Who is Wietse Wind?
“Would you be interested in an interview?! My articles are about motivating and inspiring those going through tough times in their lives. My interview with you would be to touch on your personal life, and what inspired you to move forward with all you are doing. Also, how you manage your stresses while balancing your family life .. and also, if there were any low times in your life and how you were able to move on, putting it behind you ....”
When it got hard, I was just really lucky with opportunities given and the people around me.
- Wietse Wind
The above, is how I approached Wietse about doing an interview, to “untangle his mind, and set it free”! And here, an amazing conversation (which I am happy to share with you now), where he shares personal life experiences as well as his thoughts and future goals!
First things first, can you tell me a bit about yourself? Who you are, what you do, your passions, family background.
I guess I'm just “some dude” in The Netherlands, 32 years old, started playing around with computers age 9 (bio). I grew up in a loving family with two little sisters (so I know more about braiding hair than typical boy childlike mischief).
I loved to “hack” things at a really young age: opening doors with custom made fake “card locks” (hotels), etc. Loved to take devices apart, solder them into new things, etc. I remember soldering a hidden circuit to turn off my computer screens when my parents walked up the stairs (infrared gate) at age 14, so I could code in the middle of the night without being caught when my parents would go to bed. (Many, many years later I found out they knew but let me 😋).
I love to garden, things that grow, playing guitar, birds (parrots). However, the gardening and playing guitar suffer from lack of time at the moment. – and of course, I love my wife and daughter. More than anything else in the world. They will always come first. After running mid-sized businesses for many years, I decided to stop that so I could spend more time with my wife and daughter, with as little stress as possible (I don't function really well when stressed 😋).
**S:** It definitely sounds like you have your goals and priorities in place! You say you “don't function well under stress” – in what ways can you best describe that?
And also, because of staying up late to code and doing all the little things (such as hacking), you have succeeded at such a young age, with iPublications, and now XRPLLabs (XRPTipBot, and XUMM). Have there been any downfalls and/or rejections? How has this made you feel and what have you done to overcome these negative moments in your life? Is there a philosophy you live by such as “everything happens for a reason”?
**W:** Thanks, I try to. 😊 When stressed (and that happens easily, like this morning when the contractor, plumber, parcel delivery, waking daughter, etc. all need input, care, etc. within minutes), I tend to forget things, miss things, switch to last-in-first-out, etc.
Same for example writing a line of code, while someone asks me a question (while in the middle of the coding), while the phone starts ringing: I'll fail at all three at the same time.
I always gave myself until my 30th to give as much time and energy to building my businesses. I always bootstrapped them, and at age 30 that everything I did and tried, while I had great times, learned a lot, made a good living, in the end it brought me simply too much stress.
If, at the end of the week my colleagues (employees) went home and an important customer had a problem, I'd fix it. (I prefer to refer to them as colleagues, I never really liked being the boss, still the developer that started a business instead of the businessman that knows how to code). If a customer tried to screw me over, it would still hurt me. If a prospect was in deep shit and I knew my company could fix things by coding a tool or integration for them, I'd try to build it myself if all employees were already working on other stuff.
Some of the stress I could eliminate, but by doing so I would also eliminate parts I loved. Other things I could not eliminate, and those were the things that took too much energy I wanted to spend on my family. When my wife and I were expecting Arwèn, our first child, I realized **I had to make some hard changes**. For my family, for me, for my quality of life. Affected employees found new jobs, and I was without a job for a while. I wanted to take at least a year, but then I caught the XRPL virus. 😉
Regarding philosophy: I don't believe in everything happens for a reason, but I do believe in the combination with “what doesn't kill you makes you stronger”. There are many hard, some even shitty things that happened, and I don't believe it was for some good reason; however, I learned from those things. Gained some experience. You forget about the rough edges and they shape you. I am currently in a really good place, both with XRPL Labs as with my family, and I wouldn't have been able to get here if it wasn't for both the hard work, challenges and ugly experiences I had as well.
**S:** Wow!! Yes, you learned fast and hard to get where you are, and that is truly amazing! Some people get discouraged very easily, but with the right support (as in your case, your teacher, parents and now, wife), it keeps you going to get where you want to be. And especially now, your daughter as well gives you that motivation!
I guess when you see how far you've come, and all the “bad” crap you've had to deal with, it prepares you for today. And you can look back and say, “Yes, I did this. I created this!!” It's an unbelievable accomplishment!!
If you were to meet eye to eye with your bullies today – how would you react to them?
**W:** Well, the “bad” stuff definitely gets overshadowed by the good stuff, the experiences and by being able to look back in my current situation. So no grudges or hard feelings here. Thank you.
If I would meet eye to eye, I wouldn't have much to say to them. The polite hello, and that's about it. I don't think they were to blame, or maybe just a little. It's their parents and teachers at the time allowing them to go on, instead of teaching them boundaries and right and wrong.
They understood my decisions and are all in a good place, so no hard feelings and lots of good memories.
**S:** Yes, I agree, I believe the parents and teachers have a BIG role in how children treat others ... about acceptance and respect. Unfortunately, some just don't want to reach out and sometimes, go down the wrong path.
And what about those friends you had to let go, do you ever talk to them, or do you just “let it go” and continue with life?!
**W:** Some of them I never speak again (and I don't intend to, they really screwed me over). However, I still talk to a bunch of them (about 10), and we have dinner and drinks every now and then, like a reunion. That's always really nice. We weren't only colleagues, we became good friends.
**S:** Yes, we need to surround ourselves with the people who uplift us and support us, rather than the ones who screw us over or bring us down!
Now, on to the Cryptocurrency side of things – you mentioned you caught the XRPL virus. How did you discover XRP? Did you first discover Bitcoin and then discover XRP? What are your goals and what do you hope to achieve?
**W:** I did some BTC mining on the living room iMac back in the days (2011 (?)) for fun, and played around with it. Thought it was interesting, and then moved on with my life. 😉
In 2016 I randomly clicked a clip where David Schwartz was talking about Ripple/XRP/IoV and I decided to check the technology. I was connected to a Ripple provided node in just a few minutes, querying and submitting transactions. *Now that was mind blowing!*
Finally – a piece of technology that's easy to implement, low fees, fast, etc. and I could see technology like that changing payments and sending value across the world.
What I hope to achieve... Happiness. Mostly. Having fun with friends and this technology we are working with. But that fun doesn't just come from coding and playing around, that's also about *building something, sparking something.* Getting other people to start working with this technology as well. Try to contribute to the ecosystem. Build a platform that may help others to put this technology to work, etc.
Even if this all leads nowhere, at least we tried. If I look back 10 years from now at years of learning, having fun coding, making friends, building products, sharing this journey with the community, it was well worth it. It would mean maybe other technologies caught up (or any other reason), but friendships, gained experience, insights, etc. will stay.
That being said: I *do* think we are working with technology that is far from exhausted, and I *do* think we will be building more, starting more businesses and collaborate with even more awesome people from the XRP community.
**S:** This is so great, and you are right – the friendships, the experiences, the insights – it all stays! I love your mindset, your outlook, and passion through it all!! Truly amazing!
And one last question to wrap this up – you had mentioned that your grandmother would be able to use XUMM ... Can you elaborate?
W: Well, I like to compare it to the regular banking experience.
Setting up the online banking app will be hard for her, so that's where she'll need help (install app from app store, sign in, activate device, etc). But once installed and activated, she can send money by accepting a request, or opening a link, confirming the transaction by approving with FaceID/fingerprint.
I want XUMM to be able to do exactly that: allowing her (or people like her) to use the low fee and fast features of crypto, without the app feeling like a crypto currency wallet, without adding any geeky things.
I'm under no illusion the entire world will use crypto payments, but at least we can improve the existing crypto wallet experience with a factor 10, or 100. 😊
And the release of XUMM is near, and yes: it definitely took (a lot) longer than we anticipated. That's mostly because we returned to the drawing board (both user interface and technology) a number of times, because we really want to get this right. We really want to deliver that user experience (once setup, and even the setup has to be less prone to user error).
I am sure the XUMM we will soon release lives up to that promise.
**S:** Oooh, I'm excited!! Sounds promising, as I'm sure it will be!
W: I think we made exactly what's (absolutely) necessary for developers, retail, e-commerce, IOU issuers, etc. to allow consumers to pay and businesses / friends and family to get paid. To really *use* the XRPL and finally use more awesome features of the XRPL. I hope our developments will spark just that.
S: A BIG congrats to you for all that you've accomplished, and for the continued time and effort you put into it now!! You have kept positive throughout everything you've set your mind to, and it really is so great to see this.
Your confidence, your mindset, your skills and the fact that you're easy-going and passionate – it's what makes you, YOU. And it has gotten you so far in life! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!
W: Thank you, and my pleasure!
Here’s a picture while on a summer holiday – Pepper and Wietse working on something XRPL related in 2016:
For more info, here are the links:
https://wietse.com (social links on homepage)
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