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Blockcast.cc: Welcome everyone! This is Melody of Blockcast.cc and in anticipation of the imminent launch of our MVP, we thought it prudent to introduce a key company from the early days, Object Computing. Phil Mesnier is the Principal Engineer and a Partner at Object Computing, OCI.
Hi Phil, can you give an introduction to yourself?
Phil: Certainly. I am a partner at Object Computing, Inc., but I joined the company when it was 3 or 4 years old already. I also currently hold the title of blockchain practice lead, having introduced OCI to blockchain technology about 3 years ago. I have been a coder in some capacity for roughly 40 years having cut my teeth in an after-school computer club in 1980 and earning my first income as a developer in 1984. I graduated from University in 1986 with a degree in physics.
Blockcast.cc: OCI is a sector enthusiast yet a platform agnostic, you carry out much philanthropic work, you promote machine learning, AI, autonomous technology, collaboration, and more… What do you see as the upcoming trends in the next, say 2-3 years, perhaps even 5 years and what do you expect personally to be working on?
Phil: Well, if the past is prolog, I imagine I will continue working on some sort of distributed technology, most likely some sort of infrastructure. I see big things happening at OCI, as we are in a growth phase now. I hope to have some influence on the way this growth is achieved. However, had you asked me this question 5 years ago, I would have given you a completely wrong answer because 5 years ago I had no idea what blockchain was, and had barely heard of bitcoin and totally failed to recognize its potential at the time.
Blockcast.cc: We read many stories of you working within the EOS community, training, teaching and mentoring developers from all over the world. Would you care to share some insights that you have personally experienced that have left their mark on you?
Phil: Yes! I am honored to be a visible part of the EOS community, particularly with the early block producers. I have traveled across the US, Europe, even making it to Nairobi Kenya to work with developers interested in using EOSIO. What I’ve found is that the community is very diverse yet everyone I’ve worked with share the sense of wonder that they are entering something really different. Sure it is all just C++ code, or python, or Solidity, or whatever, but they seem to recognize that blockchain provides the means of breaking classical hierarchies through decentralization. It won’t happen overnight but watch this space.
Blockcast.cc: Do you feel that your involvement in the early development of the EOSIO blockchain framework and helping shape OCI’s present and future will be a good representation of your life’s work, amongst other things?
Phil: The best representation of my life’s work is my children, who are beginning to make their marks on the world. My involvement with EOSIO certainly brought me the most notoriety, but I have been involved with the development of other world-changing technologies, such as the Iridium satellite-based phone system. Also TAO, an open-source CORBA platform which was as significant in the 2000’s as blockchain is today.
Blockcast.cc: What has given you the most pleasure during your lengthy career and why?
Phil: The reason I have stuck to this career for so long, and stayed with OCI so long, is that I was able to fulfill the adage, “do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I found early on that creating software was a form of problem-solving, but more than that it was also an art form. What gave me the most pleasure was the feeling of satisfaction that I cracked a difficult challenge and the solution is elegant.
Blockcast.cc: I did hear that the complete Gaimin team flew out to St. Louis for a few days to discuss their project with you and to brainstorm with your team. What was your first impression of the Gaimin team?
Phil: They were an impressive lot! By the time they arrived in St. Louis, they had already scoped out a majority of the project details. I along with a few colleagues worked through the issues posed by the EOS smart contract infrastructure which they were able to grasp easily. I came away from that session eager to continue working with them.
Blockcast.cc: What’s your view on the synergy between gaming and the blockchain and where do you see this leading?
Phil: Gaming on the blockchain to date has mostly meant gambling. Morality aside, I think this is a natural fit as the blockchain will immutably record every bet, roll of the dice, hand of cards, etc. However, for non-gambling games I think the relationship is a little less clear. Gaimin’s concept was not so much a direct linkage between the gameplay, rather they provide a marketplace for trading in-game assets. I am not much of a game player these days so I’m afraid I don’t have much of an opinion on the direction on blockchain and gaming.
Blockcast.cc: The open-source community is a hub of collaboration. What do you see as Block.one’s contribution?
Phil: I have participated in the development of open-source software for many years. For infrastructure, it is a natural fit. By contributing EOSIO framework code to the community at large, Block.one has taken a huge step towards realizing the goal of deploying 100’s or 1000’s of blockchains all with specialized purposes but all based on their foundation. Even if the EOS mainnet fades in significance, already many forked chains have been deployed and many more are on the way.
Blockcast.cc: There are a lot of “shiny new objects” in the world of Crypto and Blockchain. Many have been hyped to hell and short-lived. Using your crystal ball, where do you think BSV and its cheerleader Craig Wright might sit on the continuum?
Phil: Prior to this question I had no knowledge of BSV, and I only know of Mr. Wright’s assertion that he really was Satoshi. However, a quick google search appears to indicate this assertion is false and therefore BSV will likely end up on the flash-in-the-pan pile.
Blockcast.cc: Here at Gaimin, we made the choice of EOS given that we anticipate an incredibly large onboarding of gamers in a very short space of time. Do you see that as a solid strategy?
Phil: Sure! As I said a couple of questions ago, Block.one’s decision to make the EOSIO software available at no cost to anyone who wants it, means that Gaimin has the option of launching on the EOS mainnet, or of building their own network perhaps with specializations to consensus, governance, tokens, and other attributes.
Blockcast.cc: On a lighter note, we would like to get to know you a little better. Are you doing this for the love of it, or for the money?? If you had to pick one of …. why you do this, would it be a) love b) money c) compulsion because you can’t help yourself?
Phil: I don’t see those as exclusive choices. As I hope I have communicated, I have always had a passion for software development but the money is nice. I never made stupid money as many in this space have, but I have been fortunate to make enough to provide for my family and to live comfortably if moderately.
Blockcast.cc: Would you like to share a quote with our audience that has inspired you?
Phil: “All things are possible, except skiing through a revolving door.” – Woody Allen. When I was young I had a poster full of ironic little quips including this one. All the rest have faded from memory though. To me, this quote implores one to think big, “All things are possible!” but remember to stay grounded and check your work.
Blockcast.cc: Thank you for your time Phil! We wish you well in the coming months and years and look forward to hearing about the impact your children are having on the world. Thank you once again!