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Head of NGD Seattle John deVadoss recently spoke with Nicholas Merten on episode 20 of his Dashcast series. The pair covered various topics, including NEO3, NeoFS, and developer adoption.

A large portion of the interview was spent discussing deVadoss’ past experience with Microsoft and NEO’s positioning as a platform. Below is a selection of quotes from deVadoss addressing various platform development related subjects.

The full video can be found at this link.

deVadoss’ 17 years at Microsoft

“I had the privilege of working on a variety of initiatives at Microsoft. I led the architecture work for version one of the .NET platform, as well as version two. I had the unique role of helping build up the Azure planning team very early on… back in the 06/07 timeframe, I would say.

I also had the privilege of building up Microsoft Digital. Digital is something that I took from zero to about half a billion in terms of revenue. Think of Digital as much like a McKinsey, but certainly within Microsoft. Our goal at that time within Microsoft was to evangelize and drive adoption of the stack, in particular, Azure. Microsoft realized that to work at the highest levels, to talk with the CEOs, the CFOs, and certainly, beyond the CIOs, you have to talk their language. The language of business.

And so Digital was basically what I built up for Microsoft to work with the Fortune 500 and the Fortune 100 customers, to understand their business goals, to understand their business needs, and then to help them realize their business goals. At that time obviously on the Azure stack. For us here at NEO, with things like the EcoBoost fund… we have the same ability to [incentivize], to motivate developers, as well as very large organizations to shift to building and deploying on the NEO stack. [I] certainly learned a lot along the way.”

Blockchain as a platform

“For the very first time in history, we have a platform that has an economic model baked in. No other platform in history [has had that]: mainframes, PCs, client servers, cloud computing… They were all plumbing infrastructure. With a blockchain platform, as in NEO with the token economy, for the very first time, we can bake in incentives. We can bake in rewards. Enable penalties. And so this is a very unique shift in my opinion in the history of computing, and the history of platforms. And most mainstream IT people take some time to grasp that.”

Smart contract development experience

“There is a lot of friction today in building dApps and building smart contracts. Especially on some of the other platforms in this space. And we understand that. We know this friction is not going to help any of these platforms, and we aim to… essentially make this development no different than what folks in mainstream IT are doing… The game is early, it’s very early. There is so much opportunity, and we are here for the long game. Da Hongfei is very clear – this is a long game we play. We are here to make NEO the most developer-friendly app platform, and we will. We’re working on it.

Building a platform

“Ethereum, for all the brilliant developers working on the platform, didn’t quite understand the developer need and hence this early stage boxing in of learning this one language and being constrained. And of course now they are learning for the better, but as we said NEO from the very beginning has been about [a] polyglot developer perspective.”

“What I tell people is there is one thing to building solutions, but building platforms is something else altogether. And I would say if you look at again, Ethereum, we’re talking about the early, early phase of Ethereum, it was a fantastic work of engineering. But in terms of the platform capability, it’s taken time. And for good reason, because the folks who built it were fantastic developers, but not necessarily platform developers.“

Developer adoption

“For us at NEO, adoption is the key. Look, I know very well having built platforms, you can build a great platform, but if the developers are not there, if they’re not building apps not deploying apps, the platform is of no use whatsoever. [Our] paramount goal in driving and doing all this is a fully fleshed platform, and making it very simple.

We call this in Seattle the ‘F5 experience.’ The F5 experience is basically: you can push a button and be able to code, to test, to debug, to deploy from the ease of your PC or your Mac. Make it really simple. Today it’s fairly complicated… The moving parts, the versioning, even things like debugging for example, across any of the major platforms… Is a pretty challenging experience. And for us here to be able to push a button and say, look, we will help you step and walk through your smart contract, much like you would do on Azure or Amazon Web Services, I think is going to be a very big deal in making the developers life much, much easier in terms of building and deploying.”

NGD Seattle recruitment

“Here in Seattle, we are hiring aggressively… In fact, we’re bringing on board one of the founding members of IronPython on .NET, [who is] also one of the founding members of xlang on .NET to our team. These are folks who know what it takes to build a platform for other developers. And back to Hongfei Da’s vision of making NEO the most developer-friendly platform, it’s obviously [about] bringing the right people on board. [We] have the ability here in Seattle, to hire from the big platform players… they’re all mostly in the Seattle area, and we’re making a very aggressive push to bring people on board… The platform is only as good as the developers.”