John C. Lin


I was borin in Taiwan and raised in a Mexican-American neighborhood in Southeast Los Angeles.  Naturally curious, the two contrasting settings provided the perfect background for me to explore and learn about different cultures and ways of experiencing and understanding the world.  After obtaining my bachelor of science degree in Economics from Caltech, and my doctoral degree in the field of Economics from University of Michigan, I packed up and left the tranquil Mid-West and returned to Los Angeles.

Currently, I am working as a senior data scientist at UberMedia, combining my love for numbers and programming.  Previously, I worked at Headspace, a consumer facing new media company that produces an excellent meditation app.  In that capacity, I was the data science lead and work on various efforts on improving the user experience by building regression and survival models to identify churn.  Before that, I worked at TrueCar, a consumer centric service to improve the car buying experience by providing price transparency to the consumers.

My go-to choice for exploratory data analysis these days is Python Pandas in the Jupyter notebook environment.  The tool is robust but one weakness is that it only works for dataset that can fit into memory.  For out of memory tasks, I have experience writing map-reduce jobs through Python streaming and with PySpark, Spark's Python API.

Before working in the industry, I was trained as an experimental economist, working in the area of applied market design.  In my research, I focused in understanding how people respond to monetary and non-monetary incentives (e.g. social recognition) and apply that understanding to design better markets and institutions.  The two main research methodologies that I employed were controlled laboratory experiments and empirical field studies of online markets such as Amazon.  I leveraged the data that I have collected to test hypotheses generated from economic and psychological theories and make predictions of how people make choices.  (See my Economics Research Projects page for more details.)

Between Caltech and Michigan, I worked as a programmer at the Hacker Experimental Economics Lab at Caltech.  I had the honor and privilege of working with John Ledyard, Colin Camerer, and Peter Bossaerts, three brilliant minds.  I owe a special debt to John Ledyard for his mentorship.  While at Caltech, I developed a novel, web-based financial market to improve trading in thin financial markets.  The software was used in the paper "Inducing Liquidity in Thin Financial Markets Through Combined-Value Trading Mechanisms" by Peter Bossaerts, Leslie Fine, and John Ledyard.  (See my Programming Projects page for more details.)

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and dancing -- from swing, salsa, and hip hop to contemporary, lyrical, and ballet.