Ex-Microsoft MD talks Web3 development after moving to NEO

John DeVados spent nearly two decades at the helm of Microsoft as managing director. From 1998 to 2016, John was instrumental in building .NET, Microsoft Digital, Azure and Visual Studio Tools, among others. He now builds for Web3 Developers.

He is currently the head of development at Neo (NEO), an open-source blockchain that at one point was widely known as the “Chinese Ethereum”. Founded in 2014 as Antshares, it is believed to be the first public blockchain in China and the first on-chain to adopt the dual token model and BFT-style consensus process.

So why did a former Microsoft managing director decide to pack his bags and head for Web3? For John, it was a slow realization that the current power-hungry model of the internet had fatal flaws. “There had to be something different that the big players were supporting, promoting and controlling with the so-called web2 stack.”

Another motivator was the recognition that decentralization had become a red herring and a buzzword with little relation to reality. In his mind, what really mattered was “self-sovereignty”. A concept that can be traced from early democracy in ancient Greece through the work of the English philosopher John Locke and the Bill of Rights, and through contemporary debates around abortion and vaccines. “That’s really what inspired me to build in the Web3 space,” he says. “And of course, to contribute my past experiences to what’s called Web1 and, unfortunately, also Web2.” Said to have worked on and built significant parts of.”

Putting Web3 Developers First

For the past few years, Neo has focused on building an interoperable dApp ecosystem supported by a thriving worldwide community of developers. It claims to be the most feature-rich platform for building dApps. To get that promised land, John insists that projects must put developers first.

,[There] There has to be a fair, reasonable balance between these platforms and the people who create value for the platform,” he says. “Developers are increasingly coming to the realization that the walled gardens they were contributing to are not providing users or were not in the best interests of the developers themselves.”

“There are probably 22 million professional developers out there, and there are many millions more who do part-time programs. And seeing that, there was a complete lack of what you might call professional developer experience.

As a prime example of Neo’s commitment to better builder experiences, John cited his team’s creation of the industry’s first smart contract debugger – a fundamental part of the developer toolkit. “We said, look, wait a second. It’s not working. Our goal, ever since, has been to build a professional development experience, with a toolset and a dev platform that competes with the likes of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.” As good as, if not better than.

“These are not your father’s applications”

Despite building those tools, and continually making the case for his new industry, John told BeInCrypto that he still faces skepticism about building into Web3 from the developer community. This particular vision of the future of the Internet is not shared by everyone. Some of that skepticism is due to how blockchains work differently.

“If you look at the history of computer science, the history of computing and computing platforms itself goes back to Alan Turing … it’s all plumbing,” he explains. “Blockchain platforms are unique in the history of computer science and computing platforms because blockchains are not passive plumbing. It is about the closest you can get to a modern-day perpetual machine.

He explains how, for traditional developers, the notion of economic platforms that incorporate crypto-economic protocols, incentives and penalties into the underlying stack is still a foreign concept. “It takes time to be able to understand and [it]Lets be able to exploit it to use it to create value.

John and Neo’s desire to focus on the developer experience appears to be well founded. According to a report by Alchemy, despite the recent market downturn, there is more interest than ever in developing Web3. Looking at downloads of the two major Web3 libraries – Ether.js and Web3.js – activity has tripled since the third quarter of last year and tenfold since 2018.

In September, more than 17,376 smart contracts were submitted to popular block explorer Etherscan, a 160% year-over-year increase, indicating increased interest in the decentralized protocol.

lessons from microsoft

From conversations with many of John’s colleagues at Neo, it is clear that his eighteen years at Microsoft certainly benefited his project. Within moments of asking about his time at the tech behemoth, John is back to his guiding philosophy of putting the needs of developers first, with practical and colorful analogies to illustrate his point. “Writing software should be like downhill skiing. It’s not like climbing a mountain. You don’t need a map, compass, or plan.

DeVadoss said that “you don’t need to pack your own sandwich and water.” “You peak. It’s fast, it’s fluid and you’re in flow. That’s what I learned when building platforms like .NET, Azure, and many others. Think about the experience you enable for your developers.” Doing it. It should be as fun as skiing down the slopes. That’s how you get more developers.”

For builders, the so-called “science” of building software is well understood. But, John’s time at Microsoft taught him that there’s an art to it, too. Responding to signals from users and your fellow developers had become second nature. Learning to dust yourself off and move on even more.

“How do you know the pasta is cooked,” he says, a smile appearing on his face. “You throw it against the wall to see if it sticks. If it sticks, good, and if it doesn’t, not so good. It’s the same with software. You try.” You do it, and you see if your developers like it. If they do, you measure it. If not, you move on quickly.

“It’s important that you have the humility to ship and then iterate rapidly based on what your users and your developers want. The customer is always right. In this case, for me, my customers are the developers. “

His thoughts on the collapse of FTX

Eventually, the conversation stalled on the topic of the recent collapse of FTX. His opening comment is undeniable: “It’s bad actors and very clearly a fraud scheme from top to bottom.”

“If someone wants to write a book on cheating… I mean, in my opinion that’s what these guys did. They have done every possible thing that you should not do. It’s quite amazing how they pulled it off.”

The fall of FTX in recent weeks triggered another seismic crash in the crypto markets. Grabbing headlines around the world. The collapse wiped out over $1 billion in customer deposits, as well as billions of dollars in the ecosystem. FTX and its former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, now face multiple criminal investigations.

The crisis is symptomatic of an industry that needs to put consumer protection first. With more efforts made to protect the deposits. “The common man has been hurt a lot. There is no choice but to find out why and how the system failed. We need to ask, ‘How can we prevent something like this from happening again?'”

“Frankly, the checks and balances that are in place are completely worthless. There was no separation of assets between Alameda Research and the exchange. [FTX] on one’s own. Now, what does this mean? We can certainly have more policies and regulations. But, will these checks and balances be what prevent it from happening again? That’s the big question, and I don’t know.”

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