Today we are talking with Sandeep Nailwal who is the COO and co-founder of Matic Network.
Matic is a blockchain scalability platform which provides secure, scalable and instant transactions powered by PoS side chains and an adapted version of Plasma.
We’d like to kick things off by asking you a couple of questions regarding your formative years.
1) Firstly, can you tell us the things which interested you the most throughout your childhood and teenage years, and what brought you the most happiness?
Right from my early childhood I was a very business oriented person who wanted to be in business, and this really inspired me a lot growing up. So from a very early age I started working with computers, and was specifically focused on the implementation of technology which was a very important area for me, so having a business in the technology area made perfect sense to me growing up.
Airplanes have also been fascinating to me from my early childhood. I can literally keep staring at airplanes at the airport for hours and hours, however, believe it or not I’m still scared when I fly.
2) Who were your biggest influences growing up, and why did they have such a profound effect on you?
Some of the most profound influences I’ve had has come from people like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs; especially Jeff Bezos.
Jeff Bezos is someone who I feel has really mastered the art of building a scalable business. Amazon is a very ground heavy business, and I feel that it is not as difficult (of course it is difficult to a certain extent) to scale a company like Google or Facebook as you scale with machines, whereas with a company like Amazon, you have to scale with human beings which is not an easy feat. So I really admire Jeff Bezos for what he has been able to achieve in this regard.
In terms of my childhood heroes, Albert Einstein comes to mind as the kind of things he had to imagine when he didn't have anything in terms of technological setups to visualise what's happening in the subatomic physics as well as in the interplanetary level, and what he managed to do was out of this world, so he is also another person I look up to a lot.
I also thought I’d mention that I like Alexander the Great. At such a young age he was able to expand his territory, and this somehow relates to business instinct as Alexander was very successful in ‘growing’ his empire. As you can tell scale inspires me a lot, and I want Matic to be one of the biggest platforms in the world, and wherever Matic is today, it doesn't even give me 0.1% satisfaction. Only when it is really really big will I be very satisfied.
3) Teenage years are often a turbulent time for many, so on this note, can you name a time which was tough for you, and how you managed to overcome it?
I come from very humble background, and in India you have very highly competitive examinations where you have 1 million students competing for like 5,000/10,000 places at coaching schools, and since I came from a humble background, my family did not have the money to send me to these coaching schools, so I had to do it all myself. Unfortunately I wasn't able to crack the biggest examination, and this resulted in one of the most traumatic times of my life which resulted in me having a kind of depression for 1 or 2 years.
However when I went to college, I decided to put all my energy into proving myself there, and I became one of the university toppers which allowed me to gain my confidence back, and from then onwards I realised I was here to stay.
4) If there was some advice you could give young aspiring individuals, advice which you would really have liked to have heard yourself as a young person, what would it be?
I would advise them to be an expert at one thing.
So when you are at a young age, many people will encourage you to be a jack of all trades, but I do not believe in this from my current age and experience. In this day and age, if you are an expert in one particular thing, you will do well in your life. So I would recommend that youngsters focus and put all of their energy into being an expert in one particular field as everything else will come as a by-product.
I'm not saying don't be an all rounder, but putting your efforts into becoming an expert in one thing will automatically allow for all the other things you want to do as you will have more peace of mind and success around you to allow you to keep exploring other pursuits and passions.
We are now going to ask you some questions which will hopefully give our readers something to go on regarding you as a person.
5) Firstly, what are the particular strengths that you feel have made you successful in your field (don’t hold back)?
I think one of the biggest things that I have is that I am an extremely ambitious person and I truly want to do great things in life. Furthermore, if I have any particular failures in life, I have always been able to keep coming back with an even stronger resolve.
Let’s put it this way, It’s almost like I am sitting against life at a poker table, and every time life defeats me and thinks I am out of money, I put in more chips, and when life results in me losing this money, I will then put my clothes on the table, and when life defeats me again, I will then put my kidney on the line, and I keep doing this until life has to agree with me.
So the message I want to give is that every time life kicks you down, come back with an even stronger resolve and belief.
6) What would you say is your most controversial opinion as regards to blockchain or the crypto space?
I think one of my controversial opinions is that Layer 1 blockchains will never be as scalable enough to accommodate everything. Many of these Layer 1 projects are saying they can have million of transactions per second, but I don't think they will be able to achieve this, and moreover, they will most likely be sacrificing something in the process such as decentralization of security etc. So I think Layer 1 blockchains will act as a settlement layer, and then the large amount of businesses will operate on layers on the top (layers 2, 3).
7) In the course of your day you can become under the most ridiculous pressures and stresses, what is your particular way of dealing with this?
My particular way of dealing with this is to just keep at it.
It’s very simple advice that I give to my team, and when they are crazily swamped by work I just tell them to keep at it and instead do one task at a time, and that ultimately they will get through this rough patch in due course.
8) Outside of crypto/blockchain, what is your favorite thing to do?
These days it is spending time with my family.
I already told you how I’ve been a really ambitious guy all my life, and because of this I was always away from my family doing many different things. So these days I really like spending a lot of time with my family.
We are now going to ask you some creative and humorous questions, and we are sure people will love to see you what you can come up with.
9) What is the most humorous thing you have seen or experienced during your time in the crypto/blockchain space?
Nothing comes to mind unfortunately.
10) If you somehow managed to meet Satoshi Nakamoto (that is he is a male person in this scenario) on his deathbed, but only had time to ask him one question, what would it be? Bear in mind you don’t have much time at all, so make it a good one.
Are you an Alien?
I would also say this to Vitalik.
11) Can you give three policies you'd enact if you became the president of a country tomorrow?
I think the first policy that I would try to implement is liquid democracy which is divided into very small parts across the whole country, and where people vote for their own issues. There should also be a specific time when they have to vote, and we can easily implement a disincentive into the blockchain for those who don't participate, whilst also ensuring that everything happens with everyone's consent.
The second policy I would say is no guns within the country, and that guns should only stay at the borders.
The third thing is making Bitcoin the default currency, and the application development platform being a combination of Ethereum + Matic Network.
Communities are often an important backbone for many crypto/blockchain projects, so we’d now like to get some personal thoughts on the community side of things.
12) What do you feel makes the Matic community unique compared to others?
I think everybody in the Matic Network community understands the potential with Matic’s ambitions to bring scalability onto Ethereum. Recently we have seen a lot of applications moving from Ethereum onto other blockchains, however Matic community members really understand the huge potential in providing scalability for Ethereum.
Our community is also incredibly passionate.
If you go to Twitter or anywhere else, you will see so many people tagging and talking about Matic, and people from our community will often suggest an interview with Matic when they come across people looking to interview projects. So I think that the cohesive and unilateral approach to this larger vision is the most positive thing about the Matic community.
13) Project aside, what are some other crypto/blockchain communities that you admire and why (this is not an endorsement)?
I have two which come to mind.
Firstly, I think the Ethereum community is one of the most passionate and open minded communities I have seen. Everyone loves Bitcoin (including people in the Ethereum community), but in terms of the most brilliant and smartest people in the whole blockchain space, I really feel that they are associated with the Ethereum community.
Second thing that comes to mind is Axie Infinity who are a gaming community, and they have a very strongly held community who have consistently been supporting their long term cause.
I also think LTO network has a very cool community (I also happen to be very good friends with Ivan from LTO). They have been able to manage and create a very healthy community which always stays with them no matter what is happening with the market.
14) What social-media platform do you like most and why, and are there any improvements which you feel can be made to these platforms for an even better community user-experience?
I think Telegram is currently the default platform for crypto. The biggest upgrade/update I would want is on the UI level as it is very hard to track very important conversations on Telegram. It’s really really painful for me as I get at least 100 different chats and messages on a particular day, and it is very hard to categorise important messages, personal messages and group messages. There are some products out there I think, but I am not sure if they are able to eavesdrop on my messages and data. But if there was some sort of utility for the UI part, this would be really helpful.
15) With the endgame being mainstream adoption, do you think crypto/blockchain communities will still have an important role to play in a post-adoption environment?
There is currently a lot activism right now within blockchain communities, however once blockchain goes mainstream it will slowly wane away.
I feel that we need to make blockchains invisible. For example, today you don't need to think about whether you are using HTTPS or what kind of protocol this Zoom call is using in the background (whether it is using PCPIP or UDP). You don't really care about it, and this should also happen with blockchain. Users should only be able to think about things that are related to them, and when we reach this particular stage I feel that the overall community focus will move towards the utilities and applications the way we have it on the internet. People talk about the Amazons, Facebooks and Googles of the world, not about British Telecom, so I think this evolution will also happen in this industry also.
In our penultimate section we are going to ask you a question regarding Matic Network.
16) What do you feel sets Matic Network apart from your competitors (that is if you have any)?
To achieve scalability, most of Layer 2 projects are sacrificing the decentralisation of security side of their networks, and what we have been able to do at Matic Network is achieve a very good amount of scale whilst still ensuring that the network is still fairly decentralised (this also comes from the Plasma framework).
So I think the true implementation of Plasma is what sets us apart in terms of having a scalable Layer 2 with decentralization and security, and no other project in the space currently has this.
Well that just about does it, but before we end this interview we’d like to ask you for something which we believe will say a lot about your belief in the industry, and which may inspire those who are reading.
17) Can you come up with a short argument for our readers on why you feel cryptocurrency and blockchain (or just one) has a bright future?
The biggest point I have in my mind is that the whole internet revolution was run by big businesses who were releasing features and applications, and people and users were flocking to these applications to use the utilities being provided by service providers like Amazon, Google, Facebook etc. All of this was driven by business, however I think the blockchain revolution is going to be driven by the users.
Users will start having the power in their hands, and in the future you will have a social network which is decentralized, and then other social networks which save your data; data which you can then sell onto advertisers. It won't happen in one day, but once technological literacy goes up, slowly and steadily more and more users will start demanding a product where they own their data and where their privacy is not compromised etc. So I think this revolution will take more time, but it will be driven by users.
I think these days generations change every 6 years (it's not like it takes every 20 years for a generation change), so if you speak to kids in college who are 6 years younger than you, you’ll find that everything they are learning and their thought processes are completely different to your own, and I think this is the timeframe where this revolution will start to become really big. So I am very bullish long term on this industry.
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