Know more about the personality behind Ovium

Team Sep 21, 2018

Co-Founder, Senior Project Leader and Blockchain Expert at Orvium

Full article:

Manuel’s career has focused on supporting large scientific collaborations through technology innovation at the European Organization for Nuclear Research. He has led critical data management, big data and artificial intelligence initiatives for improving the operations of CERN’s Large Hadron Colliders (LHC), the largest and one of the most complex scientific instrument ever built. Beside that, he is member of the Distributed Computational Intelligence and Time Series Labs (University of Granada) and CERN-openlab, has collaborated with NASA-JPL, Fermilab (U.S. Dept. of Energy) and GSI (German Federal Government) among others, has participated as a guest lecturer for the Executive program at ESADE business school and, has advised a large number of companies such as Oracle, BMW, Caixa, Gassco, Eni, UPS.

Where did the idea for Orvium come from?

At Orvium, we have a shared passion for innovative technologies which can solve real world problems. As we witnessed the emergence of blockchain, we recognised it had the potential to be a game-changing technology, with multiple use cases across innumerable industries. Our team’s background is mainly focused in the field of science and research, with the majority of the team having spent much of their careers in some of the most reputable scientific institutes. Antonio and I have worked at CERN in Geneva for many years, while Chris Mattmann and Tom Soderstrom are some of our advisors currently working at NASA-JPL. Our scientific backgrounds led us to study the feasibility of applying technologies such as blockchain, big data, and artificial intelligence to solve a problem that we have witnessed throughout our careers. One which affects scientific development and progress, and therefore our society as a whole. At present, the dissemination of scientific knowledge is controlled by a highly oligopolistic market which is introducing biases, limiting scientific progress, and placing human knowledge and academic output behind significant paywalls, while making huge revenues (25 billion per year). We feel that emerging technologies have presented us with a unique opportunity to improve the way in which scientific knowledge is disseminated and to effectively disrupt the market.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Every morning we have a technical meeting with the development team to review development status, identify any obstacles to progress, and establish goals for the day/week. As a co-founder, my day also includes a significant exchange of emails, meetings, and calls with our team, partners, other projects, potential collaborators, etc., sometimes across many different time-zones. Additionally, this is a quite hectic business and often involves a lot of travelling. To ensure I stay productive, I always focus on finishing what I am doing before jumping to the next task. I am, of course, fortunate that I can rely on a talented and self-organized team working with me.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Richard Feynman, one of my favorite scientists, defined the scientific method in a beautiful yet simple way. First, we make a guess, then we compute the consequences of the guess, and finally we do experiments. We apply the same process when bringing new ideas to life at Orvium. We put ideas on the table, we spend time trying to better understand the impact and consequences of these ideas, and finally we always get our hands dirty with Proof of Concepts. It’s a process of agile collaboration where we focus on keeping the initial idea simple and then improving it and adding more features. This helps us explain it simply to others while continually challenging ourselves to find ways of improving our thinking.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Personally, I’m really excited about the progress currently being made on blockchain scalability. This will be key to continued disruption of industries by blockchain, as well as its adoption by the mainstream. On top of that, at Orvium we are fascinated by the potential of integrating blockchain with other revolutionary technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Exercise. I usually go for a run in the morning before getting to the office. It is the time I use to explore new ideas and reflect upon how best to realise those projects which are already ongoing. Also living and working in Switzerland loving the mountains is a must, I find that spending time outdoors in nature helps to reset your brain and leave you with a clear head.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be afraid of leaving your comfort zone and of possible failures, the road to success often requires difficult decisions and brave actions.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Life of Brian is the best movie ever.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Keep an eye on emerging trends and opportunities. Doing so will allow you to get out of your comfort zone and explore your own limits while participating actively in the creation of the future you believe in.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Find people that really care about your idea for the key areas of your business. Adapt your message to your audience to be understood. Have a plan and stick to it but don’t be afraid to adjust it if it is required. Finally, something which is vital is to be considerate of any kind of feedback you receive.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

In a society which only rewards success. It was shocking to me, when I was much younger, to understand that you can’t succeed without failing. The important bit here is to learn from it and react quickly.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

This idea might already be out there but I haven’t come across it if so. Imagine a website where people can see if the news we read every day is completely true or false. A platform where contributors can add valuable information on given events, leading to more transparency on what really happens behind the scenes and how events are connected.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

My favorite restaurant with my partner, those invaluable moments give me happiness.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

We use a service called IFTTT which stand for “if this then that” which is basically a service which triggers a chain of actions based on a particular event.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?” By Alan Alda because communication is never easy and always important, this book has been very useful to me.

What is your favourite quote?

Work hard, stay positive, and do it with passion.

Key learnings:

  • Always keep the “big picture” in mind and set your goals accordingly, think big.
  • Follow closely emerging trends, projects, and technologies
  • Always keep learning.
  • Technology evolves quickly and so do the ways people interact with it, find which one excites you the most and try to change things. Creative destruction and disruption are at the center of our society.
  • Participate in the creation of the future you believe in.


Orvium Team

All the information related to scholarly publishing, academia, the Orvium project, updates, and more!