Cointelegraph continues publishing interviews with prominent guests of BlockShow Asia 2017, that took place in Singapore in November 2017.
This time we talked to Joshua Lavin, who is currently working with block.one to assist in the development of the EOS.IO Blockchain software. He has been involved in product development since 2010, managing distributed teams to deliver digital solutions in a variety of industries and markets.
Before getting involved in software, Josh worked as a professional political operative in the US, and also as a consultant for several NGOs in fundraising and event planning. Originally from Boston, he has lived and worked in Hong Kong for eight years.
Cointelegraph: What is your first impression of BlockShow Asia this year? How do you feel this morning?
Joshua Lavin: So far so good! Obviously it’s still early, but it’s really clear that there is a lot of excitement in the room. In the last year, it’s been really terrific to go to conference and just see more and more people and more different types of people starting to get into the crypto space and into the Blockchain world. Having a huge conference like this is really a great way to interact with that and to meet a lot of new fun people.
CT: What inspired you to enter the crypto community?
JL: I think a lot of people - I was introduced to it by a friend. I didn’t really have an ah-ah moment. A lot of people talk about having that flash of Bitcoin, but that didn’t really happen for me it was more of a gradual process. What really got me excited about the space and what got me interested was the application of Blockchain in terms of product development. The types of products and the ways we can deliver value to users that Blockchain enables are I think are just different and transformative compared to what we have seen in the past. So for me, that’s what really got me into it and what keeps me really excited to be in the space.
CT: If to address the crypto community what would you tell today, in the period of rises and falls?
JL: Obviously it’s been a wild ride! I would say two things. First of all, it’s more a testament to how much mainstream acceptance there is starting to be. Three, four years ago there was really no guarantee this was going to be a successful space, but now I think that it’s pretty clear that Blockchain is here to stay.
If you are a developer, develop!
But I guess what I would say is two things. One -- everyone looks like a genius in a full market. So things are going up all investments look good. The other piece is just like in 1994 with the Internet. We knew there was a ton of value there and a ton of things were going to come out of it but nobody could have predicted, and even the ones who did predict it probably would not have thought they were right, nobody could have predicted which direction it was going to go. I would say stay open, stay interested and involved, always be reading and talking. If you are a developer, develop! Add value to the Blockchain universe. If you are not getting involved in other ways, there is room for absolutely everybody to help grow this space.
CT: It’s really a motto. What is inspiring you with the EOS project?
JL: The great thing about EOS is that it’s a general purpose Blockchain. It basically handles your data layer and your communications layer, so what that means is your business logic and your user interface…Sorry to get a little too tacky, the user interface is a sort of the graphical things that we touch, we feel, and we see and the business logic is basically the layer underneath it. This is the peace that governs what the application can and can’t do, what it should do or shouldn’t do – that would be a better way to say it. When you put those things together, how do you use this product and then what are the things that are due to get value of this product – that’s really what EOS is built to support. I’d say, I think there’s a number of ways people can use the Blockchain. It’s really going to be up to the developers to find things they are passionate about and find things that make them want to get up in the morning and work on a product. I’m just very excited to see one’s life and excited to see what types of projects get into it.
CT: How do you want to get people to use EOS?
JL: I’m a products person, my background has always been in product development and I view the people who want to build DApps, decentralized applications, I view them as the primary users of EOS. The best way for me, as far as I’m concerned, to motivate them is to build the best platform to develop a DApp. If we can look back in a year and say that we now succeeded when other people are saying, “If you are going to build a DApp, build it on EOS.”
The best software is really art
CT: You mentioned to be open to the world, to read, to watch… What was the recent book that actually impressed you the most? What would you advise to our readers?
JL: It’s actually an old-school book that’s come up. It always comes up irrelevant tonight. I’ve just finished re-reading it on a flight here. It’s not a Blockchain book; it’s actually much older than that – it’s called “The Mythical Man-Month” – it’s an explanation and an exploration of what it takes to successfully build software. I think the author really understands the best software.
We like to talk about it, I think, we like to teach it in many ways as a hard science, but the best software is really art. The code is just a medium, so rather than painting you use code to express yourself artistically through software. I think that he has a very good grasp of that nuance, but also it’s a very clear-headed approach to the fact that, you know, you’re managing, you’re working with a large number of developers, everyone with their own understanding.
It can be very hard to deliver things on time, schedule… and he talks about his lessons – he was one of the very first operating system designers. He had done software called OS/360 which predates us by 13 years. He had managed huge teams and, actually, he talks very frankly about his failures and lessons he learned. He knew the right way to approach building projects, so if you haven’t read that one, I highly recommend it.
HOST: Thank you very much for your participation and I wish you to enjoy everything that happens.
EOS: I’m sure it’ll happen!