Team talk with Dysrupts CEO!
Say hello to one of the main members of the Dysrupts team, the founder and CEO, Jason Gagne! He started dreaming up the idea of a decentralized, offline-first internet in 2015, and has been working since then to get the team in place and spread the message.
Jason is currently coming to us from Maryland, US, and works to keep our team coordinated across the globe. I had a chance to speak with Jason to get to know his background and motivations a bit more. So without further ado, here’s a conversation with Jason!
What’s up? Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Maine, USA. If you don’t know where that is, don’t worry you’re not alone! After graduating college (the first in my family), I decided to enlist in the U.S. Army. I wanted a chance to do something truly meaningful and at the time, I couldn’t think of anything more meaningful than serving my country. Not long afterwards, while I was still in training, 9/11 happened. I was lucky enough to be in California at the time, but most of my family lives in New England and since all the phone circuits were overloading with other equally concerned people, it was impossible to reach anyone. It was pretty scary. Fast forward almost 20 years and I’ve come to realize just how much my time in the army defined me, and not just because of horrible events like 9/11, but also in some pretty amazing ways too. I met my partner while we were both stationed in California. It was a rocky start. The military is not a good place to start a relationship. We were never stationed in the same location and for most of the next 5 years, our relationship was long distance. But we made it and in 2014 I got to marry my best friend!
What brought you to this idea for Dysrupts? Was it a technical thing, social thing, or you just wanted to hang out with awesome people?
I feel that Dysrupts is an embodiment of who I am. The struggle against inequality. Openness and Fairness. Finding ways to conquer divides. And of course I think the team is pretty cool, too.
What is something interesting you have learned so far through Dysrupts?
For me, the things I enjoy learning most have to do with the human element. Watching people connect and click. Learning how to build teams and culture. I am constantly amazed and humbled when I talk with someone about Dysrupts and can see the light flash in their eyes. Learning about people’s passions and learning that we share similar passions is exciting!
Where do you see the future of the internet and communication going? How does Dysrupts fit into that?
The future? That’s hard to predict but looking to the past, there is some telling trends to look for. The pendulum swings back and forth between centralizing and decentralizing as technology advances in each area. We started with mainframes, moved to client-server based systems, then on to the cloud! Communication technologies have advanced significantly and hardware costs have plummeted leaving the way ripe for a swing of the pendulum back to decentralization. But with this comes added security concerns. Sure, there are those that believe a decentralized system is more secure, but that’s applying old ways of thinking. In the old way, a hacker hacks the cloud and gets tons of data. In the new way, a hacker builds bots to scale up their operation and can attack multiple points at once. Decentralization is an important step in tech evolution, but it should not come at the expense of security and privacy.
What do you think are the best skills needed for someone in your position in Dysrupts?
COMMUNICATION SKILLS. That’s actually hard.
What other things do you like to do other than Dysrupts?
What else is there?
Is there a book you recommend everyone to read?
My 2 favorite books: Slaughterhouse 5 and Catch-22. Both are great stories about absurdities and how sometimes things just aren’t in your control. And that’s O.K.
What is the coolest tech-related thing you have heard about recently?
Honestly, it’s not new but for this late-30-something Gen X’er who remembers a time before the internet, smart phones are amazing. I carry in my pocket the ability to watch robots test soil samples on Mars. Every day. That same device lets me send smiley faces to all my friends and family. And yes, I can even talk with people. I want Dysrupts to give this same ability to every other person on the planet.