amount of JavaScript. I’ve also had to do PHP, Perl, Matlab, Java, and R professionally. I still write code about 50% of my time, but focus a lot more on management now, including recruiting and how to build a performance culture. Most of what I’ve been doing last few years has been machine learning, data engineering, and backend development.

I live in the West Village with my wife Bridget, our daughter Astrid, and two cats. I’m a big fan of electronic music, in particular things going back to the roots in Detroit/Chicago. I grew up playing the piano for 10+ years but eventually programming was taking away all the time from making music.

Other random fact: I never had a TV or a car.