Q&A with Ned Gosaynie, Head of Platform at Entidad

Written by:

Elizabeth Melton

6 minutes

Ned Gosaynie is the Head of DevOps at Entidad. He’s been fascinated with technology ever since he substituted computer programming class for a British Literature course in high school.

Over the course of his career, he’s worked at companies big and small — some of them his own — learning key lessons about fundraising, prioritization, client management, and, of course, software development. 

At Entidad, Ned is responsible for Entidad’s cloud infrastructure and operations, including, but not limited to: systems, storage, communications, service desk, application support, and data center operations. Ultimately, his work helps Entidad develop, test, and launch innovative solutions for non-profits that want to serve their constituents in a more secure, efficient, community-first fashion. In this Q&A, he gives us a deep dive into his background and explains how Entidad’s mission keeps him going.

Q: Ned, how did you get into software development originally? 

Taking a computer science elective in high school sparked my career in software development. By the time I got to college, I knew I wanted to pursue a technical degree, so I went all out STEM — I majored in computer mathematics and did an electrical engineering minor.

Post-graduation, I worked as a software engineer for a local medical billing company in Michigan, where I'm originally from. Although I was writing code, I gained experience in low-code platforms, which piqued my interest. I knew these platforms were going to be big someday. It’s freeing not to have to worry about saving memory, creating databases, and linking the database and the UI. I kept that thought in my back pocket.

After that, I moved to Florida to work with Levitz Furniture and Boston Proper, what I consider my first foray into the retail space. While I was working there, I met some consultants and was really captivated by that line of work. You get to work with so many different companies on so many projects. What if I could pair that lifestyle with my low-code knowledge? I decided to find out.

Q: Wow, that’s a big leap of faith! What happened next? 

Well, I formed a corporation and transitioned to a software development consultant, working with various organizations in Florida, Arizona, and New York City, all in the low-code software space. The work was varied — everything from mental health facilities to retirement systems to utilities — and I learned a lot.

But a few years in, former coworkers recruited me to join their retail startup company that was building enterprise order management and inventory software for traditional retailers and web and mail-order companies. I helped build the initial product, hired and managed a team of 15 support personnel, and then managed and conducted the on-site implementations. 

It was a great ride while it lasted. We grew to have 6 clients, including Giorgio Armani in New York, before we had to close our doors due to a lack of funding. I was bummed, but I had another opportunity knocking at my door — joining forces with a couple of technical consultants and forming a different company. This time, I focused on the financial services space.

During that phase, I passed the Series 6/63 securities exams, as well as the California Life Agent exam, and I became a registered representative of packaged investment products and life insurance products (think mutual funds, fixed and variable annuities, life insurance). But again, we were met with the same fate. A year or so after it was founded, our startup had to shut down.

Q: That’s so unfortunate. Did those experiences steer you away from tech?

For a while, yes. Since I was already licensed, I tried my hand at financial services and built my book of business in Orange and Los Angeles Counties to about 60 clients in just two years. But I still thought about going back to tech, and, as it turns out, an opportunity to return was around the corner.

This time, I was recruited by a tech consulting company that specialized in implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP for medium-sized companies on the West Coast. During my time there, I realized that what I enjoyed most was the project management piece, planning everything out, from converting the client's pre-existing data to the new platform to training end users to customization to Go Live. At the same time, I realized what I really didn’t like anymore: travel.

A few years later, I joined Guitar Center corporate as the Director of Project Management. Jorge Flores, Entidad's current CTO, joined Guitar Center in the IT architecture department, and I had the chance to work closely with him. We forged a strong working relationship.

Q: What brought you to Entidad, and what about the company’s mission appealed to you?

When the pandemic hit, Guitar Center, like other retailers, experienced contraction, and everyone was on edge. Around that time, Jorge left Guitar Center to work full-time for Entidad, and I started to think about where I could take my career next.

He reached out to me for some project management and QA help, so I decided to sign on as a consultant. About a year later, I joined them full-time.

As a kid, I’d heard stories about my father coming to the US from Lebanon and how he’d saved up enough money to start a business by picking berries and harvesting sugar beets. So many people come to the US hoping to start a new life, and many of them end up in a farm working job, contributing directly to our country’s health and wellness — something we take for granted all too often (and we especially took for granted during the pandemic).

Consulting for Entidad, I saw how much I could pay it forward if I went full-time, and I couldn’t pass up that opportunity to give back. I feel like I’m paying tribute to these farm workers and building things that actually matter.

Q: What are some unique aspects of working at Entidad? What excites you about coming to work every day?

In my opinion, there are two very profound areas we’re making an impact at Entidad that are motivating. The first, of course, is that we’re giving back to the community. All of our products directly help organizations serve the people who need their help.

The second is the way we’re doing this work. We’re using cutting-edge technology that very few companies in the world are using: the blockchain. And we’re doing it because we care about end-user security and privacy.

Over the past 25 years, security protocols have only been as good as they need to be to comply with local laws and avoid breaches. But regulations are constantly changing, and hackers have proven they can get around these bandaid security solutions — even at huge, name-brand enterprises — putting consumer data at risk.

In an effort to maintain the privacy of farm workers, who are hyper-sensitive to their personal information being shared, Entidad is implementing the concepts espoused by the digital communications and decentralized identity communities. Using digital ID technology to collect, store, and share data puts the power into end-users hands. They control who they share their data with, what data they share, and how long the recipient can access it, and all transfers use end-to-end encryption.

Beyond the mission and the tech, Entidad has a very diverse workforce, and I feel lucky to work with such talented people. We’re a fully remote company with folks all over the world, from South Africa to Peru to the Netherlands to India.

Working with people in that many time zones has forced us to be fastidious with our documentation. When one team goes to bed, another starts their day. If they don’t have the information they need or an SOP telling them how to do something, they won’t have a productive day. We rely a lot on Jira and Confluence to keep us all on the same page.

Q: What are you into outside of work? 

My father passed away when I was seven, so I became pretty self-sufficient at a young age, helping my mom with housework and yard work. When I became a homeowner, I decided to revisit those skills.

One of our toilets began leaking, so I went on YouTube and found a few videos that explained how to fix it. Like any other project, I diligently took notes, prioritized the steps that mattered to my particular problem, and got the resources I needed to execute those steps.

It worked! And that gave me the confidence to go after other home projects, too. I made a whole granite path coming up from the sidewalk to our front door. I planted a succulent garden. And I started becoming the go-to person for questions about home improvement projects. I even helped Jorge fix his garage door recently.

It may sound cheesy, but home maintenance is all about project management and attention to detail. Years of learning to work on the right things, the right way, at the right time, and not letting anything slip through the cracks continues to serve me well in all aspects of life.

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Julette Martinez

CEO, Farm Worker Organization