In 2017, we announced Root: a project to build a programmable bank account for developers. Our goal was to eliminate the barriers in FinTech and enable the developer community to find new and innovative ways to control their money.
There weren’t many banks that understood the power of programmable money, and it’s still hard to find them. Our original strategy was to build a completely new bank. As it turns out, building a bank is hard and expensive (no jokes).
In early 2019, Investec approached the OfferZen team to talk about their mission to invest in the tech sector. Like us, they believe strongly that software can fundamentally accelerate South Africa’s economic growth, and want to help developers in South Africa to achieve this. Over the following months, we worked together to figure out how we could partner to make programmable banking a reality for South African developers.
In December 2019, Investec launched the programmable banking beta at OfferZen’s MERGE conference and we started to build the programmable banking community to get feedback and support from the tech community.
Making programmable banking a reality for South African developers and businesses.
Writing code alone is not fun, building something new is even harder! Discovering and then refining those use cases and code snippets (don’t kid yourself, we all use code snippets!) is the other part; and this is rarely effective when done in isolation.
Conversations with other passionate developers reveal ideas we never knew we had. Friendly debates help us clarify our views. A casual comment can uncover new ways for us to think and build. Interacting with diverse sets of people radically expands our vision and insights into a problem.
Still, most developers work in isolation, without a collaborative coding environment of any kind. Large peer review sessions exist mostly within larger institutions. Friends and family mean well but rarely provide useful feedback.
Our core focus as a community is to support each other to unlock the potential of programmable banking for everyone. Working together as a tribe of South African developers who want to solve business problems using programmable banking.
And we do this in a few simple ways.
We believe that the following values help create and sustain thriving developer communities.
1. We give first:
Before asking anything from the community, consider how you’re giving to the community. E.g. through code commits/answering other questions or building something others in the community can use.
2. We are curious:
Look at every interaction as an opportunity to learn something new and build on the ideas being presented.
3. We ask (and answer) questions in public spaces:
If you have a question or if you have the answer to a problem that you had, please share in public channels. This way, we can all learn together.
4. We share what we are working on:
Sharing your ideas, code, and demos early and openly with the community is encouraged as it promotes collaboration and ideas sharing within the community.
5. We make things that will help the community or others:
Building something that you share with, and that can benefit, others are always the best way to learn and grow as a community. It empowers you and the community to create things that we couldn’t do alone.
6. We help others build things:
Contributing to existing projects, even in a small way e.g. feedback or ideas, fosters a sense of collaboration and co-creation within the community to build better, faster and more resilient projects.
7. We ALWAYS have fun building together:
While we’re working on serious things, we should always have fun creating cool things together.