The Aurora Labs team is made up of exceptional individuals that left a mark in the industries they have been part of by innovating and building cutting edge technology. These top-tier professionals have unique stories to share about their journeys that deserve to be talked about as they can provide inspiration and guidance to new builders joining this ecosystem. With this series we aim to do just that by highlighting the work and experiences of a generation of pioneers in the Web3 world paying tribute to their valuable contributions and achievements.
From Nature's Playground to Innovative Creations: Armand's Journey in Engineering and Entrepreneurship
Armand Didier is a French professional with a background in material engineering and a long history in building and creating new projects and objects from start to finish. Originally from a small village in the French Alps, Armand spent his childhood immersed in nature, between hiking and skiing. The rural lifestyle however, did more than just developing his physique, it contributed to developing a strong aptitude for building. From a very early age, Armand was spending his time experimenting with different materials to build potato launchers and gadgets that enabled him to acquire a diverse range of skills, from welding to mechanics. It was no surprise that Armand would end up pursuing an education in engineering after graduating from highschool. In 2012, he moved to Toulon, in the south of France in the engineering school Seatech to study materials engineering, and in his final year he went on to pursue a double degree with Cranfield University in the UK where he studies manufacturing technology and management and got involved with his first business:
As part of my Master thesis I worked on a project to create a watch making workshop for kids between the ages of 10 and 12. I designed the whole experience turning something quite complex, even for adults, into something that even kids can accomplish in half a day. Together with my co-founder, a fellow student, we turned this project into a startup that I ran for 2 years after that
This experience taught Armand how to deal with the different aspects of running a company but also helped him realize that what he truly enjoyed was to build products that would empower users, such as turning a complex process into a simple task. After a couple of years of running his watchmaking business, Armand began to turn his attention to the digital space as, “a way to create and iterate much faster and have more impact”. This motivated him to learn coding and eventually to close his business and gain experience in the digital space.
Embracing New Horizons: Early Days of DeFi & Aurora Labs
After returning to France and collaborating on a startup project with a close friend, Armand felt a compelling desire to venture beyond his comfort zone and expand his professional horizons. During his job search, he came across a Product Manager position that piqued his interest, despite never having considered it before. Intriguingly, the role aligned seamlessly with his passions for design, technology, and business. Accepting this opportunity meant returning to the UK, London, embarking on a journey of exploration that would ultimately lead him to Aurora.
Before I got a job at Worldremit where I actually had to conduct extensive research on how crypto could benefit the company, I worked in such as developing apps for the Hololens, the mixed reality headset from Microsoft, or consumer data analytics tools for a market research company. I also worked in IOT (internet of things) on a speech to task tool for manufacturing plants.
By 2019, Armand had been closely following the rise of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies since 2017, which initially sparked his interest while building trading algorithms. This fascination led him to deepen his knowledge and understanding of the field, eventually leading him to join World Remit as a Product Manager. While conducting extensive research on cryptocurrency opportunities for World Remit Armand learned a lot about the crypto landscape, Fintech, and the emerging world of DeFi. Two years later, when Armand got the opportunity to dedicate himself to a fully crypto project, it did not take long for him to enthusiastically jump onboard:
I joined Aurora in 2022, almost three years after my experience at Worldremit. It feels like coming back to my first watchmaking business, where I have to turn something complex into something accessible to anyone. This is really what pulled me into the Aurora venture.
In October 2022, Armand joined Aurora Labs as Product Manager on the team that was at the time managed by Matt Henderson, the current Aurora Labs’ CSO. At first he mainly focused on front-end products but with time he became more involved with engineering:
Right now I am managing the Apps’ team, which is what used to be the product team. What we do is to manage our user facing products, which includes all the websites, Apps, and Aurora Cloud. My role is to reflect the company’s strategy in the development of these products and make sure that every component is well integrated in our overall vision. Crucially, we strive to build products that our customers want.
Developing products in the crypto industry comes with its own challenges, since there is no set script that one can follow when it comes to product development. As Armand remarks, “ in Web3, most of the Web2 assumptions do not work as the fundamental principles are radically different”. This presents both difficulties but also opportunities to build something truly innovative:
I’m really proud of our work at Aurora Labs, we are trying to solve concrete problems that are blocking the emergence of a whole new world of possibilities and this is very exciting when you see how many opportunities we can open up for businesses and end users. And I think that products like Aurora Pass, Silos, and Borealis are the key to achieve this goal, they are powerful tools for businesses with real applications that create real value for their customers.
Looking At the Future of Aurora Labs
Aurora Labs’ mission is to introduce businesses to the world of Web3 and create the infrastructure and tools they need to realize their initiatives, enhance their processes, and bring additional value for their users. The App team led by Armand is trying to give body to these objectives by focusing on the removal of friction points experienced during the onboarding process of businesses and their customers. This, as Armand points out is a process that requires continuous iteration:
There is always something to be improved and sometimes moving forward we might even have to change direction as we figure out better ways to serve businesses. For example, today on the business side we propose Silos, ready to deploy blockchain instances. Following this logic, what would make sense in the future is to have one single platform for businesses to login to and be able to control everything they do. There are always new ideas that we come up with based on the needs we identify.
Powered by its high-performance EVM, and fully trustless Rainbow Bridge, Aurora combines an Ethereum compatible experience with the modern blockchain performance of NEAR Protocol. Aurora provides an optimal environment for the creation of scalable, carbon-neutral, future-safe, and low-cost Web3 services, as well as the perfect tools to bring to life your Web3 initiatives. Try Aurora Cloud, our all-in-one blockchain solution for enterprises, and get your Web3 journey started!