Tezos x WAD 2022: Interview with John Newby, Director of TZ Connect

In this interview, John discusses his background and his history in web development, and explains what drew him to Tezos


600 words, 3 minute read

Tezos x WAD 2022 Interview with John Newby Director of TZ Connect image 1

John Newby started his career as a web developer in the 1990s, back when in his words, ‘everybody knew exactly the same amount, which was nothing’. These days he heads up , a Berlin-based developer team focused on building on Tezos.

The Blokhaus team sat down with John recently in Berlin, during the WeAreDevelopers World Congress event in June. In this interview, John discusses his background and his history in web development, and explains what drew him to Web3 in general and Tezos in particular. He also talks about what makes the team at TZ Connect so unique, and so different from many of the stereotypes that people hold about Web3 and ‘crypto’.

You’ll find some extracts from John’s interview below, and you can watch the full video at the top of this page.

On why Web3 represents a return to decentralization:

When we first started making websites, of course, we had to do everything for ourselves because there was nobody to do it for us. And so we didn’t have Googles and Amazons. […] I feel like a lot of that promise was lost when things became really centralized, when Facebook and Google, when these huge tech giants took over the world.

We’re getting back a little bit of the control [now] that we had, and the ability for small teams to do big things, which have enormous reach without having to have a huge marketing machine or a huge budget behind them.

What distinguishes Tezos from other blockchains:

I think it’s really important that Tezos is a Proof-of-Stake blockchain. I really despise the waste involved in Proof-of-Work. And I really like the on-chain governance and the upgrades, having been involved in a few hard forks in previous projects. Beyond that, the technology is really very good and the people making it are extremely committed to quality and security. I think the thing that’s great about Tezos to a developer is the extremely high quality of the software and of the software development kits.

What needs to happen next:

What I really want to see next is broad adoption and the emergence of technologies and user interfaces which permit people who are not so technologically savvy as normal blockchain users, to interact in a way which is easy for them and in which they’re able to be secure, and to understand the level of risk and the level of security that they have. […]

We need lots of developers. We need user interface designers. We need the entrepreneurs who are dreaming up the models and the people who can implement those models.

What makes the TZ Connect team different:

We’ve had a lot of people join our team from a lot of different backgrounds. Some people who’d moved to Berlin to start a new life. Some people who were burnt out of careers in traditional finance. We’re not the kind of team that you would get in a large company […] we have people who have learned programming themselves. […] Some people have come to us from somewhere totally left field. And everybody is contributing in a way that makes sense for them.

I would really like to see many more people who are not just sort of white tech bros, people who are not usually part of the tech scene, that would be very nice, more women, more people of color, more people from different backgrounds, getting involved in this stuff, developing it, driving it, imagining new things and bringing them into existence.

See also Tezos x WAD 2022 (all interviews)