Gorka joins Aragon One as a Frontend Developer. He has a long background working in tech and likes to experiment with new tech and software.
Welcome to the team Gorka!
Could you start by telling us about yourself. What have you worked on in the past, what do you like to do on your spare time?
I was born in Mexico City, enjoyed one too many years in that chaotic city and then moved to a small town in the Mexican Caribbean, Playa del Carmen. A couple of years later I undertook the project to travel all around Mexico and create an online travel guide that promoted Mexico through its cultural and natural aspects. It was super fun and tiring too. I got to visit amazing places, met incredible people, received a journalism award and the guide was successful in the sense that people were using it to plan their travels. It was super fun to receive comments from users saying that they had visited some destination because they found it in the guide.
Then this project's cycle ended, and I decided to move to Argentina. An amazing country with equally amazing people. And ice cream! Hands down the only flavor I care for and one of the things I miss the most about Argentina, they have the best mascarpone ice cream.
I learned a lot from their tech scene (most of the Latin American successful startups have come from that country). I worked in some super fun projects like Iamat and Taringa!, created my own travel guide to Mendoza and a Wineries guide. A couple of years ago I moved to Barcelona and sometime after I found Aragon.
On my spare time, if I have time, I play video games. I really like RPGs where you get to improve by doing, researching and having fun. I love wine tasting. When I created the Wineries guide, I was lucky enough to visit more than 50 wineries, and I gotta say it was super fun to try out all those wines. I also love surfing, kitesurfing, and snowboarding and try to go for it as much as I can.
After your extensive experience working on technology, what brought you over to the blockchain space?
A while ago I started working with P2P technologies. It was mostly for side experiments as I want to continue learning and trying out cool new stuff. As I was experimenting, I imagined how some tools could scale up if it were possible to remove servers from the infrastructure. One downside to this setup is trust. I asked myself how could I scale up these tools if I had no way to make sure the different clients were honest. Simply obscuring some details would not cut it, as more tech-savvy users could read into the code and modify it as they pleased. Trust had to come from the protocol level.
Eventually, I discovered the crypto networks and realized the importance these would have and started learning about them. There it was, this world of incredible ideas that could be achieved with computers connecting directly to one another. In a trustless manner instead of having a centralized point of truth.
When I read about smart contracts I was shocked (I think I still am!). Being able to run arbitrary software in random computers belonging to a network in a trustless yet reliable fashion is just amazing. I created a couple of dApps that use IPFS as their backbone and work in a decentralized manner, and it became apparent to me that these dApps lacked means to really fulfill their potential and that's when I started learning about Ethereum. Ethereum makes it possible to execute scripts in the decentralized network as part of your dApp's infrastructure/processes, and this helped me imagine how to fill in the gaps for my dApps.
I really like projects like Golem, Althea, Status, Storj, MakerDAO, Pando and DAppNode. I keep learning about new projects every day, and it excites me to see people coming up with great ideas that will add value to their users (to all of us in one way or another).
From all the fascinating in the space, what drew you to Aragon?
There are two situations that definitely need disruption. Aragon is creating tools that will stop those situations and bring transparency to the way organizations interact.
Geopolitical barriers have always been ridiculous to me. I mean, I've visited towns that have been divided by an invisible frontier. So just because someone happened to be on one side or the other, they receive different benefits from their productive activities. A while ago there was this tweet that said banks in India are able to shut down accounts if they find users trading in cryptocurrencies. This is backward thinking to me. Instead of embracing the future that will empower us all, they try to stop it using their traditional means, and I think this will continue to happen.
Then there are some people taking advantage of their position to obtain and maintain benefits by abusing others. As central authorities in organizations gain too much power over individuals, they tend to abuse such power. I've seen it one too many times when interacting with governments.
Decentralized organizations can level the playing field by removing unnecessary steps and being transparent about the whole process flow. The Internet and new technologies gave us all a fighting chance against powerful organizations that can abuse their situation to maintain power and exploit individuals.
These tools provide another fighting chance against that and a way to demonstrate that people can truly organize themselves in a trustless decentralized manner to achieve common goals. So when I found out about Aragon, it was clear that our mission and goals aligned with each other. So right away I wanted to be part of this movement.
How do you envision the future being like for Aragon and the world?
In the more closer future I see Aragon being widely used in lower scale organizations. Such as friends getting together to pool resources for a common activity (such as amateur sports); families using Aragon to organize their resources; people living in the same building using these tools to organize themselves; and then, groups of groups of people, I mean, organizations of organizations getting together and using Aragon as well.
For the longer term, I imagine a future where humanity has settled across the solar system, and the Web3 tools are helping people connect and communicate in a space where real-time will be hard (communication from Earth to Mars can take 3 to 22 minutes even at the speed of light). We can see the same kinds of problems in our planet today too: people without fast connection speed rely on centralized infrastructure to communicate and this can and has been exploited (remember how Egypt decided to shut down their Internet connection?).
Of course, that's still far away from where we are today. For now, there's still a big leap to start using dApps in general. Making it easier for anyone to access these tools from a mobile device will help reach that wider audience.
What are some of the things you're looking to bring into Aragon and how the team works from your past experiences?
A couple of ideas I keep with me:
- Ship early and as often as possible, get feedback, iterate and go back to shipping early.
- Quality is a bar, and you do not bargain with quality. Good quality is part of the minimum requirements.
I am super focused on delivering products. I like to plan my work in an iterative manner, in a way that I create something that is usable and then improve on it, instead of working on a product for a long time without being able to give it a test run.
The picture below helps describe my way of approaching work
Teamwork in cross-functional areas is essential. Design, Product, and Engineering have to work hand in hand to plan (and plan correctly) to focus on the right aspects of what we're building. There is a limited amount of time and being able to focus on the right things is an efficient way to build things quickly.
Each teammate has their own motivations that align with Aragon's mission, and it is their responsibility to maintain their course. Aragon as a team follows the leadership of both Luis and Jorge, and it is their role as leaders to help us focus our energy to stay on the path. The Aragon network is the top layer that will demonstrate the power of the tools we are building by showing how to organize itself using these same tools.
Thank you for your insights Gorka!
Be sure to follow Gorka on Twitter!