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Fireside chat with Joan Figuerola Hurtado, Co-Founder&CTO of SpecifiedBy

Who is Joan Figuerola Hurtado?

I’m Joan, originally from a town called Torredembarra near Barcelona. I moved to Scotland 9 years ago to do an Erasmus. I was meant to return but I met Darren who offered me an opportunity to work on SpecifiedBy as a lead software engineer and co-founder. Then I met my girlfriend Lola and got a home together. I’m currently anchored in Edinburgh, which is a great city to live in and has a vibrant tech scene.

What’s the story behind SpecifiedBy?

To find building product information is unnecessarily time consuming. Information is siloed and scattered all over the Internet. Building product research accounts for 10% of the overall project duration. SpecifiedBy is a marketplace that connects architects who are looking for building products with manufacturers who are looking for architects to get their products specified. In layman terms, SpecifiedBy is kind of Amazon for building products.

What was the most difficult part of your experience in the early beginnings?

To build a useful product that people are willing to pay for. Personally, I went from university to leading the software side of a tech startup that could fail at any moment. I had no clue. We were figuring things out as the company moves forward. “It’s like building a plane whilst you’re falling down a cliff” – Reid Hoffman However, we had a goal, worked hard and had a positive mindset that things would work out.

What are your most proud of regarding your business?

We spend 95% of our lives inside a building. A building is the “ultimate app” in terms of engagement. As a tech company, I believe technology should work in the background. We should spend less and less time using devices because the technology is doing the job in the background. This is essentially what a building is. A technology that works in the background so we can focus on living. SpecifiedBy is helping making better buildings for people. This is something to be proud of.

What is your vision for the future of SpecifiedBy?

There are way too many moving parts in construction projects. Projects are notoriously known for being delayed and over budget. My vision is that whoever cracks a simple and efficient end-to-end solution is going to make a massive impact in construction and beyond. From a business perspective, this is the biggest goldmine ever made. Good news is that we joined forces with Causeway who are already working on it. I guess that we have fast forwarded a few years and we’re closer to that vision now. Still a lot of work to be done to be a simple and efficient end-to-end solution.

What’s your advice for the businesses that are trying to adapt to this economic climate?

Look after each other. Everyone is fighting its own battle. Our mental health is very fragile these days. A simple “How are you?” can make someone’s day. There are brighter times ahead and things will work out.

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business.

Open source. SpecifiedBy wouldn’t exist today without open source. Open source contributors are the unsung heroes of today’s tech world domination.

What books do you have on your nightstand?

“Cyberpunk 2077 – Trauma Team” a comic published by Dark Horse.

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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