GRTiQ Podcast: 155 Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago

Today I am speaking with Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago, Blockchain Developer at GraphOps. Long-time listeners of the GRTiQ Podcast may recall Juan’s insightful conversation back in April 2021 for Episode 4, where he provided a glimpse into his personal background and journey into web3 and The Graph.

Since then, Juan has embarked on a new chapter of his journey by joining GraphOps, a core dev team dedicated to advancing The Graph ecosystem. There are myriad reasons why I was eager to reconnect with Juan. Not only is he widely regarded and actively engaged within The Graph community, but his transition to working on a core dev team presents a fascinating narrative worth exploring. Despite assuming different roles across various teams within The Graph ecosystem over the years, Juan has remained steadfastly committed to the protocol, a testament to his unwavering dedication.

In this interview, Juan shares anecdotes from the early days of The Graph, offering unique insights into his work at GraphOps and shedding light on pivotal initiatives such as Graph Horizon and New Era that are shaping the trajectory of the ecosystem.

The GRTiQ Podcast owns the copyright in and to all content, including transcripts and images, of the GRTiQ Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well our right of publicity. You are free to share and/or reference the information contained herein, including show transcripts (500-word maximum) in any media articles, personal websites, in other non-commercial articles or blog posts, or on a on-commercial personal social media account, so long as you include proper attribution (i.e., “The GRTiQ Podcast”) and link back to the appropriate URL (i.e.,[episode]). We do not authorized anyone to copy any portion of the podcast content or to use the GRTiQ or GRTiQ Podcast name, image, or likeness, for any commercial purpose or use, including without limitation inclusion in any books, e-books or audiobooks, book summaries or synopses, or on any commercial websites or social media sites that either offers or promotes your products or services, or anyone else’s products or services. The content of GRTiQ Podcasts are for informational purposes only and do not constitute tax, legal, or investment advice.



We use software and some light editing to transcribe podcast episodes.  Any errors, typos, or other mistakes in the show transcripts are the responsibility of GRTiQ Podcast and not our guest(s). We review and update show notes regularly, and we appreciate suggested edits – email: iQ at GRTiQ dot COM. The GRTiQ Podcast owns the copyright in and to all content, including transcripts and images, of the GRTiQ Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well our right of publicity. You are free to share and/or reference the information contained herein, including show transcripts (500-word maximum) in any media articles, personal websites, in other non-commercial articles or blog posts, or on a on-commercial personal social media account, so long as you include proper attribution (i.e., “The GRTiQ Podcast”) and link back to the appropriate URL (i.e.,[episode]).

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Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (00:00:14):

It’s not just a product, it’s not just a job. It’s also all of the friends that you made with that. It’s also all of the friends that you made with the community. It’s also all of the experiences that you got.

Nick (00:00:57):

Welcome to the GRTiQ Podcast. Today I’m speaking with Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago, blockchain developer at GraphOps. If you’re a longtime listener of the GRTiQ Podcast, then you know that Juan was a guest back in April 2021 for episode four, when he came onto to the podcast to share his personal background and journey into web3 and The Graph. Since that time, Juan went to work with GraphOps, a core dev team working on The Graph, and there are a lot of reasons why I wanted to speak with Juan again. He’s incredibly active and well respected throughout the ecosystem, but I also wanted to hear the story for how he found his way working on a core dev team and what that experience has been like.


But in addition to all of that, Juan is another really interesting story of someone contributing to The Graph. Despite having different roles with various teams throughout the years, he’s never left The Graph ecosystem and he stayed anchored to the protocol, and I wanted to explore some of the reasons why. During this interview, Juan shares some great stories about the early days of The Graph, how he went to work at GraphOps, and some important initiatives happening throughout the ecosystem, like Graph Horizon and New Era.


I started this interview by welcoming Juan back to the podcast and asking him to briefly introduce himself.

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (00:02:15):

Sure thing. Well, so first of all, I’m Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago, pretty long name, I know. But it is what it is, I was born this way. So for people that haven’t listened to the other episode, well first of all, go listen to the other episode, it was pretty fun recording it with Nick. But yeah, I mean I’ve been involved with The Graph for, well, way too long of a time now, since early 2020. It was even before the pandemic, so it’s a pretty distant dream nowadays. So yeah, I’ve been involved in The Graph in multiple ways. I’ve been mainly a subgraph developer for a long, long time. Been working trying to support different protocols, like [inaudible 00:02:59], Compound, [inaudible 00:03:01], many, many different protocols along those years.


And also I’ve been involved working with the subgraph for the network. I’m basically the main maintenance guy of the network subgraph. But I’ve been doing through many, many different companies, I’ve been working initially in Protofire, then in BootNode, and I’m working with GraphOps now. I’ve been working GraphOps since early 2022, I think, so almost two years if I’m not mistaken. It’s weird, like time passes by so weirdly in web3, so it feels like I’m 80 years old and I’m barely getting into the 30s. Well, that’s pretty much it.

Nick (00:03:43):

What’s the backstory for why you went to work at GraphOps? I mean, I interviewed you initially, because you’re an OG, as you said there, you’ve been around for a long time. And as I was getting GRTiQ Podcast started, you were in the forum, you were in the Discord, you were everywhere. And so I’m like, I got to speak with this guy. But as you advanced and sort of hung around the ecosystem, you eventually went to work at GraphOps. And for listeners that don’t know, GraphOps is one of the core dev teams that are helping to contribute to The Graph. Launched by Chris Wessels, another guest of the podcast. But what’s the backstory for why you went and joined GraphOps?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (00:04:17):

Yeah, so I guess the backstory would be in early 2020, I started my crypto journey, so to speak. I was already a software developer back then, but I had no experience in web3. And in early 2020, I kind of jumped ship and started working at Protofire. After a year or so, I moved to BootNode, which was kind of a smaller company with a lot of people that I previously worked on Protofire. And basically we were kind of like a dev shop, so to speak, for early crypto projects, trying to kickstart those projects in the early stages. But we had already a lot of work done with The Graph, so we continued working with The Graph. Again, I had been working with The Graph since early 2020 with those same people, so we kind of continued the journey.


And at some point, BootNode wanted to change their, not ways of doing things because it was a company that was mostly focused on early verticals and The Graph was already established. So they decided, okay, let’s part ways so to speak. And from my perspective, I wanted to keep going with The Graph, I really enjoyed what I was doing. So I decided, okay, I don’t agree with the decision. Or at least it’s not that I don’t agree, I understand why the decision was being made, but I want to continue my journey with The Graph. So I tried to find new ways of collaborating.


At BootNode, we kind of figured out, okay, if we want to continue with Graph, we would want to be core developers as many of the other ones. I think at that point it was Figment, Edge & Node, and StreamingFast or some along those lines. But yeah, when they decided that they wanted to part ways with all of the work that was being in The Graph and relocate those resources to other early projects, I said, okay, I’m going to try to find a different way of doing things.


And well, it was kind of like a month or so that I was thinking of potential ways of collaborating either as an external contributor or joining Edge & Node, it was one of the options. And then I was discussing with Chris Wessels, and Jim Cousins, you know Jim from the Council, well, not anymore from the Council, but you know Jim from Everywhere. So yeah, we basically had another chat, I mean I had a relationship with both Jim and Chris from the early days of the network, we were all participants in Mission Control. So we had a great relationship and I wanted to have their opinions, figure it out, what do you think that I should do? Because it’s a weird situation to be in, you want to collaborate and you don’t exactly know in which way you want to collaborate. But at the same time, you have been collaborating for so long that just continuing the work stream makes sense.


So I guess the discussion that we had with Jim, initially with Jim and then with Chris, was they were really into the idea of me continuing working with The Graph. They kind of figured out that joining Edge & Node would be the easy solution, everything’s kind of already in place. You’re just another employee that will be continuing the work. You don’t really need to do anything scaffolding wise or bureaucratically wise. You don’t need to set up accounts, you don’t need to set up anything, it’s the easy solution. But at the same time, you will be in a really huge core development team which has their own agenda, so to speak, so you won’t have as much freedom as if you do it yourself. Which again, it’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way that it is. You’re joining a big company instead of creating something new.


So what Jim basically said was, I think you will be doing a lot more of what you want to do if you just either start your own company or work as a solo contractor. Or there’s another, a third option, which was that we could join teams with Chris. And at the time, basically GraphOps was just Chris. I mean, we are still a small team, but it’s not just Chris now. So it was kind of a weird situation where Chris wasn’t expecting to have to scaffold all of the bureaucratic parts of GraphOps, setting up the bank accounts, setting up the legal entities and all of those things that as a developer usually don’t experience. But he kind of saw the opportunity and he wanted me to join the team. So he basically started working like crazy towards setting up GraphOps as a company and figuring out the place in The Graph ecosystem that GraphOps was going to take part in.


And after that chat with Chris and with Jim, I basically decided, okay, I’m going to try to join GraphOps, and that’s basically where it went. I was basically working for a month or two months as a kind of solo contractor while Chris was setting everything up. And after that, I joined the team, the newly created team with both Chris and Anna. Well, I think you already did a session with Anna, where we were basically the three first people from GraphOps. So it was a pretty nice thing. It was also quite challenging. Small teams are, you have so much that you want to work on and at the same time, very little time, because you don’t have enough people to work on those things. But it was super fun and watching the team grow over time was also super, super fun and inspiring to be honest.

Nick (00:10:01):

For listeners that are joining this podcast, maybe for the first time, I’ve interviewed a host of the people that Juan just referenced there. I’ve spoken with Chris Wessels before. Jim Cousins was a one-time Graph council member, but leads wavefive, which is a OG Indexer at The Graph. And of course, you mentioned Anna there who is on GraphOps, I also had the opportunity to interview her. So I’ll put links in the show notes for anybody that wants to go back and listen to some of those episodes and get a little more context here.


So Juan, that’s really interesting to me, and this is one of the things that I’ve always sort of loved about The Graph ecosystem, is the fluidity at which people can kind of move around. But in addition to that, the opportunities that exist. And so here you are, you’re working at BootNode, they decide to change what they’re going to do, and instead of you needing to find a new gig or getting super desperate, you just start networking with other contributors. And lo and behold, you kind of meet up with Chris and you guys decide to take GraphOps from just a sole proprietor Indexer to a core dev team.


For listeners that find that hard to believe, that The Graph really is that fluid and there is such a network, I mean, how would you describe how that works? Why is it that there is a place for everybody in The Graph?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (00:11:16):

It’s a really interesting question. Well, I guess my answer of course will be really biased because I’ve been in The Graph system, not since the beginning, beginning, because I think everything began in 2018, everything was pretty new back then. But it was basically since the beginning of the network, or even before the beginning of the network, to be honest. We worked towards the launch of the network during Mission Control.


So I guess in a way, first of all, it’s a pretty interesting proposition. You know it’s a pretty interesting product in and of itself. It’s decentralized querying, indexing. It’s data infrastructure. It has a lot of challenges regarding economics because you have to figure out, okay, how do we incentivize those things? There are a lot of interesting challenges. And then you have all of the subgraph side of things, because again, that’s what I was mostly working on, but I also wet my feet with economics stuff.


But from one perspective, you have all of the interesting challenges and then from the perspective, you also have all of the interesting people that you met along those years of working at The Graph. So I guess for people that just join, it’s usually pretty challenging to do networking. But at the same time, when I started working at The Graph, I was a software developer that only had three, four years of experience, which again, it’s actually quite a lot, but I was already, I don’t want to say established developer, but I knew what I was doing. But at the same time, it was just a new ecosystem, so I was trying to figure out, okay, who’s who here? Who should I be discussing these things with?


And even from the early days of Mission Control for example, I was tasked with working on the Indexer. Again, I’m not a DevOps, I’m not an SRE, I don’t have a lot of infrastructure experience. All of the infrastructure experience that I have comes from projects that I did at university. So again, those things are, you learn a lot of things in university, but it’s not production ready, so to speak. So there were a lot of challenges from the real world that I had to figure out when I was doing Mission Control.


And again, I had no idea who to speak to, and I just went into Discord, asked a few questions, and suddenly I am chatting with Payne, with Alex, and we were having such fun trying to make everything work. And at the same time, he told me, hey, we have an Indexer group from Mission Control that we’re discussing all of those things. So you want to join? And I was like, sure. I mean, I still remember the first time we had this conversation, he told me, we discussed the infrastructure things, but we are also kind of like clowns. You’re okay with that? And it was from the very beginning, you could see how it was going to go, and it was super fun. It was basically a bunch of friends trying to make those things work.


Mission Control was again a really interesting time period for The Graph because there was so much going on. We had constant updates to the infrastructure stack. You had a lot of chats with Yannis, you had a lot of chats with even Brandon from the economic side of things, Brandon Ramirez. Which again, I think all of those have been also in this podcast. I think the notes for this podcast will have so many links that it’s going to be amazing. But yeah, I mean it was such a fun time.


And again, I was a newcomer. I didn’t know anyone. It’s not like I joined with a bunch of friends. I joined basically solo, and in a couple of weeks I was having discussions with people that you now know as Jim, the guy that runs wavefive and was at the council, you now know Payne as the one that has these cool stack for Indexers, you now know Chris as the founder of GraphOps. But they’re still people, you can approach them, you can have discussions with them. And I think that’s one of the things that I value most of the ecosystem, that you can basically chat with anyone that you want. You can approach anyone. And as long as you want to work on stuff, as long as you want to have fun with that, no one’s going to say no. People are actually looking for people that are interested in taking part in the ecosystem.


So I think that’s what I value the most and what I’m most amazed at for the ecosystem itself.

Nick (00:16:00):

Based on what you’ve shared, I mean there was clearly one point in your history where you could have very easily exited The Graph ecosystem and gone to work somewhere else. And my suspicion is there’s probably been a couple of points along this multi-year journey where maybe you could go join another ecosystem or maybe you just pursue something entirely different. So the question is, why do you stay kind of tethered to The Graph ecosystem? Why is this the place you’ve decided to keep persisting in and finding ways to contribute?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (00:16:29):

Well, I mean, yes, there’s the clear point in time when I was deciding whether I stay at BootNode or not. Again, the people at BootNode have been great, they’ve been super amazing. They have been just as friendly as the people in The Graph. And I could have decided to start working on the other projects that they had for other, maybe L2 projects or whatever, [inaudible 00:16:57], whatever it might be. And they were all extremely interesting too. I’m not trying to oversell The Graph and undersell everyone else, all of the other persons were super interesting too.


But I guess when you feel like you belong somewhere, it’s really hard to get out of that place in a sense, and you don’t really want to. It’s not only been that the project is interesting, but you make friends along the way. You start getting involved in all of the low level discussions of what’s going to happen with the future of this. And then you start really getting embedded into all of those things and you get more and more enjoyment as time goes on. It’s kind of like wine that as it gets old, it gets better. It’s kind of like that way, at least for me. And it is not just that the project gets better because you get more embedded into it, but all of the relationships that come with it also get more mature and it gets more and more interesting.


And then you have other things you can do because again, I started as a subgraph developer initially, so it was just like I was making subgraphs initially just for different projects to kickstart the usage of The Graph on those projects. For example, when I started, it was early 2020, not many projects. I mean, there were a lot of projects that had tapped Graph back in the day, like Uniswap was already a thing. We had a lot of other projects that were still trying to figure out, okay, what’s my indexing solution? And they maybe didn’t know about The Graph or maybe they thought that setting up a subgraph would be a huge challenge or whatever.


So the way that initially we were tasked on trying to improve the experience of the users was, okay, we can kickstart the initial version of the subgraph and then telling you, okay, this is how it works, this is what you probably need to do if you need to upgrade it or whatever, and kickstart that process for them. And initially, it was a very repetitive process. I was reading a lot of contracts trying to figure out, okay, what’s the best way to code this subgraph, what’s the best way to make it upgradable, what’s the best way, yada, yada, yada. And then suddenly I started progressing and then I was tasked with, okay, we have a new thing which is coming, which is a network. It’s going to be a huge challenge to maintain the subgraph, which again, Dave has already kickstarted. It was such a huge joy working with Dave and trying to-

Nick (00:19:32):

That was Dave Kajpust, right?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (00:19:34):

Yeah, I always kind of mix up the surname, but yeah, I think he was the initial developer of the subgraph, he was part of Edge & Node. Well, it wasn’t even called Edge & Node back in the day. It was just Graph, it was a whole thing.


So yeah, I mean it was super nice progressing into that, and then progressing into running an Indexer at the same time that you’re maintaining those things. And then progressing into more and more things and kind of evolving over time into more, I don’t want to say fulfilling projects because it was fulfilling all the way, but it’s different every time, but at the same time it’s familiar. So it’s weird, but it’s nice. It’s really enjoyable.

Nick (00:20:16):

If you go back in your mind to those early days, and we’re talking early, early days, to present, what’s changed the most? Has it changed? Has the protocol evolved? Has the community evolved? What’s some of your points of observation about that growth?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (00:20:32):

Well, I mean there’s a few ways that you can take a look at this. One of the ways would be, remember the early days of the network where no one knew how it worked, so it was all experimenting. No one knew what the Indexer cuts were doing, how to efficiently optimize those cuts. I mean, even in the early days, we only had one subgraph in the network just because it was just launched and everything was super easy. And then we had more subgraphs that we needed to figure out how to optimize, how to generate formulas to optimize those two worlds.


And then you had to understand that some concepts that we have grown accustomed to like the effective cut, they didn’t exist back then. We made them up as we go. Okay, we know that the Indexer cut works this way, but how do we calculate the return on the Delegators? And then we started figuring all those things up. And also people didn’t understand those concepts at first because it was so weird, because why would I want to calculate a new thing? And then they started realizing.


So one of the things that I see the community around the network particularly evolved is that there was a lot of ways that we tried to figure out how to educate people in the inner workings of the economics particularly of the network, and how do we make sure that all of the Indexers know that what they’re doing economically wise so that they have a profitable business and they understand how everything works. And at the same time, how to educate the subgroup developers into how the network works and how it’s going to solve some of the issues regarding maybe not latency, because latency is similar. The idea is that we are a little bit better than the host service, but it’s not going to be like a 10X better latency. It depends again on the geo distribution that you have, but whatever. But at least on the side of availability, you have decentralization, you have a lot more robust of a network than just a single centralized product.


So educating developers on that, educating on how to publish the subgraphs onto network. Because again, it’s all new, it’s a different process. It’s not the same process that it was in hosted service because there’s a lot of extra things that you need to take care of, like actually sending the transactions so that the data is available on the contracts, and then also making sure how to upgrade the requirements for upgrades, everything. And it’s even going up until now, every day we have more and more tools that are useful.


But at the same time, you also need to understand how those tools work and what they offer you. One example would be something that we’ve been working on at GraphOps, which is Graphcast and all of the different radios and such, and how those things can help developers signal that they are about to release a new upgrade so that Indexers can start pre-syncing it, or how Indexers can crosscheck POIs to make sure that their data is okay and so on and so forth. Even also other stuff that we’ve been working on at GraphOps like Launchpad to help Indexers have a Kubernetes setup that’s scalable and relatively easy to use hopefully, if we did things right.


And also have client diversity in the ecosystem. One of the things that initially happened is Payne had this is super easy to set up Docker compose stakes with setup, but we also don’t want to have a single client. It’s not a client, but you can run everything bare metal and do it yourself, but people oftentimes like scaffolding tools. So trying to get more client diversity, trying to make things easy for different types of users that want to scale with a cluster that want to scale with single resources, whatever.


So this kind of evolution over time of the education aspects of The Graph, as well as the new features that we keep on adding, because the early version of the contracts had way, way different ways of doing things that we are currently having. I remember when all of the drama for, I think it was GIP2, one of the early GIPs, which allowed Indexers to get rewards out without having to wait 20 days so they can actually pay for the infrastructure, and lot of the drama that happened at that time.


But it was a necessary evil to have those discussions and have that drama even if we don’t usually like drama. It was needed so that people were getting involved and understanding those really valid points from one side and the other, and have those discussions. If people don’t get involved, they kind of run on autopilot, and ideally you want them to actually get involved. And even if it hurts a little bit, like the drama always hurts, I think it’s kind of something that needed to happen for people to actually understand why everything needed to go that way.


But yeah, I mean there are many ways that this has evolved over time, like technically wise, with all of the new improvements, ecosystem wise, with all of the new participants that we are having, all of the new Indexers. We had even programs to onboard new Indexers into new chains, like MIPs for example, to make sure that we have all of the coverage that we’re having in the hosted service with all of the new features that were being added, also translate to the network and also have some sort of short period of time where Indexers were getting a little bit of test time to figure out, okay, this network works the best way with this kind of setup or this kind of setup, and make sure that everything works correctly before we report it to the network.


And all of those things were, I would say, quite not refreshing, because it’s not something weird and new and innovative, but at least it was super interesting to see it develop over time. And that even if it had its challenges, I remember MIPs had a lot of challenges mainly even with, I think Optimism had some issues. We were doing the MIPs round and they had to do some kind of regenesis, or I don’t even remember what happened. But even if it had all of those challenges, those challenges were interesting and they were super useful to understand, okay, this is the real world, these things can happen. How do we approach those critical moments where you need to take decisions? We need to figure out how to best approach this, how to make all of the participants in the ecosystem be able to respond to those rapid changes in the environment? And how do we make sure that everything works as best as it can work over time?


And I think in a way, the ecosystem itself has succeeded over time and has been repeatedly tested. And even if it still has challenges, we can discuss Graph B1 versus Graph Horizon, there’s a lot of discussions that are happening inside of the core development team that are also slowly being released, like Graph Horizon for example. I think there was a forum post. But yeah, I mean those discussions are super interesting, there are super valid points from each side.


But even if people don’t agree with one thing and they don’t agree with the other, I think the extremely nice part of the ecosystem is that even if you don’t agree with something, you can have your voice heard. And I think the forum really makes this extremely explicit, particularly with, I think there was a few discussions, like the indexing fees one, where indexes were really against the change from indexing reward to indexing fees. And I think it really allowed the economics team of the core developer teams to get a sense of, okay, we are in the theoretical land and then we have to figure out a real solution to something. And then we have real actors of those things that are telling us, I don’t think this is going to work. This is maybe you need to take a look at this side or this side or this new possible way. Or maybe what if we do this? What if we do that? And all of that feedback, again, is always extremely welcome and actually helps shape the future a lot better into something that’s actually useful and not something that’s theoretically useful.

Nick (00:30:17):

You mentioned a couple of things there, and again, I’ll put links in the show notes for any listener that wants to catch up on some context, but you mentioned Graph Horizon and indeed there was a recent forum post and blog post published on the topic. Additionally, you mentioned the radios that GraphOps has been working on, and there was a recent blog post published on subgraph Radio that talks a little bit about how that works and the benefits to Indexers, to subgraph developers. And of course as part of the New Era roadmap, Sunrise of Decentralized Data, Graph Horizon, all these different things kind of sit within there and there’s an in-depth blog post on New Era.


I want to ask you one question about New Era of The Graph, and it’s that Sunrise of Decentralized Data. For listeners that want to be brought up to speed. That’s essentially the deprecation of the hosted service and moving all traffic to the network. And this is happening via an upgrade Indexer, so this will be something that moves over and ensures that all that traffic is served as Indexers add it and provide additional support. What are your thoughts about Sunrise of Decentralized Data, upgrade Indexer and all that’s happening there?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (00:31:21):

I mean there’s a couple ways that you can view it. The overall sensation is, it’s super cool to finally see, I don’t want to say forcibly moving people over, because it’s technically going to be the same thing, but it’s finally that moment that it’s been discussed for so long, even publicly it’s been discussed, that hosted service is just an interim solution to a more interesting challenge. And I think what’s most interesting is that the core developer team from Edge & Node found a way where they could reuse everything that’s been learned with the hosted service.


Again, people have to realize the hosted service, we talk about hosted service as something that’s always there. Hosted services is a giant beast of an infrastructure that’s been run by Edge & Node and the foundation basically for free for so long, that people have to realize it’s basically having like, I don’t know, 50, 60, 100 Indexers. I don’t even know the size of it. But from the things that I could see, it’s like a huge infrastructure that has been serving, I don’t even know, like 10,000 subgraphs forever. I’ve been deploying subgraphs all the time, so I’ve been having discussions with David Lutter and many of the other participants of the infrastructure team from Edge & Node regarding many things about hosted service over the years. But we have to think that all of the traffic that that huge infrastructure is going to serve, or it was serving actually is going to be slowly moving to the network. And I mean, slowly moving even if we turn it off one day and just use the upgrade Indexer.


I don’t know all of the details because again, this is an Edge & Node project, it’s not GraphOps, I barely know a few things about it. But from what I could understand, you can think of the upgrade Indexer as kind of taking the infrastructure from the hosted service and putting it into the network, kind of like just, I don’t know, linking it to an Indexer in the network and reusing all of the infrastructure so that all of the things that were possible in the hosted service are possible now in the network and are kind of being subsidized. I think for a while, I don’t know if the free query plan is already live, but it was something that was discussed during I think Sunray phase.


Again, there’s many things going on in the ecosystem, so I might be a little bit outdated on some things, but from what I could think of, it’s basically taking the hosted service and putting it into a network, reusing all of the existing databases, making sure that all of the things that were already indexed continue to be indexed in the network if you so desire. If you publish the subgraph, it should be available as soon as you publish it if it was live in hosted service. Which makes a lot of the challenges that we were having with N-1 issues with subgraph upgrades, which is when you upgrade your subgraph and you kind of get your old subgraph delisted. It’s not delisted, but Indexers move from the old subgraph to the new one so they don’t serve, that’s the N-1 one problem. Those things are not as problematic when you have all of the hosted service infrastructure backing it up in the network itself. You get a giant safety net in the network, which is super cool to have.


I think we had something similar with, there was kind of a plan that was mentioned at some point, there was the safety net of Indexers that would run this house called, I don’t even remember. I think [inaudible 00:35:04] also participated in these Edge & Node who kind of set up a few of those Indexers, but it was basically Indexers that were not going to be competing with other Indexers for indexing rewards. They were just going to be doing it altruistically, just to kind of create a safety net. Where in this way, you get an even bigger safety net, which is everything that existed in hosted service, kind of moving to the network in a way.


And it’s super cool to see all of those proposals come to life because, having been in The Graph for so long, you remember times when, I remember when we discussed, for example the L2 migration, and it was something that was so far away. We had all of these discussions in the retreats where we were sketching out in pen and paper, okay, this should be this way and this should be this way. And then you’re actually coding those things and then you’re figuring, okay, this doesn’t work. We have these technical limitations with the bridges, we need to figure out those things. And then we have some amazing people taking care of those discussions, of the brainstorming that’s required for that. And then you kind of exceed live.


And for me, it was super weird to see that we’re now basically all participating in L2 already. It’s something that’s natural now. And it’s so weird for me because I still think in terms of Mainnet, and it’s Arbitrum One now. And then you see Sunray and then you see the upgrade Indexer, and then you kind of start discussing the upgrade Indexer around, okay, this is going to work this way, and everything’s kind of cloudy and still shrouded in mystery. And then suddenly you have it working and it’s there, people can use it and it works. And then you’re amazed again because of how much of a big brain most of the participants in the ecosystem are.


So again, for the most part, it’s going to be super, again, getting back into the question, I always branch out way too much, getting back into the question, I think Sunrise is going to be amazing. I think it’s three stages, I think it’s Sunray, Sunbeam, and Sunrise, but it’s going to be amazing to see all of those three stages progress, evolve and eventually come into something that we’ve been discussing for so long and we can naturalize that it happened and that it works. So yeah, I’m super excited for all of the new things that are going to be coming to the network.

Nick (00:37:27):

Well, I share the same perspective. I remember interviewing A.J. Warner from Arbitrum and then some of the team at Edge & Node about the move to L2, and at the time it was novel and now we’re there and everybody’s transacting on L2 and the move has been a huge success. And so time goes by fast and again, long time listeners will probably have the same observation.


I want to go back to another initiative that you referenced there, and again, this is all very new. Listeners to the podcast know that I interviewed Zach Burns from Edge & Node at the end of last year to talk about this new proposal called Graph Horizon, which in essence is a V2 of The Graph. You’re a busy person, Juan, you’re working on a million different things, have you had the opportunity to look at Graph Horizon and do you have any early opinions on what it proposes to do for the protocol?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (00:38:15):

Well, I mean, participating in the retreats, you get exposed to all of those things. So I kind of know a little bit about Horizon, and I was even sort of involved in the early discussions, which again, have nothing to do with how Horizon is shaped now. There has been an immense amount of work by Zach and all of the Edge & Node team mostly. It has gone through so many stages of thinking and rethinking of the, take all of the learnings that we had from actually running a protocol for three years now, it’s crazy to even say three years, but three years now, and try to figure out, okay, if this didn’t work, how can we take something new and make it into what we hoped V1 was going to be and make it more useful for the Indexers and for the users, and really thinking about the end-to-end experience?


And again, I don’t think I remember all of the details and I wouldn’t want to think that I can actually know all of the details for Horizon, because I remember when Zach presented it in the last retreat, I think it was one of the most packed meetings that we had during the retreat. Every seat was filled, even if you didn’t have a seat, you were standing up watching Zach talk about Horizon. It was super interesting. There were a few of those discussions during the retreat that you could see that people were extremely hyped about. Horizon was one of them, and kind of figuring out the best way to make new data and services be able to be integrated as simply as possible.


Because again, one of the other things, we have a world of data services. We’re trying to figure out The Graph as a more complex protocol than just serving subgraphs, and serving Substreams and SQL and files and all of the other data services that we can have. And then we have the issue that V1 is kind of limiting in a way for some of those things, because it wasn’t really thought in a way that would allow those things to extremely easily be added. It’s not that you can’t, it’s just that you have a lot more challenges than if you thought of a way initially that could take care of those use cases. Horizon also integrates those things into the environment, into the contracts.


And then you have all of these kind of more modular design, so to speak. You have all of these core consensus things happening in Horizon, then you have all of the extendability outside of it where it’s kind of modular and you can play around with it.


It’s been a huge discussion. And then at the same time, we had a lot of other things to take care of, but thankfully, again, we have a great team behind it. There’s been a lot of amazing discussions, a lot of amazing feedback from the community. So yeah, I’m really pumped for it.

Nick (00:41:04):

And the recent forum post invites feedback from the community, much like you talked about earlier as it relates to GIP2, there is an appetite for everybody to contribute and get involved on this Horizon proposal. So be sure to visit the show notes, and go comment and share your thoughts on The Graph forum.


As you talk about your journey in the ecosystem, and we go back to 2020 and as you said there, you talked about your experience on Mission Control and some of the early tools and infrastructure, and then as you plot forward to where we are today, you’ve experienced the MIPs program, which was this bootstrapping of new chains in addition to Ethereum onto the network, you talked about the move to L2, we’re kind of talking about the future and Graph Horizon, so a lot of change, a lot of things evolving. How has your conviction for the importance of The Graph in web3 evolved during this same timeline?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (00:42:00):

Well, I think we had this discussion regarding why particularly the centralization was important in the last episode, or maybe in some other episode. I think I’ve been in a couple of episodes already, with Payne and Nana, I think. But yeah, I mean we had some of those discussions. And I think, again, as someone that lives in Argentina and you have all of those economic challenges and you kind of see how everything changes from government to government, and you see how maybe in this government, this happens like this, maybe in the other one. You don’t have this sense of everything’s going to always work correctly, and every assumption that we have about how the economy works is always going to be like everyone’s an honest participant in the environment.


You kind of feel like you always need to have a tool that allows you to be abstracted from those things. You need something like in this case, decentralization that kind of guarantees you that nothing can happen in a way that you don’t expect it to. If for example someone tried to censor you, censorship itself is not something that could happen if something is decentralized. So you don’t have to be, I don’t want to say afraid, but in some instances it is afraid the word that should be used, because you have a safety net. You have something that ensures that no single participant can actually make your life a living hell.


And again, I might be overstating, it doesn’t have to be a living hell, it’s not going to be the apocalypse. But all of those things, like little things like small censorship here and there can actually make an impact and you can eventually naturalize those things and get comfortable with those. And that doesn’t mean that that should happen. We should have a system that allows you to not have to worry about those things because you know that the system itself will allow you to still exist in any sort of shape that you want to without having your freedom taken from you.


Again, probably really, really big words, but I think that’s from the ideal side of things, like the ideas and the beliefs, I think that’s most important for why decentralization is so important. And also why it’s so important that The Graph has, even if it’s taken baby steps at first, because again, we went through hosted, it was like a stepping stone in order to be able to test the product and make sure that the product was actually good, and then figure out, okay, how do we decentralize that product? And then we have Graph V1, so the network, and then we figure, okay, those things work, but we need to take some steps to make sure that everything’s going to work in a better way, that everyone’s going to be able to run a successful business out of it, that it’s not going to be something that we need to sustain ourselves, that it’s that’s something self-sustaining.


And it’s again, testing and testing and testing new ideas, new ways of doing things with the end goal of being actually having a decentralized network of Indexers that can actually serve all of those queries, make sure that those queries are valid, have tools for people to actually verify that those queries are valid, have ways of taking measures if there’s some malicious participant in the network. And I think really, it’s oftentimes understated the importance of those things, because you oftentimes don’t need it. But I think, and I’m probably quoting someone somewhere, you don’t think you need decentralization until you actually need it, or you basically can live without decentralization until you can’t, and when you can’t, it’s too late. You’re not going to get decentralization from one day to the other. You need to have that as a kind of core belief and a core piece of infrastructure if you want it to be available whenever you are going to be needing it.


And I guess in a world that has been, maybe if we said these 10 or 20 years ago, prior to the 2008 crisis, prior to all of the new wars that are happening here and there, with the Russian and Ukraine conflict, the Palestine and Israel conflict, now I think people are kind of understanding why those things are important in a way, or at least having something that hit closer to home maybe. But if you said it maybe 20 years ago, people were thriving, whatever, they wouldn’t care about all of those things. Now it’s becoming more and more obvious that those things need to be there in order for us to continue to have our own freedoms and be able to exist as people. Because things can happen really, really quickly in the real world, and you need to be prepared for those things.


It’s kind of like when you neglect your health. You say, oh, I’m 30, I don’t have any health issues, so I don’t need to get a checkup. Then you don’t get a checkup for three years and then suddenly, oh, I don’t feel so good. What’s going on? And then go to the doctor, and then it’s probably, oh, you should have gone last year. And maybe you’re fine, maybe you can get better, whatever, and maybe you can’t. And it’s kind of like the same thing, it’s like you don’t care about decent centralization. I want to pay less, I don’t care. I don’t care about all of those extra things. I don’t care, just take it away. And then you need it, and then you’re, oh, whoops, I should have cared like three years ago. And I think that’s still something that I deeply believe in.


Again, it’s pretty easier for me living in a country that exemplifies in the first person that you really need it, that it’s something that’s super useful for you, and I think that that’s probably a reason why there’s so many Argentinian developers in web3. But even if you don’t live in Argentina, I think it’s pretty useful to have decentralization. I think it’s something that people need to get more in touch. And if they don’t know what it is, they should probably at least watch a YouTube video or a podcast explaining it because it’s going to be super important in the future.

Nick (00:48:35):

I guess I want to ask you about that community in Argentina, and maybe even broader Latin America. As I look at The Graph ecosystem, there’s these pockets of very strong and active communities. There’s one in Nigeria for example, that’s fun to watch within The Graph Advocates program, clearly in San Francisco and associated with that House of Web3, we’re seeing some cool things happening there, and you can’t have the discussion without mentioning Argentina, and their very cool and active Graph community. From there, any listener that wants to learn more about, of course you can go listen to my interview with Lorena Fabris, who is a longtime contributor down there.


But you’ve been featured in a lot of those pictures, the birthday events, the different educational events. For listeners that have kind of missed the growth or the commitment of this community there, how would you describe it?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (00:49:21):

Well, it’s weird because I basically participated in all of the birthday events for The Graph every year, and you mentioned Lorena. She’s been basically following me around to go, we need to go do a workshop here, a workshop there, we need to take care of The Graph birthday, and it’s amazing to see so much energy. Again with the advocates, again, she’s been working with the advocates and it’s been an amazing journey.


I think particularly the community in Argentina is amazing. Even from my early beginnings of the web3 career, one of the people that I’ve been mostly working on with was Martin from the Foundation, as well as Ariel, and then later on, Tomas, Miguel, Pablo, all of those from the contract team of Edge & Node. More recently with [inaudible 00:50:16] from GraphOps, she’s been such a pleasure to work with.


And the community, it’s weird because there’s a lot of crypto communities in Argentina, again, you mentioned Nigeria and Latin America, all of those places that have very specific issues that crypto as a whole has some answers to. For example, I remember people in crypto Twitter oftentimes bash on TRON, because it’s not Ethereum, whatever, yada, yada, yada. But then you see actual people in third world countries like mine, like Latin America, like Africa, like everywhere else, using USDT on TRON to transact because it’s cheaper, because they don’t have the resources to transact if it’s $3 a transaction. And you start to see the huge impact that those things are having on those economies. Even if you think of crypto as some sort of niche, it does have real world usage, and it’s super amazing to see those communities having some of their needs met with some of the actual existing crypto use cases.


And you don’t have to be going into a really cryptic censorship resistance, [inaudible 00:51:36] just being able to transact money in a cheap, efficient way without intervention. That’s something that again, many first world countries have as guarantees. It’s, oh yeah, why wouldn’t you be able to do this? Crypto doesn’t solve those issues there, but in some places it does solve those issues. And again, this kind of translates as to why those countries have so much of a strong presence of crypto communities and people interested in crypto or people using crypto products, which I think it’s amazing. And it reflects back on all of those really common financial thing that people use.


But it also goes back into the developers, the people that are actually living in those countries and are working as software engineers, they are eventually [inaudible 00:52:27] with the existence of protocols and products and the things that need to be worked on that they have some expertise in, in the sense of, okay, I kind of know about those technical aspects and I also been living in a place that has those use cases as something that happens, you normally use it. So they have both the social aspect and the technical aspect, and they can combine those two and then try to get a better product or have feedback on those protocols.


And and also people that are really social, like interested in generating communities, gathering, having discussions in real life, having all of those, and it’s amazing to see how it grows. If you’ve been in the three birthdays as I have, you can see that it was always full with people. Even if they initially maybe didn’t know much about The Graph, the first birthday was mostly like that because there were a lot of already existing participants of The Graph vertical, but also a lot of new people that were just trying to figure out, okay, what’s The Graph like? Okay, it’s a crypto project, what does it solve? And then you see it repeatedly year after year in new birthday, and then you see the same people, and then you see new people.


I have even seen people that are not from Argentina going to the Buenos Aires meetup for The Graph birthday, and it’s kind of such an event. And I think we’re still in the early stages. By world standards, so to speak, it’s like a meeting of 100, 200 people. It’s still kind of small. But then you see progressing year over year and people getting more and more interested, and then people knowing a little bit more about it, and it’s really nice.


The only people that I haven’t been able to educate on that are probably my parents that every time that I go have Christmas dinner, they always tell me, what are you working? I work in a crypto project that does this, this, and this. Oh, what does it solve? It solves all of those things, it’s an infrastructure project. Oh, great. And then next Christmas, it’s the same thing. And Mom, please, I already told you. It’s fun because my brothers and sisters are always like, they always tell me. There’s no point in telling them, it just slides off or whatever.

Nick (00:54:52):

Juan, I want to thank you for coming back on the podcast. It’s been super fun to reconnect and to hear your perspective as The Graph has evolved, and I hope listeners can kind of grasp the nature of everything we discussed today. Because what we’re really talking about here is a first entry, a first mover in the web3 ecosystem evolving and growing. And you’ve had a front row seat, not only to see that, but to help contribute all along the way.


When it comes to all the contributions GraphOps has made, I’ve course had other interviews with members of the team and I’ll put links to that in the show notes, but let’s do some shout-outs. I mean, The GraphOps core dev team makes a lot of important contributions. How would you characterize those for listeners that are still getting familiar with everything you’re working on?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (00:55:34):

For sure. First of all, the first shout-out that I would say is a shout-out to [inaudible 00:55:39] for always having me here. It’s been a pleasure doing kind of like a V2, again like a Horizon version of the interview, watching all of the developments happen, commenting on those. It’s been extremely fun. And again, every time that I see a DM from you, it’s something that I always look out for in the future, so super happy to be here. So that would be my first shout-out.


Then regarding all of the work that we’ve been doing in GraphOps, and it’s been a journey. Again, I’ve been with The Graph for four years, I think with GraphOps for almost two years, a year and a half, whatever. And seeing everything grow and seeing all of those things that we were like, I remember when we were discussing Graphcast as something that, oh, we’re going to do, hopefully we can do a gossip network to help Indexers do things that they don’t really need to do on chain, but they kind of want to do in a more thorough way. And then you see, oh, Graphcast is already here, you can actually use it. And then you have, in GraphOps you have already coverage milestones that we’ve hit 700 plus subgraphs covered for the POI checking radio, and then you have also Subgraph Radio.


Then you also have Launchpad, something that we discussed with the foundation initially, we need to improve client diversity. I think initially at Mission Control, the Indexer stack had the Kubernetes setup, but it wasn’t really production ready, so we wanted to take that Kubernetes approach and kind of taking it to the goal and basically working on all of those things. Having Anna and Carlos put so much effort into making sure that not only Launchpad works as easily as it can work, but it’s scalable as a Kubernetes setup should be. It allows you to have a lot of flexibility as it should, and actually use it. We are running Launch by Indexers, so we are also wanting to be our own customers in a way.


But then those are existing work streams, maintaining the subgraph, Graphcast. Again, shout-out to Hope and Petko, they’ve been amazing. It’s basically our own kind of Rust fanatics that we have, and they’ve been so amazing at using Rust and spreading the word of Rust across the team that now we’re basically using Rust for everything. Everything that we can have Rust on, we have Rust. Except ideally not cars. If you have a car and you have rust on your car, you probably need to get it checked. But for the most part, everything that we can have Rust on, and it’s not something bad, we have it there.


To the point that we are basically working on something called GraphSphere. I think we had a discussion in IOH. Again, shout-out to IOH. It’s always nice to see participants be there and have those discussions as well as Launchpad office hours, which is another kind of different approach to IOH for more infrastructure regarding Launchpad. But yeah, GraphSphere is something else that we’ve been working on, a new work stream that we are hopefully going to be releasing the MVP or first version, hopefully relatively soon, like early to mid-February. Again, don’t quote me on that, because software development has always had issues trying to estimate things.


But it’s been super cool seeing Sarah and [inaudible 00:59:15]. We are a small team, so I am probably going to be doing a shout-out for everyone, but having them work on GraphSphere, which is basically going to be kind of like an explorer, a data rich explorer that’s going to be more like Indexer oriented or Indexer and developer oriented, in the sense that we are going to target having available a lot of the QS data from the gateways as well as data from on-chain sources and hopefully off-chain sources too, so that Indexers can see all of their metrics in one place and can play around with visualizations of the data and make everything hopefully a lot more useful for Indexers.


And the fun thing about this is, it’s a front end that’s actually written in Rust. So we are putting Rust everywhere, literally everywhere. It had its own challenges, but thankfully the team had a lot of experience in Rust and we can work on those things, and we feel proud of the work that we’ve been doing and the decisions that we’ve been having. And so far, it’s been an amazing journey.


There’s also another shout-out that, again, I don’t want to take much time, but Hope, again one of the greatest of all time in all of the development community, has been working a lot on something called the file hosting service, which is again, getting into the world of data services. It’s kind of like a new data service that would allow you to share files and have an economic incentive to share files. And this was primarily focused on the Indexer community and having Indexers be able to share snapshots of subgraphs or snapshots of different chains, like different RPCs for different chains, so that they can actually speed up their syncing process on either subgraphs or chains or whatever. Which is not only something that Indexers that already have those things can leverage to make their business more profitable, but also newcomers can actually leverage to have an easy setup and a faster startup for an Indexer. So it kind of lowers the bar that people need to go through in order to be a participant in the community, which is something that’s always going to be nice.


Again, all of those things are things that being worked on that we’re really proud of. Hopefully we can deliver as much as we want to deliver in the timeframes that we are saying. Again, with all things software development, things happen, so you have to sort them out, but it’s always such a fun challenging experience that we’re really glad to have the opportunity to be here doing those things.

Nick (01:02:00):

Well Juan, I appreciate the very kind words and I feel the same about you. We’ve been friends for two years and yet we’ve still never sat in the same room, but I really appreciate the relationship. And I acknowledge all the contributions you personally have made from the very early days, all the way up to the things you’re doing with the entire GraphOps team. And we’ll put links in all the show notes to all the different things that you’re contributing for listeners to want to dive a little deeper.


Juan, the first time we met the GRTiQ 10 wasn’t a thing yet, but since that time, I’ve added this final segment to every podcast. These are 10 questions I ask the guests of the podcast each week. And I do it because I think it’s fun to kind shine a personal light on each guest, but it also might motivate listeners to learn something new, try something different, or achieve more in their own life. So Juan, are you ready for the GRTiQ 10?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (01:02:45):

Totally Ready!

Nick (01:02:56):

What book or article has had the most impact on your life?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (01:03:01):

Oh geez, that’s a good one. I would want to go with book now and I would say probably it’s I would say a tie between Brave New World and 1984. It’s probably going to be kind of like a cliche answer, I mean I don’t read that many books, but those books were not only amazing by themselves, but they were really kind of like, you can see it online, all of the comparisons about how the world is evolving into either one of those or a mixture of both. And it’s super weird and kind of interesting to see it unfold and you read those books and it’s weird. It’s kind mind-blowing that a lot of things are kind of happening in a different way, but in a sort of similar way. I would say, I don’t know if it marked my life and how I approach things, but for sure it has blown my mind a couple of times.

Nick (01:04:04):

And how about this, is there a movie or a TV show that you would recommend everybody should watch?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (01:04:09):

I can probably make a list of those. If you would’ve asked me this, not 10 years ago, but five years ago, I would say Breaking Bad because I was such a fan of Breaking Bad. But currently, things like The Sopranos, things like, I’m also kind of like a Sci-Fi geek in a way, The Expanse has been great, amazing show if you like Sci-Fi. But yeah, I mean there’s way too many of those I can, even if you really weird comedy, like Rick and Morty, there’s many things that I can recommend. I love watching a series and I love watching movies, so I can probably discuss this for years. But yeah, those would be the first ones that come to mind.

Nick (01:04:56):

If you could only listen to one music album for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (01:05:01):

No, don’t do this to me Nick. Only one music album, I’m going to hate myself after that. I’ve been a fan of Rosalia ever since she started with all of the flamenco albums. So I would say I don’t want to, with the classics, I would say probably the Motomami from Rosalia, because it kind of mixes everything. Again in Argentina, we have a lot of Latin American culture, so we love [inaudible 01:05:33] and all of those things. So Motomami fits there, and also it fits with all of that flamenco style that Rosalia had. So I would say probably that. Although I would probably get tired of listening to the same album over and over, but at least it’s going to be a decent album to get tired of.

Nick (01:05:52):

Juan, what’s the best advice someone’s ever given to you?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (01:05:56):

That’s deep. I don’t know. I don’t want to paraphrase advices that people have given me over time, but I would say probably my parents, again, both of them are university professors, so they’ve always tried to give me as much freedom as I want to have, but at the same time trying to line me up to not get carried away with life and try to take the most of life and at the same time learn new things, get interested and get curious about things. I always remember my parents always encouraged me to learn things and that’s pretty much how I do things now. I have gone through university, but at the same time I keep on getting curious about things. I watch shows about things, I watch YouTube videos about things.


One weird fact would be I really love things about radioactivity. I love all of those things like the history of Chernobyl, Fukushima, how fission works, how fusion works. And I’m not a physics professor, I’m not even interested in physics per se. I don’t like the math aspects of it so much. But at the same time, I’m really interested in those things, I’m really interested in many things. And I think being interested in things and curious about things is something that my parents fostered in me. And even though it wasn’t technically an advice, they didn’t sit me and tell me, you need to be curious, it’s kind of like those subconscious advice that they give you by how they behave. So I would say that’s probably the most important and the most shaping advice that I could get.

Nick (01:07:56):

What’s one thing you’ve learned in your life that you don’t think most other people have learned or know quite yet?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (01:08:02):

Oh, there’s probably quite a few. But when you said that, the first thing that came to mind was when I was working in my first job, every job that I had was in software development, but it was in different stages and different weird ways. And the first one that I worked on was workers’ cooperative, which was also a dev shop. So the two things that came to mind were working in a workers’ competitive, that we were almost 30 people, every Wednesday morning we have what we call an assembly where all of us gathered in the same room and discussed how are we going to do things, what’s the decisions that the company needs to make. Even if we are not people, we are not CEOs, we don’t know shit about it, even if we knew nothing about it, we still had to take decisions. Each of us had a voice.


And in those situations, most people are slightly scared about speaking up, but we always fostered try to convince people to, you need to speak up. If you have something to say, please speak up. I think that kind of is something that most people don’t go through, unless they are CEOs again, or have administrative roles. Particularly software developers, they don’t usually have to go through those things. And I think that shaped me up to be who am I today, that I have those social aspects of interaction pretty set in stone for me.


And then at the same time, the other memory that came was also working on the workers’ cooperative and having to deploy a product. And the product wasn’t like a software product, like a web page or whatever, it was a parking meter. So we had to work with [inaudible 01:10:04] cars, they had only 1 kilobyte of storage, we had to make everything that we needed to fit there. So it was a really weird experience for someone that just graduated university and was accustomed to, I don’t know, JavaScript or Java. And suddenly you have, okay, we have to feed everything in 1 kilobyte. What are you going to do? And that also kind of, I think shaped me into being resourceful maybe. If we have a challenge that’s weird for most people, I’m probably going to say, okay, let’s figure it out. We have to figure it out, so let’s figure it out.


So yeah, I think those two are the memories that came to mind.

Nick (01:10:44):

What’s the best life hack you’ve discovered for yourself?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (01:10:48):

Life hacks, there’s like a ton I guess. What’s the first one that comes to mind? You can reuse used coffee for fertilizer. You don’t really need to buy fertilizer. If you need fertilizer, you can use your coffee packs, your filtered coffee leftovers. You can actually use those.

Nick (01:11:12):

Based on your own life experience and observations, is there one habit or characteristic that you think would just best explain how or why people find success in life?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (01:11:23):

I don’t really consider myself very successful. I don’t know, I see myself I’m doing well, but I don’t know if I’m successful enough. I would say that if we consider myself successful and if I have a little bit of experience in that, I would say, I don’t want to say stubbornness, but something along the lines. Being stubborn in the sense of not being overly stubborn where you try to make something that’s never going to work, but not letting people say that you can’t do X or Y. Not being so easily convinced that your own beliefs or your own things that you’re trying to do are not worth it. If people can convince you so easily about something that you can’t do that or you shouldn’t do that or whatever, most of the time you’re just going to be doing what everyone does. And statistically, you could be sort of successful, but maybe you’re not as successful as you could be if you listen to yourself.


I guess that’s one habit that I think successful people would have, or at least it’s one thing that I think of that if people say that this is not going to work or you should do this this way, and I think we should do it another way. At least I’m going to speak up and at the worst, I’m going to try to do it anyways. But I think that’s probably one of those characteristics.

Nick (01:13:00):

And then the final three questions, Juan, are complete the sentence type questions. So the first one is complete this sentence. The thing that most excites me about web3 is?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (01:13:09):

It’s either the speed at which it evolves, like how fast it moves, but at the same time also the challenges that the future holds. It’s either one of those, I’m not sure which one, but I think both of those are probably a good ways to end the sentence.

Nick (01:13:31):

And how about this sentence, if you’re on X formerly Twitter, then you should be following?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (01:13:36):

Oh geez, don’t put me in that one. But you should be following way too many accounts for me to shout-out. But on the top of my mind, you should be following GRTiQ. You should be following the IOH account. You should be following Graph Vertical and all of the other core developers, because each and every one of those have interesting things that they say and that they are sharing. Again, I’m one of those core developers, I’m part of GraphOps, but I can say [inaudible 01:14:05], StreamingFast, Edge & Node, all of those have great things that they’re always sharing.


And keeping up with all of the new information is extremely important to have all of the latest data, to have informed decisions whenever you have to take a decision, to have all of the knowledge. To also be fostering curiosity, all of those things. Like for example, StreamingFast are adding Substreams. When they joined The Graph, just breaking everything into, okay, we need to do [inaudible 01:14:39] files and all of those things. And then it was like, oh, we can do that. It’s amazing.


So I would say follow all of the them in X/Twitter. I’m too young and at the same time too old for this. I’m still going to be calling Twitter. It’s too weird to call it X, but it is what it is.

Nick (01:14:59):

Same here. And the final question then, Juan, is this one, complete this sentence. I’m happiest when?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (01:15:05):

When everything works after we deploy, and probably when subgraphs don’t break when I’m on holiday. Unfortunately it happens. But aside from the obvious joke, yeah, I’m all of the time happy. Thankfully I have a lot of great people around me. I’m really, really happy. And I don’t know how to say it, but yeah, I’m happy and I’m super pumped that I have so many great people around me and that they think that I’m also super cool and that I get to experience all of those things. I get to be part of a community that’s so amazing.


Again, we discussed this during the whole episode, but it’s not just a product. It’s not just a job, it’s also all of the friends that you made with that, it’s also all of the friends that you made with the community. It’s also all of the experiences that you got with all of those people. So to be honest, I’m happy. I’m just happy. It doesn’t matter. Again, I don’t want to go into cliches, but it just forces me to.

Nick (01:16:24):

Incredible. Juan, thank you so much for joining the GRTiQ Podcast. And for listeners that want to follow you, stay in touch with the things you’re working on, we’ll put some links in the show notes, but what’s the best way to do it?

Juan Manuel Rodriguez Defago (01:16:33):

You can do it anywhere. I am pretty much everywhere. If you want to contact me through this Discord, well, you’ll find me, I think in the right bar under the core developers. Twitter, I think you can link the Twitter. Yeah, it’s basically my name shorted out. So yeah, it’s going to be in the link in the show notes. But either X/Twitter or Discord, you’ll be able to reach me. And hopefully if a lot of people reach me, I can get to all of you in the shortest way possible.


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DISCLOSURE: GRTIQ is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any other way connected with The Graph, or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates.  This material has been prepared for information purposes only, and it is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, tax, legal, financial, or investment advice. The content for this material is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The Graph token holders should do their own research regarding individual Indexers and the risks, including objectives, charges, and expenses, associated with the purchase of GRT or the delegation of GRT.