Ehsan Shariati: Our Vision Is To Enable the Public To Preside Over and Participate in the Advancement of Technology

August 9, 2022

Our vision is to enable the public to preside over and participate in the advancement of technology.

We put an end to “the rental web” by providing people with the infrastructure to own it, democratizing access to cutting-edge technologies like AI and Blockchain, and creating an open ecosystem for software/hardware developers in all capacities to dedicate their time to build on these technologies, whilst sustaining and thriving.

We design from the first principles for “privacy” and “ethics” to be the foundation, not an afterthought.

Tell us about yourself?

I studied electrical engineering and got my master’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. I’ve been a full-stack developer with over 15 years of experience, having developed complex platforms for large corporations such as L’Oreal.

I’ve also been a project manager and have PMP, ITIL, and SCRUM certificates. I enjoy playing board games, hiking, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts. I believe that constructive collaboration is the key to the advancement of humankind.

However, up to now, we have had tools for a wide collaboration between a diverse and scattered population. We had to rely on central organizations (that are either elected or selected) to make decisions for us.

However, with the introduction of blockchain and awareness of decentralization in a wider audience, the right tools are now at our disposal to take back the power from the minority of decision makers.

For example, in Defi we now have the power to send money to someone far away, without any middleman in between. So I thought why not expand it outside of Defi and bring the power of people’s data back to their hands?

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

You need to go through a hard path to build something innovative. Get prepared for it and enjoy the journey. Like any other journey, it has its good times and hard times.

What problem does your business solve?

Remember when Google Photos announced itself as a free forever app and see how they rug pulled us last year with a simple notice and by removing the free tier after we trusted it and put years of our memories on their platform?

Have you ever been charged for a free trial that you registered weeks ago and thought it was for free or simply forgot to cancel?

With the transition to the cloud from DVDs and CDs we lost data ownership. Now We rely on central servers to keep our data, organize and process it and create useful information out of it, they also keep our data safe with backups that we can access from anywhere.

However, right now a single entity physically owns our data. Besides dictating the price of the service and increasing it whenever they want, it takes our data hostage and uses it to train the AI algorithm of their system to predict and manipulate our behavior.

If we stop sharing our data with them and decline their so-called privacy policy, they stop our access to the service, which means our own data on their servers. And this rental model is finding its way to even web3. The data we create each day is limitless.

But data itself is of no use if we do not process it and create knowledge out of it. the more we keep delegating the task of processing our information to a central server, the more they become powerful and we lose power.

We need to take back control of our data in order to be truly in charge of our lives, or else we can be manipulated by the central power who has our data and the knowledge on how to control our behavior.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The rental model, which is called subscription, has become a common theme in recent years. Companies offer us a product that looks balanced between benefits and what we give up initially.

After we store our data on cloud servers, we are locked in, as we store more data. The cost of switching becomes higher, and these cloud companies ask for more money, sell our data or show us ads, all of which benefit them, not us, their customers.

We want to break the monopoly of the consumer cloud market by giving the control and ownership of data back to consumers and enabling application developers and content creators to monetize their creations without any middleman in between.

What is your magic sauce?

Our magic sauce is monetizing open source.

If we reduce the costs of developing an application and introduce a clear path for open-source developers to earn money from their application without charging users, introducing ads, or selling their data, we opened the door to a constructive collaboration of millions of developers to innovate and create applications that are more useful, more creative and are not intended to manipulate users’ behavior.

Millions of developers collaborating together is more powerful than the largest corporation in the world working independently.

No one has still addressed the cost and speed of decentralized data storage. This is the reason that decentralized data storage has not yet found its way into the consumer market.

Hence, developers are still in charge of keeping users’ data, which requires them to pay for a central or decentral storage solution and then transfer the cost to their users through subscription costs or ads.

We have created a solution that can be as fast as the cloud and as low-cost as a hard disk. Therefore, the consumers can easily take back ownership of their data, which reduces the costs of application development.

Also by pairing the power of mining with the application development, we made open-source development monetized.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Our vision is to enable every consumer to own their data. In the next 5 years we will be focusing on onboarding developers and creators to the ecosystem, to allow them diversify the applications and content that is available to consumers.

We also create partnerships with Web2 platforms to migrate their operation to the new infrastructure. For many consumer platforms, users’ data is a liability and not an asset. They pay and extensive portion of their revenue to cloud storage providers to hold their customers’ data.

We empower them to focus on their service, instead of paying their revenue for a liability. We also empower developers to create open-source apps and still earn from it. This speeds up the innovation as many minds can work on an app instead of a few hired by a big tech corporation.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenge we faced was the recent market conditions which has affected many startups who are innovating in web3.

During bear market the sentiments of the market is not innovation -friendly. But we have partners and investors who help us in navigating this transitionary conditions.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We want all application developers to start collaborating with us for creating alternatives to closed-source applications.

Please follow us on telegram @functionland or check out our codes on GitHub: https://github.com/functionland to stay updated on the progress.

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