Meet the Team: Josh Hannan on Programming Languages and PBJ

April 13, 2020

Hi, I’m Josh! I completed my B.Sc from Purdue University in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2015.  After I graduated, I worked in verification engineering for the Apple Mac performance team and for IBM server hardware.  In 2017, I co-founded Modular Inc, where I helped write a standard library of Smart Contracts for Ethereum Development, including the first implementation of the Interactive ICO protocol. 

I joined the Flow team to help design the Cadence programming language and lead development for the Cadence Smart Contracts standard library and tutorials as well as the NBA Top Shot Smart Contracts.

I am also fully remote! I am from the midwest United States, but I have lived in a few different cities in the US like Austin, Indianapolis, Boston, and San Francisco. I currently live in Chicago, Illinois with my partner Kayla and our adorable sourdough starter, Freddy Breadrickson. He is always hungry!

What lured you into the world of blockchain?

In early 2017, a friend of mine approached me about helping him use ethereum smart contracts for a startup idea he had. I had heard of blockchain before, but didn’t know much about it. After learning the basics, I fell down the rabbit hole and became obsessed. I quit my job at IBM soon after and decided to learn smart contract development full time. The startup idea fizzled out quickly, but I was hooked and kept immersing myself in the community after that, going to hackathons, organizing the Ethereum meetup in Austin, and contributing to open source projects. 

I love how passionate the community is about solving hard problems and helping each other out. I have met so many amazing people at all the events that I have been to and through many of the online communities that I have been involved with over the years and I am proud to be a part of this community.

How did you get hooked on Flow?

I have always admired Dapper Labs’ ability to deliver interesting and meaningful experiences and technologies to their users and when I found out they were working on a new blockchain, I was immediately interested, especially with the genius division of node responsibilities in the network. I viewed it as the logical next step in the design of blockchains, like pipelined computer processors were for CPU design. 

When I learned about Cadence, the new programming language the team was planning, I was completely hooked. The way that Cadence manages ownership of valuable resources and protects developers and users from mistakes is such an important and powerful tool for the world. If we ever hope to manage a global financial system on-chain, a language like Cadence is extremely important. Thinking about how to solve problems with Cadence’s unique programming paradigm is really fun, too!

What should I read next?

Read the Flow Primer and Cadence introduction! They are great resources for getting your mind wrapped around the basics of the protocol and language.

If you’re looking for something that isn’t blockchain-related, I’d also recommend checking out the book, Waking Up, by Sam Harris. It is an introduction to mindfulness that uses very interesting stories and examples to show how important mindfulness is for managing our thoughts and emotions. It is especially useful in the stressful situation that the world is in right now.

If you are looking for a fiction book, re-read Harry Potter! I’m doing my first ever re-read right now and I am amazed by how much it still holds up and is as enjoyable and engrossing as ever. 

Grab bag! What’s better PBJ or PBB? Defend yourself. 

Editor’s note: PBJ is peanut butter and jelly. PBB is peanut butter and banana. These are descriptions of commonly consumed sandwiches in North America.

For my entire childhood and adolescence, I despised peanut butter. I hated the smell, taste, texture, everything about it. I know, what was I thinking? Well in the past 2 years, I’ve started liking peanut butter, so I have gotten to discover all of the awesome things that go well with peanut butter. For example, I just had pretzels and peanut butter for the first time a few weeks ago, and I could not stop eating it! Dangerous. Peanut butter and Oreos are also supremely addicting. Stay away from it. 

To answer the question, PBJ is better. Bananas have a taste and texture that is too similar to the peanut butter and therefore doesn’t quite work. Jelly provides that crisp, sweet, counterpoint to the salty and nutty peanut butter. Also, toast your bread before you put the PBJ on it. You’ll thank me.


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