Hi, Iā€™m Gabriel šŸ‘‹

I've been programming for more than half my life.

I started when I was nine years-old, building simple content-based websites like blogs and landing pages. I picked up programming quickly and built a lot of sites in the first couple years, and soon, I was learning how to build to more complicated interactive apps.

I jumped on the opportunity to build projects for myself and to show friends and family: I built a private social network for my school, a live chat app, and a community platform for my school's student government too.

When I was 12, I started writing technical articles on my blog, inspired by content-creators on YouTube and communities like Hacker News. I felt like that was my way of giving back; after all, I had learned all that I knew from these communities.

My blogs started getting traction, and soon enough I had hundreds of thousands of readers and several companies were reaching out interested in interviewing me.

That was when I entered the industry.

My first job was in blockchain at Shardus, where we built decentralized software focused on scalability. The use case was clear: not only could this be used for consumer technology with web3 and crypto, but also enterprise for bloodbanks, supply chain companies, and so much more.

There, I learned about the power of blockchain through the lens of clear and immediate real-world use cases, along with the current trends with DeFi and NFTs.

Soon, I had progressed from intern to fulltime engineer, and moved to Speechify, a startup building the play button for the internet. When I started, there were only 50 people at the company. Within a year, the team had doubled, and internal metrics were skyrocketing.

I was the first engineer on Speechify's backend platform team, and led subscriptions for the company; that is, the way premium users pay and manage their accounts. In 6 months, I learned all about payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and more, and about the difficulty of payments and accounts management at scale. In the back of my mind, a native currency to the web was always the solution.

After 6 months I became an Engineering Manager leading Speechify's new B2B and enterprise initiatives, both selling bulk licenses to schools and selling integrations to publishers like Medium, the Star Tribune, and more. We ended up selling tens of thousands of licenses to schools, and reaching more than 200 million monthly impressions on publisher integrations.

Working on B2B in an early-stage environment, I had an open view of early stage sales and product development, and the process of finding product market fit in new markets with new business models.

Then, I moved from B2B at Speechify to leading Web Growth and Monetization initiatives, with a larger team and product. I head engineering for Speechify's website and web onboarding experiences, critical to the company's growth.

In the meantime, I started my own startup on the side: Thirdbuy.

At Shardus, I was paid in crypto. As I accumulated more and more crypto, I started to ask my friends and family: what should I do with this crypto? The common answer was: invest it or buy NFTs. But I saw a third option: buying real products and using crypto as a currency. But it was a struggle to find shops selling with crypto.

A few months later, in early 2022, I was introduced to Vincenzo Francia, a student based in Italy, by a mutual friend. Vincenzo was working on a project with NFTs at the time, and he pitched a new idea of a marketplace of physical products connected with NFTs. The idea of combining the community aspect of digital NFTs with real, physical products, he said, had the potential to revolutionize e-commerce and crypto alike.

We fit this into a vision of how web3 can change the way we buy online, and we started work in March that year.

Now, we're a team of 7, running the largest web3 marketplace for real products, with 60K+ products from 150+ shops.

We're obsessed with using this new web3 technology to enhance shopping for everyone. That's why we're building Thirdbuy: to build a new way to buy on the third generation of the web.

So what's next? I'm in my senior year of high school now, and continue to work fulltime in engineering management and at my own startup. We'll see what happens next; whatever happens: I have a lot to learn, a lot to build, and hopefully, a lot to achieve in the near future.

ā€” Gabriel Romualdo