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Interview with Shift’s Vice President Werner Heisenberg about the first decentralized hosting platform

We’re starting a series of interviews with team members of awesome projects which seem the most promising today. The first interview is with Werner Heisenberg — the vice president and operations manager of the Shift Project.

Werner, what is your role in the company?

I am the vice president and operations manager of the Shift Project.

As vice president, I, along with Ralf, am tasked with making major decisions concerning the direction of the project. Thanks to the rest of the team members having placed a great deal of trust in me, I am afforded a lot of autonomy in this role and often have the authority to make decisions on my own. However, wherever possible, I will discuss important topics with the rest of the team before taking action. I speak a great deal with Ralf, Craig and Rob, in particular, as the four of us form the core/foundation of the project and steer its development.

As the operations manager, I plan (in consultation with the development team) the goals we set both in the short and long term in order to achieve our ambitious objectives in this competitive field. I keep track of all progress that has been made, and as the operations manager I feel responsible for making sure we’re completing our various tasks on time. For me, it is also important to ensure that members of the team feel appreciated for the work they’re doing. I endeavor to give them the opportunity to share their opinions on issues concerning their work, as well as the project in general, and ensure that they feel part of a cohesive whole.

Although I’m not a developer (my developing skills are not significant enough to engage in coding for the project), my contributions to the development team include brainstorming technical solutions and providing critical feedback on how a certain problem might be tackled/solved. With the help of TerraBellus, I am also trying to communicate the complex ideas and technical solutions proposed by the developers with the outside world in an easily comprehensible way.

How did you become a part of the project?

To be perfectly honest, I started as a trader and wanted to make some quick profits from Shift. However, after doing some research into the ideology and technology behind the project, I fell in love with it and decided to stick by it by becoming a long term holder. In the process, I realised I have a greater love of [blockchain] technology as a means of improving the world, than merely as an asset to speculate on. After a while, I decided to try and become a forging delegate and started to contribute to the community wherever possible. My work and initiatives were picked up on by the Shift Team (which consisted of different members back then) and I became a member of what they called ‘The Extended Team’.

In the summer of 2017, some of the team’s members decided to leave the project while Ralf and I felt we had to go on for the sake of the project and its community. As we did not want to let what we’d worked so hard on die, we met in person to discuss our visions. We found that these visions were shared and so made the decision to work hard in order to attract newcomers (both developers and potential investors) to the project and grant it a new lease of life. Through the hard work and cooperation of community members during late 2017, we managed to reinvigorate the team by building it back up with the addition of Craig, Jasper, Birk, and Will. Then, in December of 2017, we were able to live up to the commitment we had made some months earlier to deliver the first glimpse of a decentralized storage and web hosting platform, by releasing our own new project website onto our prototype IPFS Cluster. It was quite the ride.

About the team and supporters, what are your strengths?

The strength of the team members is the fact that they are creative, hard working, problem solving, good communicators and noble. They believe in the project and the principles for which it stands, while also having an invaluable love for working on complex problems. And, to be blunt, those encountered working on distributed systems are probably some of the hardest problems you can find. The team members are definitely not just in for the money. If they say they’re going to build something, they will pull it off, no matter what. No time wasted on empty promises, it just has to work.

A key strength of the project’s supporters is the fact that many of them are very strong holders with a patience to see our work come to fruition. Furthermore, there are quite a lot of members out there that believe in the technology and the need for a decentralized web. This is quite unique as many cryptocurrency projects seem to have been surrounded by speculators rather than those for whom blockchain represents a major technological breakthrough with the potential to enable an ideological revolution.

How would you describe the main pillars of the project?

To me, the two main pillars include, firstly, the strong and passionate development team we have in place that is able to deliver real technological solutions that are solving existing problems while also opening up new possibilities.

I believe the second main pillar is the devoted community we enjoy, full of many strong believers and volunteers that are not afraid to work in the interests of the project for the love of doing so, without having the expectation of huge funding.

What are the following milestones for the project?

A decentralized storage and web hosting solution released onto testnet by the end of Q3. You can read more about it in this newsletter: https://www.shiftproject.com/news/news-item/8

What is your favourite cryptomeme?

The Donald Trump HODL meme!

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