Luis talks about why he is creating Aragon and his long-term vision for it
I have interviewed my cofounder Luis --- Aragon's Project Lead --- and asked him about the future of the project, and his long term vision.
J: Hi Luis, let's go with the interview. Can you start introducing yourself for the people who don't know about the project or you.
Sure. I'm the Project Lead at Aragon --- which at this point in time means doing a lot of stuff, from architecting the UI to talking with a lot of community members and hiring.
I got started with free software when I was 12, and I was amazed by the powerful ideas behind it. I got into the startup world years after, and into the Bitcoin scene in 2012. I cofounded Stampery --- blockchain timestamping made easy --- and I'm still an advisor.
J: You have been involved in the Bitcoin space since you were 16. What are your key takeaways about the crypto-scene? What do you think are the main differences between the Bitcoin and Ethereum communities and which one do you like the most?
The biggest takeaway is that we're truly just getting started. I remember being in Bitcoin conferences years ago and thinking --- oh wow, this is growing fast. Or, oh wow, Bitcoin is too expensive these days. But then you think about how revolutionary the crypto movement is, and you realize that we're still in its baby stage.
For me, the Ethereum ecosystem has been the most welcoming ecosystem ever. And tons of talented developers are joining everyday.
I still love Bitcoin --- I think it's a very good digital gold --- but Ethereum is just the perfect tool to decentralize the world. Things that we couldn't even dream of with Bitcoin are now possible with Ethereum.
J: You were chosen as a Forbes 30 Under 30 and MIT TR35 last year. How do you think that impacted your career?
I was super humdled and I think it opened me a lot of doors. Plus, the more crypto people that are visible in those circles, the better. It's one easy way to reach the mainstream, and to make the world see that the crypto movement is truly made of makers and not scammers or shady people, which is the impression a lot of the mainstream has.
J: Why do you think Aragon is relevant for society?
I made my best to explain that in Decentralized organizations can solve the world's worst problems.
Basically humans trade. We specialize at stuff so we can make things people want, we earn money, and then we spend it to buy the things we want.
This virtuous cycle repeats and it creates wealth and progress. We advance technology and we create a world that provides what we want to have.
However, this very basic process of how we transact and organize with other humans is heavily intermediated. And some of that intermediaries enforce their unjustified power with guns and manipulation tactics.
I hope, I believe, that Aragon can help dismantling some of that power.
J: Where do you see Aragon 5 years from now?
That's a difficult one. We will soon publish a development roadmap with our vision for the next couple of years, but 5 years away it's very hard to make predictions.
But I'll make one. I had the gut feeling that if what you create is more efficient than the alternative, people will adopt it. However, it's hard to think that people would switch away from powerful institutions like governments or banks. Those institutions have been here for a while and just feel like a natural part of the world. But I believe that creating a more efficient alternative, people will just switch. And they do.
Plus we're seeing that already, with people that want to use Aragon instead of the traditional route, just because of the efficiency it brings.
I feel 5 years from now this can reach the mainstream, and people will feel natural organizing around Aragon.
J: As we mentioned before, we have been working for many years together now, to the point that we are extremely productive. What are the key tips to keep a team motivated towards the same vision?
Indeed, we're extremely productive working together. I think values are the core of everything. In our case, we stand for freedom. We want to die in a world that is more free than the one we arrived to.
From that core value, we built the vision. Which is the thing that we uniquely can build to empower freedom? In our case, it's making decentralized organizations widespread.
And finally, it's all about getting it down to the steps to achieve that vision.
If problems arise, all you need is to step back and repeat the previous thought process. If the team still shares the same core values, they will be aligned and motivated. Of course management is very complex, so this is an oversimplification --- but a very useful one.
J: How does your work day look like?
The first thing I do --- after breakfast, obviously! --- is to see if there's any urgent stuff I need to do. If not, I try to reply as many emails as possible, and then I switch to the 3--4 main tasks that I have for the day.
Obviously, being such a small team, I need to do a lot of smaller tasks --- maybe even tens of them a day --- but I try to focus on that 3--4 core tasks.
I try to concentrate all my calls and meetings for Friday, and leave the rest of the week to do deep work sessions.
Specially these last weeks we have had to take multiple important decisions for the project, so sometimes I just sit down with my whiteboard and take time to think, evaluate the information I have, and make a decision.
It's crazy how undervalued *thinking time *is these days that we're all overflowed with information and displays. If you can invest a little time on making the right move, isn't that better than making 1,000 wrong moves?
J: Can you talk a little bit about your hobbies?
I regularly DJ, I love house music. Usually I record my own mixes so I can listen to them while working. I'm kind of a music freak. I just counted that I have 66 Spotify playlists 😅. I used to produce it as well, but it's super time-consuming and right now Aragon demands most of my time.
I also enjoy basketball, and play it a few times a week. Since I'm in front of a display most day, going out and seeing the sun feels refreshing!
Oh, and finally, I have started to enjoy food by eating healthy stuff, after years of eating processed food. Here's a photo of me holding the largest pizza you have ever seen. I don't know if that's very healthy though 🍕
This was Luis, Project Lead at Aragon. Follow Luis on Twitter.