A chat with Alin Iftemi, Head of Business and Co-founder Modex, is a good opportunity to catch up on the latest developments, but also to get a glimpse of what’s coming next. Here’s what Modex’s business director had to say about the current state of the industry, the challenges which lie ahead, and the evolution of Modex as a blockchain database company.
Let’s start with the Modex BCDB release which comes out at the end of April. Tell us briefly what’s new about it and how these enhancements translate into real life.
First of all, I would like to mention that we’re speaking about a public release. I’ve noticed there is a confusion between the concept of a “public release” and “product ready for production”. The difference between the two can be summed up as follows: it’s like having a race car ready to win the first place and a race car ready to be sold on the market. In order to win a race, you basically need a strong engine and chassis, finely tuned, and a skilled driver. However, if you want to sell that car on the market, you have to consider that the driver is not interested in winning any races, but he mostly wants to arrive on time at his destination or just enjoy the drive.
This is where we are now: ready to easily onboard enterprise businesses with the help of some technologies. Moreover, with this release we are also looking forward to meeting the needs of developers and the public that wants to adopt our product without our intervention. For this release we have done some engine improvements and we are also focusing on a more commercial perspective for our product to go on the production path. Summing it up: we have improved performance and we fixed many bugs and we have also worked on fast deploy mechanisms and a more friendly and updated documentation for developers.
Looking ahead, what can we expect from Modex BCDB in terms of innovations and which are the next steps you’re going to take for this project?
It is going to be a period of several implementations in which we will create or assist with creating software using blockchain databases. Apart from that, we will get more feedback and more inputs to improve our own product.This will be the main focus over the next few months: to improve our product based on “go to live” use case scenarios, not only based on our experience and the developers’ feedback.
There are also a few major developments we are currently designing and testing such as a modern Smart Contract mechanism and our own enterprise-focused blockchain engine. These are the most important new developments we will try to release in 2020.We are not in a hurry because we also need to see how the market evolves, to listen to the actual need of a customer or a blockchain adopter and to probe our tech in much more production-ready scenarios. However, at the end of the day this is what we are going to do: we are going to build with a smarter pace, observing and serving the customers with the right product, just like we did with our BCDB solution.
From a business perspective, how would you describe the evolution of Modex and, in particular, Modex BCDB? From where it all started until now?
BCDB has grown at an impressive pace, but it is still in its infancy. We are in the phase where more implementations are required and we are looking forward to a more wide variety of industries to apply our knowledge and our product benefits.
The opportunities are endless and we are doing all that it takes to meet these challenges. Without doubt, Modex BCDB (Blockchain Database) is a great achievement. Three years ago we were at the pen and paper stage, when our competition had a product on the market, and now we have an innovative product that it’s one of a kind thanks to its features and its widely applicable design.
What can you tell us about customer satisfaction in relation to Modex BCDB, seen as a success on the market? Which was the feedback of enterprises, but also of developers?
It is important for everybody to understand that we are still building, we are still refining our technical solution. As it’s the case with any product, we have had a lot of positive feedback, but also some negative comments. We also had some bugs along the way, but we’ve ironed them out, improving the product. It’s always like this with young enterprise product. You know what they say: “Only those who aren’t trying are not making mistakes.”
I believe we had the right approach from the beginning because we looked closely at the market and customer needs, at least from the benefits and applicability point of view. From the technical point of view we still need to improve, to fix and optimize, but, again, this is happening with all the software products. Currently we have more happy customers than unhappy ones and this was also influenced by the good vibe and professionalism of our team which I’m very proud of.
With Modex offices in London, Gibraltar, Bucharest and Silicon Valley, team work has proved very effective so far, even when working from home. Tell us a bit more about this, some behind-the-scenes workflow insights.
Indeed, since the coronavirus pandemic took over the world, many businesses were affected as employees couldn’t come to work any more due to restrictions. For us, as a tech company, where everything is “built” behind a computer screen, it was much easier to do that. I believe we did it right, and one thing is certain: our productivity has grown and I believe there is still room to improve to reach perfection.
Our business hasn’t been affected as we have a solid workflow structure put in place: tech production is in Bucharest and the other offices are structured with activity plans so that the people from abroad can effectively do their jobs without depending too much (physically) on other departments within our company.
Partnerships have played an important role for Modex so far. Tell us, briefly, about how Modex sees the relationship with its partners nowadays, but also in the future. How important are these partners for Modex’s growth? Also tell us a bit about the technical partners.
Modex BCDB was thought, designed and built to be widely adopted and to cover as much ground as possible in terms of applicability at the industrial level. You can’t design such products and think that you can reach a high rate of global adoption all by yourself. If you want a product to be well-known worldwide (at least known, if not adopted), you must count on partnerships.
With this in mind we’ve joined forces with relevant technological partners who can help us co-sell, implement or spread the word about Modex. Without naming our partners, I would like to make it clear that we rely strongly on them and we have programs which are beneficial to all parties promoting, selling or implementing Modex BCDB.
Modex Academy was an important step made by Modex for educational purposes, teaching people about blockchain. Which was the feedback regarding the Blockchain Business Analyst course? Do you plan to offer more courses like this in the near future?
The educational initiatives launched by Modex are an important pillar of our company’s mission! We believe that education is the first step in adopting the innovative technologies, with awareness coming in second place. Let’s not forget about the new generation of programmers who, due to the vast variety of activities to which they are exposed to, they require more guidance in regards to what to learn, how to learn and how to apply what they’ve learned.
Our Blockchain Business Analyst course represents just the beginning. In the near future we will extend the list with some technical trainings about blockchain, in general, and blockchain databases in particular. Soon we will also have tech training with the National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics (ICI), Bucharest and we also have agreements with the Politehnica University of Bucharest (UPB) to assist with tech training the students. We won’t stop here and in the short and medium term we will have more educational partners, especially on the tech side. Follow us closely for future announcements in this regard.
Tell us about Modex’s achievements, but also about the challenges met along the way and how did you, together with the team, overcome them.
The achievements are many, but the most important one is that after building a Marketplace, some developer tools and IDE (Integrated Development Environment) plus several custom projects we have managed to understand the tech market, the innovative technology and how to apply it efficiently. Having such an innovative product is the great achievement of all. As they are behind us, I am not going to discuss the challenges now. However, I will say that we are fully ready for any future challenge as we look confidently towards the future. Speaking about what lies ahead, I believe that being able to meet all customer needs, to integrate with as many technologies as possible and to find teammates who can adapt to Modex’s philosophy, will be the greatest challenge on the horizon.
From your personal point of view, what role does Modex play in the evolution of Tech and Blockchain industries?
The industry is big and our domain is smaller. Even so, adopting new and innovative technologies can be seen nowadays even at smaller groups of companies, not only the big players. Since day one, Modex has listened to the industry needs and worked hard, together with other innovative companies, to achieve that. In this line of business, starting a revolution can’t be done by a single player, but each and every one of those on the market can contribute to the industry, as a whole, going forward. So far, Modex has focused and will continue to focus on applying a technology in the best possible way for enterprises. Driven by our initiatives in the academic field, joint-ventures with tech partners, and various educational projects, Modex will keep pushing forward together with all the visionaries out there for a better tomorrow.