Getting to know the team: Thavenesh Reddy

Published: 21 Jan 2019

Thavenesh Reddy is Sun Exchange’s Senior Software Developer. He joined the company in September 2017, forming part of the technical team which builds the platform that Sun Exchange members use.

Please describe your role within Sun Exchange?

I am part of the technical team that builds and enhances The Sun Exchange platform. This is the system which our members (and potential members) use to sign up, purchase Solar Cells and ICO Tokens, and view the details of their purchases and earnings on a dashboard. There's also a ‘Contact Us’ page, created just for people to complain.

How did you get involved in Sun Exchange?

I was continuously stalked until I caved in. Also, I have worked with Lisa and Lourens previously, at a company whose name will go unmentioned.

Blue sky thinking: where do you see Sun Exchange going?

Solar powering the world! As new Blockchain technologies emerge, we will find cheaper and faster ways for people to interact with and trade within our ecosystem. This in turn would make the product more viable, and eventually we may see micro-grid solutions showing up throughout the world. Partnering with such companies will help accelerate our growth and reach.

I have a feeling that IoT will become a part of our product. Smart-metering will solve a lot of problems (including improved transparency and reliability) and reduce admin. It will also give us real-time data with which to perform useful analytics.

And of course an AI feature which is able to automatically identify buildings in sunny areas on Google maps, which can then be ruthlessly targeted for a Solar upgrade!

Do you work in a team? If so, what’s the dynamic like?

I do. There's 4 developers, 1 tester, and 1 boss. The dynamic is pretty straight-forward - the boss tells the team what needs to be done and the developers get cracking. Once everything is cracked, the tester gets testing. Once everything passes, the changes then get pushed to production where we eagerly await complaints from users.

Seriously, it's a very good dynamic - a very respectful atmosphere where everyone has a voice and makes a significant contribution. Every person is very skilled and is committed to quality. We have an easy-going vibe and frequently have a few good laughs throughout the day. At the same time, the team is highly focused and one will often find the room in complete silence, except for the occasional mutterings by a developer to himself...

What makes this job different from others you’ve had?

It's the first startup that I've ever worked at. It's also the smallest company that I've worked at which means that each person is a lot more responsible for the success of the business. There is very little red tape to slow us down, and there is no deadweight on the team, as is often found at larger companies. This job is also particularly meaningful in that we are directly contributing to the improvement of the environment and to society as a whole.

What have some of the proudest moments been?

For me personally:

  • Launching an ICO from start to finish within a week!

  • Finding a custom solution to get funds out of our ICO cold-wallet, potentially saving us between $30k and $50k

  • Creating a full Bitcoin payment monitoring, verification, and automatic reconciliation system which has been running without a single issue since it was first deployed to production in March 2018 for Solar Projects. Recently, it has been upgraded to accommodate the ICO (after having moved off a 3rd party cold-wallet provider), supporting both Bitcoin and Ethereum payments, again without any issue thus far.

  • Making good decisions in our hiring process. Great team = great product = more monetary bonuses for the tech team *nudge nudge*

Like any job, business, or life experience, there are tough times. What have some of those been and how have you/the team overcome these?

The toughest would have been the ICO project. We just pushed really hard, communicated really well, and maintained a single-minded focus on the task. We developed creative solutions very quickly and got everything tested in very short cycles. We had to take shortcuts in our process and in certain design decisions. But time has shown that our expertise and experience led us to making the correct decisions, none of which has had any adverse effects on the system thus far, whilst still allowing us to deliver all of the required features in a secure manner.

Why do you feel the world needs Sun Exchange?

The world needs our company and others like it because the world always needs innovation which has a beneficial effect on society whilst still benefiting the individuals who participate in that company's ecosystem. We have also reached a point where the mainstream understands that sustainable solutions are the only real solutions, and that everything else is a band-aid approach. This allows society to improve, our environment to heal, and our members to profit.

What would you do with a billion dollars?

  1. Buy some Bitcoin
  2. Buy The Sun Exchange
  3. Travel the world
  4. Find a cure for ingrown toenails
  5. Create an R&D company aimed at solving the most critical problems in the world at the moment eg. see point 4 above
  6. Attempt to bring the SA education system up to speed with the latest findings in physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual development
  7. Write a book

What item that you own best describes your personality? 

Throughout my life the idea of balance has always been important to me. Becoming too attached to any idea or approach can be quite dangerous and limiting. This is very clearly visible in Software Development. Being too dogmatic and attached to a software principle, technology, or methodology can be a hindrance. On the other hand being completely ad-hoc is also undesirable. Although incredibly difficult, understanding the extremes is critical in finding the middle ground. This can then be extended to other areas of life, though the principles at play are harder to see and understand compared to something more familiar and tangible like the principles in our craft.

When you're not busy solar powering the world, how do you like to spend your time?

Hydropowering the world. Just kidding, lols. I enjoy reading as much as possible, exercising, drumming, making girls giggle, and fighting with my nephew.

What is your favorite book and why?

On the Importance of Making Girls Giggle. Self-explanatory... I also love The Fountainhead. Interesting characters and archetypes. Important lessons around self-reliance in various forms.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I have too many, but really loved the following:

  • The Last Samurai: Japanese culture, martial arts, mindfulness, great acting, amazing soundtrack!
  • Chasing Mavericks: True-life story of an athlete who reached a high level of mastery at a very young age.
  • The Theory of Everything: Emotional and inspiring story of a scientist whom I greatly admire.