David Cuartielles: “I didn’t want my daughter to learn Excel in Technology class” | Technology

In a T-shirt, with an uncontrolled beard and with a speech that was not very conventional either… the Mobile World Congress, perhaps the fair with the largest number of executives in the world, did not seem like the place where someone would look for David Cuartielles (Zaragoza, 1974) , but there he was. He is a professor at the University of Mälmo, but is perhaps best known for being one of the founders of Arduino, the company that promotes free software, without licenses, through its own hardware boards and that has helped teach computer science and electronics. to a generation of young people. Now the company assaults the world of conventional industry with a transgressive look.

Ask. Are you going to leave the children?

Answer. No, no, we are going to continue, but we want to more clearly unite research with industry. We created Arduino for university students, but we realized that we had built a language that could be easily transferred to earlier phases of education and that is what happened naturally. We originally wanted to create an engineering discourse within the world of design and art, but it worked too well and expanded to other areas.

Q. Aren’t you afraid of losing your origins?

R. Obvious! But when you start a company you have to hire people and they have to pay a mortgage. You have to make sacrifices because it is more important that those people you really appreciate can grow with you than that they leave because they cannot earn what they deserve. But I don’t feel particularly bad about anything we’ve decided so far.

Q. They have always been dedicated to open technology, which has never had much entry into the traditional company.

R. One of the tricks of industrial technology has always been to have a closed door to keep your customers captive. Our philosophy is to capture people through the possibility of taking one of our plates and modifying it from top to bottom.

David Cuartielles, during his presence in Barcelona invited by the Mobile World Capital.Albert Garcia

Q. And does the mainstream industry understand this?

R. There are clients who are beginning to understand it. Yeah.

Q. He defends free technology because he defends another way of doing things, I understand.

R. Our philosophy is that you can use the tools within your scope of knowledge. When Apple developed its first iPhone, it was betting that you couldn’t develop an application on a computer that wasn’t a Mac and that it wasn’t developed outside of XCode, which is Apple’s system. Me and other people were interested in others software, but Apple did everything possible to prevent that from happening. They wanted to control the entire experience.

Q. With that look so outsider, Do you feel good in Mobile, where the industry is that has an antagonistic view to yours?

R. I know I don’t think the same as half the people who are working here, but I don’t feel bad nor do I think I’m doing it wrong. We have obtained investment, so we have shown that we could succeed.

Q. Is there already a generation of native Arduino?

R. It’s amazing. Now when we hire engineers we only want people who have studied Arduino; When we started we couldn’t do it. We have been in the market long enough to hire people who have learned with us.

When we hire engineers we only want people who have studied Arduino”

Q. Was that the goal?

R. My only goal was that when my daughter arrived at school and took a Technology class, she would not learn Word or Excel. Two years ago she arrived and ended up teaching Arduino classes to other children. If the company closed tomorrow I would leave calmly. My goal is accomplished.

Regulation is necessary. “We have to innovate with head”

Q. They trust to grow with the internet of things. Do you think that this leap is entirely positive for society?

R. The department where I work is called the Internet of Things and People. It can be a very useful thing if it is applied properly, but what is missing in some parts is the critical vision of the technology, who applies it in the appropriate way. Europe is taking a very good initiative on how to work with technology on privacy, in a way that limits the ways of using technology. You have to do a complex juggling act in your head to say how can I make a product that improves people’s lives, but doesn’t steal people’s data.

Q. Many companies and entrepreneurs say that in Europe there is excessive regulation and that this slows down innovation.

R. Regulation is necessary and as an academic I have to say that regulation helps make things safer, even if it makes it more difficult to do innocent innovation. There are things that have to be considered. Europe has created a legal framework, which is complicated but safe for people. Regulation also helps to get it right, the complicated thing is learning everything you need to learn to do it correctly. You have to innovate with your head.

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