Welcome to the first of our two “Meet the Founder” blogs, where we will be sitting down with Platformatic’s founders to learn more about their backgrounds, their motivations for building Platformatic, and their visions for the future.
Today, we are talking to Luca Maraschi, our co-founder and CEO.
Tell us a bit about yourself- you started coding at 6 years old? How did this come about, and when did you decide you wanted to make a career out of this passion?
I think like many people out there, the appearance of a Commodore 64 in my childhood home was a really pivotal moment for me. I was six years old when, I became absolutely mesmerised by a game called Gorilla that was written in Basic. I decided to read the source code, because the code was open, and that marked the start of my interest in coding and programming.
Since then, I went deep into programming in Basic, then at around the age of 8, I moved onto C and started writing it.
Around the same time, I discovered the meaning of the term alchemy while my mom was reading me a bedtime story. I remember thinking at that moment– could I convert code into something else, like an alchemist? I realised that combining alchemy and engineering was exactly what I wanted to do with my life, and here we are today.
What is the top career tip you would give to someone starting out in tech?
At the risk of sounding cheesy, I owned the famous Whole Earth catalogue collection and was super into adventures, discovery, inventions and learning new things.
In the last issue of the 1974 magazine, there’s a picture of a country road in California, with text on it saying “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” So that is my best recommendation- I even have it tattooed on my arm as a constant reminder.
Always be hungry, always question things and try to understand the mechanics and the cause and effect of things. Technology is beautiful- it offers us a world of discovery and a trigger for your imagination and creativity, so approach a career in tech with hunger for learning and the foolishness to think big and try things that have never been done before.
What drove you to move into the world of entrepreneurship?
The short version is that my first touch with entrepreneurship was to buy a company and sell it right away, which then evolved into this drive and need of building stuff and discovering how to make a living out of it.
The longer version of this is- at the age of 13, I had the opportunity to be involved with a project in which I was asked to program a microchip that resulted in being one of the first microchips to be used for tracking dogs. I was offered barely any money for this, so my father, who was already an entrepreneur, guided me through. We ended up acquiring the company in question, and then sold it to Mars.
A few years later, we did the same with a game engine company, and then again did something similar in 2012. Following these experiences, I started investing in companies and doing some advisory work. Ultimately, I feel as though my mind goes a million miles an hour, and entrepreneurship allows me to engage this part of my brain, taking things that people may not initially give much value to, and turning them into something brilliant, like an alchemist.
What’s the most important question entrepreneurs should be asking themselves?
“Would I ever use this, and why?”.
Finding product market fit shouldn’t be a challenge for a good product- it should answer a clear need. It’s important for entrepreneurs to ask themselves whether they are being too stubborn during this process, trying to force a version of a product that they may feel passionate about but that doesn’t serve the market.
Lastly, entrepreneurs should be asking themselves “How much more can I push the boundary?” Asking this enables entrepreneurs to cross the chasm of status quo and deliver something truly unique.
In an ideal world, how do you envision the developer experience landscape for backend developers? What are the most important things that need fixing, as they currently stand?
I think the major problem that I see for backend developers is that we are still building back ends. In the backend landscape, what's missing is a normalising layer enabling us to build business logic and enable developers to focus on what really matters: building value for their company, but especially for their consumers.
To do this, we need to fix two things: we need to decouple people, infrastructure and code, and we need to separate ourselves from this old serverless misconception caused by backend lacking a runtime.
If a solution like Platformatic had existed back when you were working as CTO/ chief architect, how would you have leveraged it to make both your and your teams’ lives easier?
90% of a CTO and chief architect’s time in any enterprise is spent managing conflicting opinions and interests, impeding speed and simplicity.
If I had had Platformatic at the time, I would have been able to re-allocate the 9 months of a year that we spent in meetings trying to build a platform, and focus that time instead on building value. Having led teams of between 20 and 800 people, I can say with certainty that one of the main issues is that the platform landscape is very opaque with a lot going on all at once. Platformatic comes in and provides a common denominator in the form of a common layer, simplifying everything.
How do you envision Platformatic revolutionising backend development?
Platformatic is going to remove all that complexity and all the time consuming conversations and meetings that are around the challenge of making a choice, ultimately making the choice for you, based on the best market practices.
Platformatic is the result of converging years of work and experience coupled with the power of the community, all the way from small contributors to the developers who shaped Node.Js and Fastify.
What has you most excited coming up in the next 6 months?
June 1st is a really important date for us at Platformatic- so stay tuned! From this date onwards, we are going to be shaking up the status quo, delivering several features that are purely developer-driven, while also delivering a separate set of features that cater specifically to the needs of enterprises. In all of our years of consultancy, Matteo and I have been craving a solution like Platformatic, so I truly cannot wait to see what enterprises and developers do with this- the opportunities are limitless.
Describe Platformatic in three words
The backend game-changer.