Happy New Year, everybody!
2018 sees a few changes in my daily routine. All good ones 🙂
The first change is a physical one. After a year or so working out of coffee shop turned Mexican cafe Tapatio Mexican Cafe and Bar in Kitsilano, I have switched to an office in the Vancouver Financial District with Frontier Foundry. It’s got a great view, and it is a nice change of pace to be Downtown.
I am telling myself that I will force myself to cycle in each day (only ~15mins ride) so that I am doing at least a modicum of exercise each day. We will see how that goes! I’ve not cycled in yet, but do have the doorpass to be able to access the bike cage now, so should probably do so very soon!
My role at Sweetbridge changed just before Christmas too. I started work for Sweetbridge on 23rd October as Principal Developer. When I was first talking to Sweetbridge, I was absolutely certain that I had to drop everything I was doing at ConsenSys and the EEA to go and join this amazing project. What was not clear to me, though, was exactly what position at Sweetbridge would work best for me and for Sweetbridge.
There were two main options – joining the Sweetbridge Alliance side with Mac McGary, or join the R&D/Product side with Glenn Jones. I was a little hesitant to put myself in a position with the Alliance where I was ineffective (or indeed a liability) because of my complete lack of supply chain experience, despite having worked in a similar role at the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance for the previous year. Joining the product team looked like a much safer bet. I have been a software engineer for 20+ years, working on Ethereum for 2.5+ years, wanted to help build a real product, so my choice was made.
Only a week into my time at Sweetbridge though, I was off to Cancun for DEVCON3 (which I still owe the world a blog post about!) That trip had been scheduled for months, and is not something I would have missed for the world. I offered my services, despite being brand new to Sweetbridge, for media interviews, talking to potential partners, alliance building, etc. I do love all that kind of work.
Then I took my first trip to Phoenix (which I also owe the world a blog post about) to meet the team, and the media focus and alliance building continued, in addition to what was meant to be my primary job at Sweetbridge, helping out in numerous roles on the product team (Agile, DevOps, technical leadership, architecture, protocol work). There was no way that I could do all of these things at the same time.
On my second trip to Phoenix on November 20th I got to speak to Scott Nelson face-to-face for the first time. In a conversation I had with Hamid Moutawakkil, Hamid made an excellent point. “Bob, with all the experience you have and value you can bring to Sweetbridge, why are you writing Jenkinsfiles?” He was spot on. I was in the wrong place in the organization. Scott agreed, but it has ended up taking another month or so to get from that conversation to my switch of role. So I am delighted to now be:
This could be seen as me finally “hanging up my boots” as an individual contributor and professional software engineer and moving “into management”. In paradigms past I would be a miserable middle manager now. In this new paradigm it actually means that I get to spend my time talking to fascinating people around the world about the cool projects they are working on, and connecting them to others doing similar things. It means I am spending time engaging with our community, and building alliances and bridges with the EEA, Hyperledger, Microsoft, IBM, ConsenSys and building up the Sweetbridge Alliance. It is going to be absolutely delightful 🙂
Please do come join our Rocket.Chat and our Telegram. As well as my new physical work home, those are my new online homes. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work closer with Melissa Gilmour, Jason English and Ryan Charleston as part of my new role. Melissa has been focused on Events, Jason on Protocol Marketing and Ryan on Social Media. We will work together to tie all of these elements together in a more cohesive message and dynamic community. WATCH OUT WORLD!
So my new office is at Frontier Foundry, who are the only company which I advise (see my Conflict of Interests statement). I first met Boris in 2015, and I am delighted to be part of the Frontier adventure. In addition to the primary product which Frontier are developing, Frontier are acting as the catalyst for growing the blockchain ecosystem here in British Columbia, which is something very close to my heart, and which I am also actively participating in.
See my schedule for 2017 and 2018 to get an idea of the number of Vancouver-focused events and meetups which I am attending. I am making a conscious effort to attend just about every Vancouver-based conference or event, all the BC Blockchain Forum and Blockchain for Product Developers meetings, and will be adding Blockchain @ UBC engagement onto the slate imminently.
During 2015 and 2016 I was hardly part of the Vancouver blockchain scene. All my time was spent remote-working on global initiatives. Well I am changing that focus, and I will also be doing the same for Canada-wide initiatives. I see a huge opportunity for Canada to be world-leading for blockchain. Vitalik is from Toronto. Lots of the Ethereum story has Canadian roots. I want the “next Ethereum” to stay in Canada and not have to move to Switzerland to come to fruition. We should encourage and foster innovation. There is a fabulous opportunity given the state of “South Canada” for us to take the lead here. Both Toronto and Vancouver have great pools of technical and business talent. We should take advantage of that, and turn the tide on the Silicon Valley brain-drain. I plan to be a big part of that.
I will blog more about Frontier Foundry and these BC and Canadian initiatives in the future. In the meantime, here are a few photos of Boris Mann (CEO), Tom Carchrae (CTO) and Chelsea Palmer (Community), just a few of the growing Frontier gang.