My name is Erik Trautman and I’m a challenge-addicted entrepreneur dedicated to empowering creators and communities.
I studied mechanical engineering at Penn but a career designing widgets for some military contractor was far less engaging than participating in the early days of online poker. Success there blossomed into an interest in finance and business which got me through the back door to Wall Street. I spent half a decade building analytics infrastructure and trading on commodities desks from New York to Houston before shifting gears to build businesses.
In 2013 I started The Odin Project, an open-source web development community that grew to over 100,000 members. In 2014 I founded Viking Education, the first fully online software engineering program where students didn't have to pay until they got a job. Both were acquired in 2017.
I met Illia and Alex in 2018 and we joined forces with a group of world champion competitive programmers to build a new smart contract platform called the NEAR Protocol and bring the power of blockchain's new primitives to the consumer web. In 2020, NEAR achieved its genesis and became one of the only full-featured smart contract platforms to achieve decentralization.
I've also ridden through each of the lower 48 states on a motorcycle, most during one epic trip in 2012, and a number of other countries as well during another great trip in early 2018. I ran my first triathlon in 2016 and completed an Ironman a year later in Santa Rosa, California. I can typically be found exploring new mountains or dancing to whatever's playing in my head.
I'm driven to impact the world through the creation of high leverage projects while living meaningfully and well. I also build stuff in meatspace and sometimes set it on fire. Come along for the ride.