by Stu Elmes
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: the Tezos ecosystem is filled to bursting with talented, smart, and fascinating people. These talented people are building some of the coolest, most innovative tools and applications in the blockchain world. As far as the amazing ongoing evolution of the Tezos ecosystem is concerned, that’s a very good thing.
There’s just one problem…
With so many dynamic individuals now plying their various trades in the Tezos ecosystem — and more joining our heaving ranks every day — it’s all too easy to lose track of exactly who’s who and what’s what in this thriving community.
That’s why I’ve made it my mission to dive in and get to know the fabulous folks dedicating their precious time and energy to advancing the Tezos cause and to highlight the awesome projects they’re working on. Of course I probably can’t cover them all, but darn it, I’m gonna try!
In this edition of the Tezos Community Spotlight, I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Sasha Aldrick, developer advocate at Trilitech — the talented and multifaceted team dedicated to developing and elevating new ideas and innovation built on Tezos.
If you’ve been closely following the comings and goings of the Tezos ecosystem at all, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re already very much aware of Trilitech’s place in the thriving Tezos ecosystem — or at least its existence. Sasha Aldrick, on the other hand, you may not have heard of just yet. As a relative newcomer to the Trilitech team (he officially signed on just a few short months ago), Sasha brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on exactly how to make a blockchain ecosystem a more welcoming and convenient place for developers and builders from every corner of the digital realm. And, while his journey into the Tezos ecosystem has only just begun, to hear Sasha tell it, it’s been a long(ish) time in the making.
Sasha Aldrick is a relative newcomer to the blockchain space, and has been plying his trade within it for a little over 1.5 years. Formerly a developer advocate in the Ethereum space, Sasha says he has been interested in blockchain technology since 2016, when he wrote his first article on the Bitcoin cash fork. Sasha became actively involved in the space in 2020, after he participated in a blockchain development bootcamp. As the global Covid pandemic put his education on hold and left him with a lot of spare time on his hands, Sasha continued exploring and experimenting with blockchain technology and its applications throughout the unexpected (and largely unwelcome) school break. Quickly, he became hooked and decided to begin looking for full time work as a developer in the blockchain arena.
Sasha first became aware of Tezos during the art NFT boom of 2021. Although he didn’t really dig in immediately, Sasha says he found himself repeatedly hearing people talk about Tezos at the conferences he was attending in his role as a Developer Advocate in the Ethereum space, and eventually decided to investigate this intriguing new blockchain ecosystem for himself. Once he did, he says he was impressed by Tezos’ on-chain governance model and the variety, choice, and flexibility of coding languages integrated into the Tezos ecosystem.
Soon after he began experimenting in the Tezos ecosystem, Sasha was hooked, and made the fateful decision to bring his considerable talents to bear on helping Tezos reach its true potential at the forefront of the Web 3.0 revolution. Now, as a Developer Advocate at Trilitech and an important voice for those who’ve chosen to build in the Tezos ecosystem, Sasha has begun an exciting new chapter in his ongoing journey down the blockchain rabbit hole.
So let’s zoom in together, and get down to the Sasha Aldrick nitty-gritty to find out what makes this blockchain developer advocate tick.
Profiles in Tezosness: Sasha Aldrick
Name: Sasha Aldrick
Title: Developer Advocate, Trilitech
Home: London, UK
Superpowers: Documentation Whisperer, Video Virtuoso, Tutorial Tamer
Sasha Aldrick is an academic at heart. He holds an undergraduate degree with a double major in physics and chemistry from the University College London, a master’s degree in nanotechnology from University College London, and a master’s degree in material science from the University of Cambridge. After beginning to pursue his PHD in AI for physics at Cambridge, Sasha’s educational epoch, like that of so many others, was interrupted by the global Covid pandemic in 2020. During this period, Sasha began exploring the rapidly-evolving cryptocurrency/blockchain space — an area he had been intrigued with since 2016, but hadn’t had the capacity to explore fully. With lockdowns in effect and schools closed indefinitely, however, Sasha found himself free, both to travel (he spent time in Denmark during this time) and delve down the blockchain rabbit hole in earnest.
Sasha participated in blockchain developer bootcamp in 2021, then took part in the ETHDenver hackathon, where he won the “Chainlink Prize” along with his team for their work on a project called robotrust.xyz — which is now a fully-fledged company. Convinced that he’d found his calling at last, Sasha made the decision to put his PHD on hold to join the crypto space full time. He moved to Switzerland to begin his first job in the blockchain space for an Ethereum-based infrastructure company, where he worked for just over a year, first as a blockchain engineer and later as a developer advocate. Hooked, Sasha says that he has “never looked back” since.
Now at Trilitech, Sasha works primarily on documentation. He believes that there is great documentation within the Tezos ecosystem, but that it is currently fragmented across many different websites and platforms. He has taken it upon himself to help consolidate and create a really nice experience at the Tezos Documentation Portal, which he acknowledges is currently “still undergoing a LOT of changes”. He and the Trilitech team are now working on streamlining and adding a lot more interactivity to the content in the Tezos Documentation Portal, and this process is ongoing. Additionally, Sasha also co-ordinates and runs Tezos meetups in London, and visits conferences around the world “preaching the Tezos gospel”, as he puts it — he was recently spotted handing out TezDev 2023 branded croissants to help bring new developers into the Tezos ecosystem. Sasha also makes Tezos-related educational video content. Mostly, he says, along with his compatriot (and Tezos ecosystem advocate) Claude Barde, as well as his own tutorial videos about things like SmartPy and general Tezos tooling.
What does Sasha have to say about his experience in the Tezos ecosystem so far?
Let’s ask him…
Quick Q&A with Sasha Aldrick
1) What can you tell us about your journey into the Tezos ecosystem so far? What’s it been like to dive into this world?
“It’s been extremely welcoming and an absolute pleasure. There are so many different people really excited about Tezos from all around the world and it’s been great to connect with them either in person in London, at TezDev in Paris this year, or online. I’ve very much enjoyed collecting some Tezos NFTs and the low gas fees especially when transferring funds over from Ethereum to run my own baker.”
2) What does a day in the life of a Developer Advocate at Trilitech look like?
“Great question. At the moment, we are growing our team and we have many things to do, and only Claude (@claudebarde) and I. This means we do a lot of different things all within the span of one day.
3) How would you describe Trilitech to someone who’s never heard of it before?
“Very relevant — Tezos is decentralized by nature and so I would describe Trilitech as the London base for people working on Tezos ranging from core engineers, tooling and dapps, marketing and BD, art, gaming and dev success. It’s a super friendly place whilst still balancing the pressure needed to have the best talent push Tezos forward within the web3 space.”
4) What was it about Trilitech that made you think it was the right place for you to begin the next stage of your career in the blockchain space?
“I joined Trilitech because Tezos is SOTA when it comes to blockchain technology whilst still being under-appreciated in general which shouldn’t be the case. There is a huge opportunity here for me to work on helping such a large project by helping to create a developer journey that allows for people to understand, build and use Tezos daily.”
5) What’s the #1 issue in the Tezos ecosystem that you’d like to help Trilitech solve?
“For me, it really is the developer experience when it comes to documentation. Right now, the documentation is very fragmented and even though it is high quality this is very confusing when a new developer in the space wants to get started on Tezos. I want to help build world-class developer documentation for a world-class blockchain.”
6) What do you think is something that the Tezos ecosystem does really well?
“I think Tezos really does have some of the best tech around. With liquid proof-of-stake from day 1, and now the addition of smart rollups, throughput is unmatched and being able to take part in Tezos is extremely easy via delegation or baking. Furthermore, with the governance process, and the protocol upgrades, Tezos is super agile which is needed to keep being in front of the competition.”
7) What area of the Tezos ecosystem experience will users feel your influence first?
“New developers to the ecosystem. With new up-to-date content, be it tutorials, videos, blog posts, meetups or documentation I hope to be a friendly face and someone who can lend a helping hand to anyone who wants to dip their toes in Tezos. Come on over! We are a friendly bunch with some really cool stuff to help you build your dream project.”
Although Sasha Aldrick has only just begun his journey into the Tezos ecosystem, he’s just the type of young, enthusiastic, and forward-thinking individual this ecosystem needs. With the larger blockchain space entering a crucial period of experimentation, scaling, and consolidation across the globe, new voices and fresh viewpoints like Sasha’s can be expected to have an important impact that will echo through the next iteration of the Tezos ecosystem and beyond. We’ll be keeping a close eye on Sasha’s progress moving forward, and so should you.