As market makers, we combine knowledge of the crypto market, trading experience, and algorithmic programming to create the best strategy for our clients. The technical side of our business is based on high-quality engineering, and thanks to our team of developers, we’re able to continuously optimize our trading system. One of the key people behind the scene is Gus Florez, a Senior Full Stack Engineer, and Developers Lead.
This ex-lawyer, who worked within Human Rights, Civil, and Contract Law, in both the private and public sectors, decided to shift careers and become a software developer. In 2018, he took a leap of faith and spent countless hours studying to code and following an online boot camp for 8 months. “The most important skill to learn is learning on your own. If you can do that, you can do pretty much anything because, thanks to the internet, you can learn from industry experts. Studying for long hours was definitely not a challenge for me since I was used to that tempo with law studies. Looking back, I’m happy I switched suits for t-shirts and a more laid-back and result-driven working environment”, shares Gus.
Career shift driven by determination and passion
His decision to move into building software was driven by the satisfaction of building a solution and being able to immediately test and launch it. “I can’t think of any field where you can see results as quickly while having so much independence from third parties. You don’t have to wait for a building permit to build a house or for the court to appeal the verdict. The software can be built and launched pretty fast, giving a lot of freedom and opening space for exciting ideas,” he explains.
The road to being a self-taught developer isn’t easy, and becoming a great one requires more determination — something Gus has in abundance. “Building software consists of solving small problems where all these solutions combined become a product, so it’s crucial to start small, be patient and focus on the fundamentals. You must go all in if you want to be great at anything. Dedication combined with curiosity and a good amount of discipline is the right way to go,” he advises.
As he honed his developing skills in different tech companies, a new world of possibilities began to open for Gus. Being a developer turned out to be precisely the challenge he was looking for, but it comes with specific demands. “The creative freedom you have to build a solution and get feedback from your users is unparalleled. Building a system with the latest technologies and seeing your company thrive because of it is an amazing feeling. The biggest challenge is keeping up with the rapid pace of technology and taking advantage of all the new possibilities,” he admits.
Crypto enthusiast since the beginning
In 2011, a few years before he jumped into developing, Gus had already started exploring then still a pretty obscure crypto universe. “I knew crypto would be an exciting space. I almost invested a decent amount of money into Bitcoin that would enable me to sip Pina Coladas from Bora Bora for the rest of my life, but sadly, I didn’t pursue the final decision. In 2017, I started trading and reading about blockchain and Web3. At the time, I was focused on switching careers, so I decided to calibrate my attention into software engineering, knowing one day I will surely work in this space,” Gus explains.
As with everything in life, timing is everything. When the opportunity came up to work with Kairon Labs, Gus knew this was the right moment to connect his two passions: developing and crypto. “An ex-colleague who works at Kairon Labs told me about the company, and it all sounded like an exciting opportunity. When I talked to Mathias (CTO and co-founder of Kairon Labs) about the challenges the company was facing, I knew exactly how I could make an impact,” admits Gus.
And he was right. Gus fit perfectly into the existing team and took on a leadership and mentoring role. “As a lead developer, I focus on making sure we keep scaling by building a system that supports that goal. Also, it’s imperative to take advantage of the technologies available since this is a very competitive space. Other than that, we are a highly communicative team of engineers, which is important since we are a remote team. My role is to serve the team members in any way possible so they can thrive in their role,” explains Gus.
Building an agile team focused on results
Throughout his working day, Gus covers different tasks, from quick sync meetings with the platform team to reviewing the deliverable, checking if the code is production-ready, extending the product, and syncing with the algorithmic team.
To build a motivated and engaged team, Gus believes hiring the right people is crucial. “We know our culture very well, and therefore we have a pretty good idea of what we are looking for. We look for enthusiasm, passion, and a certain level of maturity. When you hire people who enjoy what they do and provide an environment that offers freedom, creativity, trust, and ownership, very little can go wrong,” says Gus.
What also contributes to our productivity and the overall satisfaction of our team is the Kairon Labs motto: “Results matter more than how many hours you spend at our desk,” proving the team’s sense of ownership which results in a lot of freedom and accountability.
The role of Kairon Labs as a market maker with a mission to help create healthy markets is exceptionally relevant in a volatile crypto industry. “I think we are very good at focusing on what matters at the moment. Every time we ship a product, it immediately has an impact on the way we operate on a daily basis. This has allowed us to scale our operations fast and become more productive and profitable. I would say that the challenges we face have a lot to do with the fast-moving industry we find ourselves in, so we must stay agile,” explains Gus.
Investing time into personal and professional growth
A proud father of a baby boy Evan, Gus believes good health, peaceful family life, reliable friends, fulfilling work, and great colleagues are top priorities for a happy life. “When you are mindful of the small things and become more grateful, you are a step closer to feeling accomplished and successful,” says Gus about his approach to life.
On the list of things he would like to do more are swimming, reading, exercising — and becoming a better developer. “I have many interests but very little time. There is so much to learn within software engineering that you could lose yourself wanting to learn everything. To avoid this, I designed my personal roadmap for the things I consider interesting and essential for my career, which align with my personal growth and interests,” shares Gus.
One of the important points on that roadmap is to keep growing and learning together with Kairon Labs. “My ambition is to develop the best system any market maker could dream of so that we can automate and streamline as many processes as possible that will empower our entire team. We are building a platform where we can automate most of our processes and, at the same time, serve our customers with full transparency. Of course, there are still so many things we want to achieve, making it very exciting and full of opportunities,” explains Gus.
“For the moment, at Kairon Labs, we focus on what we do best, which is market making both on centralized and decentralized exchanges, but you never know what the future might hold. With our team and knowledge, we could do many different things,” he adds.
Gus shares a few tips to ease into the work for any new developers out there who are just starting their journey. “Find a place to work emphasizing growth and knowledge sharing. A place that is both demanding and supportive, where you can grow pretty fast. Get feedback from your power users and change accordingly. You learn the most by doing, especially when people depend on your product,” he concludes.