Strand Consulting was founded by Mike Strand in 2019 while living in Seattle, Washington. In 2020, Mike and the business moved to Portland, Oregon.

My career has had 4 major phases, each critical to building the broad and deep skills and perspective I bring to my work. More specifically, those phases were:

Data + Financial Analysis

Following my undergraduate degree in Finance at the University of Washington, I went to work in the Strategy, Financial, and Economic (SFE) consulting group at (then “Big 5”) Andersen Consulting’s Seattle office. I spent the next 4 years building numerous custom financial models such as:

  • Pro forma financial statements and discounted cash flow valuations for mergers and acquisitions
  • Business-specific quantitative estimates; such as a time and location-specific cellular traffic forecast to support network enhancements for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics
  • Lost profit and damages calculations supporting for both class action and direct litigation

Usually key assumptions and inputs to our models were derived from analysis of large data sets. This is where SQL, relational data models, data transformation, and data visualization skills took root in my career – and never left.

After Andersen Consulting, I moved into an IT Finance Manager role at Microsoft. Here I spent years working side-by-side with corporate IT leaders on annual budgeting, quarterly forecasting, and monthly close processes. Besides continuing to sharpen my quantitative abilities, I learned:

Mike possessed extra-ordinary data-driven analysis expertise back before ‘big data’ made this talent sexy. He’s a terrific collaborator and listener, which helps him sift through financial, usage, and market data, model it and turn it into relevant insight, and competitive advantage.

Andersen Consulting Manager
  • Managing enterprise-level processes for business and financial decision making
  • How to support, communicate, and collaborate with technology executives with material geographic and fiscal scope
  • Technology vendor management best practices
IT Project and Program Management

You can’t help but love technology working at Microsoft, so the transition to working directly for those IT leaders I supported at Microsoft was a natural one.

I spent the next 5 years deploying and managing corporate IT products and services at Microsoft. The volume of beta and newly released Microsoft products and services to be rolled out (and then supported) globally to hundreds of thousands of employees and vendors is literally non-stop. Whether it was Windows, Office, Exchange, SharePoint, or the myriad of server and tools products, usually my team played a role. Some key muscles I developed during these years were:

As the Area IT Manager of the Eastern US, Mike consistently demonstrated strong leadership and managerial skills – always receiving outstanding feedback from his peers and team. He was also an effective project leader. Based on this he was asked to lead numerous global strategic initiatives – such as our internal Windows 7 deployment. I could always depend on Mike to get things done in a professional manner with the highest levels of quality. Based on Mike’s performance, he received repeated promotions and increasing responsibility.

Microsoft Manager
  • Infrastructure and user support best practices
  • Communication, training, and change management during technology deployments
  • Interacting with enterprise customer CIOs and their leadership teams to share “How Microsoft does IT”.

Somewhere around year 9 at Microsoft I had a realization; I didn’t want to manage technology, I want to make it. As I interviewed for product planner and product manager roles, I ran into some headwinds – the primary feedback being that I wasn’t technical enough.

Repeated rejection is always hard and I was further crestfallen because my newly minted Carnegie Mellon MBA did not seem to be helping me land the job I wanted.

Software Development

So after 10+ years at Microsoft, I quit to learn to code. I’m proud to say I graduated from Code Fellow‘s first ever boot camp; learning Ruby on Rails. After graduation, I worked as a teacher’s assistant in the next Rails boot camp and when Code Fellows announced they were offering an Objective-C boot camp, I was one of the first to sign up.

After 8 months of hanging around Code Fellows, blogging at strandcode.com, and doing coding freelance work off Craigslist, I got my first full-time job as a software engineer at GenUI in Seattle.

I’m forever grateful to GenUI for that opportunity. During my first 2 years there I:

Mike is a very hard worker that you can guarantee will get the job done right the first time. He is very driven and has a unique ability see the whole picture. He is able to quickly learn knew technologies to continually meet the demands of the team.

GenUI Engineering Manager
  • Wrote front and back-end features and bug fixes on over a dozen web and native mobile applications. Principally I worked in Node.js and Objective-C, but there were extended periods working in PHP, Ruby, and even Apache Cordova – all the while leveraging countless open source libraries and frameworks.
  • Lived and learned the day-to-day of being an agile software engineer working on a shared backlog, shared code base, and shared devops practices.
  • Supported application infrastructure across multiple environments and hosting providers; from SSL certs and DNS configuration, adding indexes to an under performing database, to building out an entirely new environment for end-to-end application testing

During these years I also wrote code on number of side projects, some of which are visible on my Github.

Technical Product Management

While I truly loved my experience as a software engineer, my ultimate goal was to be a product manager. Historically, one of our longest standing clients (a former software engineering himself) had directly created their own work items for the engineering team. However, as the application and business grew, that was no longer sustainable.

With my experience in client and customer facing roles and having worked on the code base directly, my transition into the technical product manager role for Refund.me was quite seamless.

Immediately I knew this was my dream job, the perfect balance between art and science. The art of leadership, consensus building, customer focus, design thinking, and just plain creating something beautiful. The science of technical and analytical problem solving to build a logical, performant, scalable, yet flexible solution.

In time, I knew I wanted to try my hand at being a product manage for something with a larger user base and this lead me to Tableau.

As the technical product manager for the Tableau Customer Portal, Mike continually demonstrated a high level of excellence and focus in team leadership, customer advocacy, technical depth, and stakeholder management. With stakeholders and users, Mike brings empathy, business acumen, and technical creativity while defining and delivering solutions. With technical teams, Mike goes deep to earn trust, establish a sound execution plan, and continuously promote the team’s progress and wins. I would hire Mike again in an instant, he was a high performer and fantastic teammate!

Tableau Manager


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