“This could use more attention and it would be great to work with someone on this and the API.”
Matt is currently working out of Tulum, Mexico after his wedding this past summer in Idaho. His regular residence is in Amsterdam, Netherlands where Hiro has an office. He permanently relocated there just weeks before the world shut down from Covid (Feb 2020). Before that, he lived in New York City, moving there for the Developer Tools Software Engineer position at Hiro.
— How did you end up here? Amsterdam and Hiro and all?
I grew up in Boise, Idaho and went to the University of Idaho. After the first year, I got an internship at CBS close to New York City, so I drove there with my girlfriend, two cats, and all of our stuff. After the internship, I told my boss at the time that I didn’t want to go back to school, and he hired me as a contractor.
During that time, around 2010, I was working on an “appointment-booker” app I developed as a side project to help my mom’s nail salon not lose so much money with cancellations. It was getting tons of downloads! When a co-worker friend said we could start charging and making money off of it, all three of us moved back to Idaho to my parent’s basement to work on it. After the first month, we were actually getting recurring revenue of around $1,000 per month! Unfortunately, I then broke my arm and couldn’t work for several months. Our database was also having global locking issues so we had to shutdown that startup.
After that, I got a regular software engineering job in Boise. This was around 2014, and I became interested in crypto and the technology behind it. I started doing some work for a mining pool and realized how hard it was to set up a pool at the time and I wanted to make it easier for people. So, I made a software called NOMP - Node.js Opensource Mining Pool as a side project. It became really popular and people started reaching out to me to help them build stuff, like one of the first mining pools for Monero. That software was my first contribution to decentralization.
Fast forward some years later, in 2017 during the crypto boom, someone who had exposure to my work for the open source community approached me with a job offer to get paid working on crypto full time. I was game! So I moved down to Las Vegas with my now wife Kinley to work on an Ethereum smart contract auditing system. Business was so good during the crypto boom, until it wasn’t anymore. The company went from extremely profitable to bankrupt in 2 weeks. We went from huge parties at casinos, to “alright guys we’re shutting down, this is your last paycheck.“
— Eeek, sorry to hear, then what did you do?
I didn’t care that much because I know it’s easy for software engineers to find jobs. I played video games for a few weeks, then got bored and found Hiro (formerly Blockstack) on AngelList. I was talking to other companies at the time, even other YC companies. But I had the best interviewing experience at Hiro, got to meet awesome people like Aaron, and the company seems super legit. Gina made it happen quick! Like in 2 weeks. I could have worked remotely at the time but I didn’t want to live in Idaho or Las Vegas anymore, so we picked up and moved to New York! Hiro provided a relocation bonus as well, so met the team, and went on to my first retreat shortly after. I will never forget having beers with everyone and playing mafia until late at night.
— Ok, so how did you end up in Amsterdam?
After my last crypto company went out of business, my partner talked about having kids and the Netherlands looked like a good place, and relatively easy to get a long term visa.
After I started the job at Hiro and moved to NYC, I found out we already had some team members in the Netherlands, and other team members also wanted to move there. It was super awesome that Hiro took care of all the paperwork and created a Dutch Entity and made it way easier for me to move there.
It was also really crazy timing that it all lined up and I got into the Netherlands and got my Dutch residency card the day right after they announced Covid closures and people were cleaning the office and closing it down.
— Why Hiro for you?
I like working with the people here. There’s no one that I don’t like. I want to work in the crypto space, and other companies are either not interesting (like I don’t want to work for a traditional company that wants to branch into crypto). There are other companies similar to Hiro, but to me they have less funding, aren’t as further along in development, or their investors are not as impressive to me. I also like the flexibility of working for a small company like Hiro, and the versatile working hours and locations. (Author’s note: Hiro provides many perks and benefits in addition to a generous STX package, such as flexible vacation policy, co-working space and daily lunch stipend for all employees, including remote, benefits matching and more).
— What do you look forward to doing everyday? Not just here, but in any job.
I like it when there’s a feature or bug that I can work on and ship that day. Those are good days, happy days. Especially if it’s a long big project that took a while to get there. I really enjoy projects that takes time and I get to ship the finish version.
I also really like collaborating with other people on projects, but there’s not a lot of that right now because I’m the only person working on it. We need more people to join so I can work with them!
— Ok, last question: If you have to choose: Lambo or Yacht or private jet?
I would want a private jet but I heard it’s terrible for the environment so I think I would feel bad. I prefer a Tesla over a Lambo. A yacht doesn’t seem that interesting to me.