Survey Spotlight: Austin Griffith

Welcome to Survey Spotlight, where we take a response to the ETHGlobal developer survey and expand them into a blog post. Spotlight #1 features Austin Griffith and a few of his responses.

If you haven’t already, please share your perspective and background: ETHGlobal Developer Survey

While you may know him as the guy behind the Burner Wallet, Austin had been tinkering with Ethereum for a while before that. He is currently working with the Ethereum Foundation to strengthen the developer ecosystem. Let’s explore some of his responses!

When the lightbulb goes off and you have a great idea for something to build, what are your next steps?

I usually try to poke around to prove it will work. Sometimes I forget to look if someone has already tried it. Sometimes I just get so excited I sit down and build until it is a working POC.

Do you have any software developer heros? What are they like?

AVSA, RicMoo, Owocki, Simondl, Matt Condon — creative, clever, driven, product oriented — they play by their own rules and this is one of their super powers. And of course, Vitalik!

What convinced you to throw away your last side project for your current side project?

Even if I loved building something like galleass.io (one of my first game projects), I threw it away because I started working on meta transactions and that seemed to have more traction in the space. I think it came down to what the ecosystem finds valuable and what they don’t.

Right now one of my projects is eth.build and maybe I’ll find in 6 months that it just didn’t “stick”. We’ll see.

screenshot from Austin’s project eth.build >> Check it out!

Where do you publish or get validation for your side projects?

When I first started sharing my Ethereum builds, I would post on /r/ethdev. I eventually moved to Twitter, and was able to get traction there.

What is the most valuable non-Ethereum conference you have attended or would like to attend?

DockerCon was fun back in the day. Excited to attend more now with an Ethereum lens!

What is the last technological development that got you pumped and where did you discover it?

Flashloans, word of mouth at ETHDenver and then on crypto-twitter. It is a really neat concept and one of those emergent properties of our young technology.

How did you first learn about Ethereum?

I think I first saw it on Hackernews but I can’t remember for sure. I was super into Docker at the time and Ethereum didn’t ‘stick’ until I saw Jordan shredding on YouTube.

What is the best tutorial you’ve ever worked through?

Jordan Leigh’s YouTube series on Dapp development. It was a great introduction into dapp building and Jordan is a good teacher.

I try to channel my inner-Jordan when creating the videos for eth.build.

Why didn’t you get involved sooner than you did?

I was busy messing with Docker. I built this tool called Captain that allows developers to easily template, build, deploy, and control scalable micro-services. It remains closed-source at the company I created it for. 🙁 Lesson learned.

What learning resources (blog posts, guides, etc.) do you remember reading first?

Other than the YouTube series from Jordan, I remember the Ethereum website with the greeter bot. Then, I failed through some Truffle stuff. I think I went through a lot of Medium articles too.

How would you convince a developer friend that Ethereum is worth checking out?

First, probably just talk through what decentralization really means, but then I can show them etherscan and then eth.build. I think it’s good to get your hands on things first and poke around. I’d help them with that. Maybe show them some recent trends like DeFi, PoolTogether, flash loans, etc…

Were there any aspects of Ethereum that turned you off at first?

The barrier to entry was too high for some reason, I shilled my work to people in the space like crazy and no one cared. I think it’s key that we nurture effort at first instead of results. Like, dude, this stuff you built is great and it’s obvious you can build, but here is a little runway to try something else.

I had built some pretty elaborate web3 products (for example galleass.io) but no one cared. It would be cool to grab people like me at that time and give them a 3 month grant to build something new with some mentorship etc.

screenshot from an older version of Galleas.io

What do you think is the best way for a developer to get involved with Ethereum?

Start poking around some of the tutorials. Go to hackathons and get your stack calibrated. Follow your favorite projects on Twitter and contribute to their code base. Build something you need or something that is fun for you and post it on Twitter and tag me 🙂

Have you ever rage quit a decentralized application? Why?

Hahaha yes. the UX, oh the UX is so bad. But it is getting better. The technology is super complicated and I think a lot of builders in the space forget that last layer for UX that is so important. Even really popular projects in the space still cause me a lot of frustration.

If you hosted an Ethereum meetup, what would be the theme/structure?

Idea 1) Open-ended eth.build session where we all are running on a shared ganache and we can send around fake funds and deploy contracts for everyone else to try.

Idea 2) Onboarding session where we try to go from zero to hero in a couple hours with all the latest tools.

Idea 3) Do something weird: Create a fishing bot (copper miner) for Galleass.io on eth.build to show the power of permissionless extensibility.

Have you ever had a goose-bumps moment with Ethereum? Like that moment the lightbulb goes off and your mind races with implications and possibilities. What was it?!

So many. Reading about solidity and seeing examples of decentralized programmable money really got me excited. The first time you send 100 dollars from the command line is pretty exciting. Writing a contract to talk to another contract. Contract wallets. Meta Transactions. Burners. Stable Coins. DeFi. NFTs owning NFTs. Flash loans. Rollups. ZK. etc.

What do you think will cause the next 10x growth of Ethereum developers?

It will probably be more gradual. I think there will be ebb and flow with price and hype, but Ethereum is growing from the bottom up in an often frustratingly decentralized way. Our developer ecosystem has “compounding pace” and the hype isn’t “empty calories”. Smart contract technology will be increasingly important and gradually the wider developer community is going to catch on.

Thank you Austin for your perspectives and working with us to share them. Want to share yours? Join the rest of the Ethereum dev community here.

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Current: Coordinating @ Ethereum Core Dev call. Past: Community @ ETHGlobal. Interested in how chain culture manifests.

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