Eight Questions: Tiago Almeida, iOS Lead and Engineering Manager, Anchorage Digital

Tiago Almeida, iOS Lead and Engineering Manager, Anchorage Digital

Welcome to Eight Questions, where we profile individual members of the Anchorage Digital team, diving into their career paths, what brought them to crypto, and what makes them tick. Why eight? Because it’s the number of decimal places a bitcoin can be divided into. It’s also the last single digit number in a Fibonacci Sequence, and we like that.

Next in our series is Tiago Almeida, iOS Lead and Engineering Manager at Anchorage Digital. Based in the small oceanside town of Espinho, Portugal, he holds a Master's degree in Informatics and Computing Engineering from Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto. Outside of work, Tiago finds time for strength training when he's not driving his kids back and forth from dance classes.

1. You worked in iOS development for a number of different companies before joining Anchorage Digital. Are there any unique challenges—and opportunities—that come with developing apps for a crypto-native company?

My work at Anchorage Digital is fascinating, not just because I get to work in a newer industry like crypto, but because our products are designed to meet the highest standards in compliance and security while remaining extremely user-friendly. As we develop features on our iOS platform, my team is always discussing how we can maximize both security and usability. Working in coordination with our product and design teams, I’m always working to strike that balance – adding layers to my work and making it all the more interesting.

Although I come from a technical background, I get really excited about the design aspects involved in iOS development because I want to make products that I am proud of, like the Anchorage Digital app. That sense of accomplishment drives me to add unique details, so I can say that I am proud of what I helped build.

2. How does your role in iOS development enhance the security and usability of the  Anchorage Digital platform?

When I joined the team, my goal was to create consensus around the architecture for the iOS app moving forward. My role initially focused on understanding current problems and aligning on an architecture that could solve them. From there, I used the opportunity to raise the bar on our iOS development. Today, what I do is “protect that bar” as we scale.

Going back to the balance between security and usability, protecting the bar means we don’t want to compromise one for the other. Establishing that architecture early on in my time at Anchorage Digital has helped every facet of our work. It’s helped us improve our design, solve pain points faster, and attract great talent to the iOS team who recognize the gratifying work that’s made possible when a strong technical foundation is paired with both an innovative product and an exceptional team.

3. What has it been like seeing the company evolve over the last three years? When it comes specifically to our engineering culture, how would you describe it today?

One of the best things about watching Anchorage Digital evolve over the last three years is seeing how our entire team has maintained a sense of empathy despite immense change and growth. Empathy allows us to look beyond flaws, and creates an environment where people can learn with each other. When we give each other feedback, we know it is coming from a place where people care about each other. That empathy creates a foundation for constantly evolving our culture in a humane way.

4. What do you think is most important in creating a productive and engaging work environment for engineers on your team?

This goes back to empathy. If we allow ourselves to voice our concerns, and share candid feedback about both the product and the engineering decisions, then we’re off to a great start. However, sometimes that’s not enough. We also want to make decisions and act quickly. If we always discussed and never acted, that would not be a productive environment. So for my team, I want to ensure dynamic discussions don’t enter that loop. So once things are decided, I don’t want them to lose momentum. As I see it, the faster we can move from the idea stage to the action stage, the better. This creates a lot of great energy for our team, because they know we are listening and will act fast.

5. While you’re based in Portugal, the Anchorage Digital Village is truly global—how do you manage working with team members around the world?

When you work with a global team, there are so many opportunities to meet new people outside of our close connections. I’ve found that a lot of my most meaningful moments of impact at Anchorage Digital – like enabling fast decision making on my team or serving as a mentor to fellow engineers — have come from the times I met people outside my closest group. A good way to do this is to find an excuse to collaborate with others. One great example of that was an engineering event we hosted with coworkers in Portugal. I had to ask for help to organize it, but also I had to find other engineers to give internal talks! Doing this, I met really good engineers working on hard problems, and I was able to help them organize their thoughts to explain those problems to peers.

6. When faced with conflicting views, how do you work to promote productive discussions within your team?

At Anchorage Digital, we have great people, so we want their input on important decisions. With that, sometimes we get a lot of strong opinions in the same room. And that is a good sign, because it means people care! In those discussions we try to stay productive by prompting each other to explain the other side of the argument.

If you can’t defend the opposing viewpoint, then you aren’t ready to have a productive discussion. That’s proven to be a really great exercise for our engineering team, because you can remove your emotional connection to an idea and focus on what’s best for clients and the business.

7. Our engineering team often talks about "documenting the why" when making decisions. Can you walk us through what that means, and why this approach is important?

As an engineer, constant evolution and changing processes are part of the journey, but it's crucial not to lose sight of the rationale behind each decision. At Anchorage Digital, that is especially important because, as the institutional demand for crypto scales, we scale as well. 

The impetus for “documenting the why'' comes from the idea of truly understanding why certain decisions were made. The variables to some decisions are always changing, so we want to keep evaluating if a given solution still makes sense in the current world. As technology evolves, the rationale underpinning a prior decision may no longer be of value, so if we know why it was decided when we look back, we can decide what still makes sense today.

8. What have been some of your biggest growth moments, professionally? What advice would you give to other engineers at earlier stages of their careers?

In the early stages of a career, we have an instinct to say “everyone else is wrong and the way I do things is right.” But if you really want to learn from others, you have to remove your ego and understand why previous decisions were made. 

Thinking back, my biggest moments of growth have come from projects where I learned to look beyond my own strong opinions and tried to understand why some decisions were made. That also forced me to learn how to listen with empathy.

And as a leader, if you want to have an impact on others — and eventually gain respect from them — you must first understand their point of view. From there, you can better understand why they care and then you can help them grow while pushing the boundaries of the quality of the work produced

So if you think you’re always right, you will end up closing yourself off to outside views and actually limit your learning. The best way to learn is together, and no one likes to learn with someone that doesn’t want to listen.

About Anchorage Digital

Anchorage Digital is a crypto platform that enables institutions to participate in digital assets through custody, staking, trading, governance, and settlement. With the only federally chartered crypto bank in the US, Anchorage Digital Bank, as well as Anchorage Digital Singapore, which offers equivalent security and service standards, Anchorage Digital delivers an unparalleled combination of security, regulatory compliance, and platform capabilities. The company is funded by leading institutions including Andreessen Horowitz, GIC—Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Goldman Sachs, KKR, and Visa, with its most recent Series D valuation over $3 billion. Founded in 2017, Anchorage Digital is headquartered in San Francisco, California with offices in New York, New York; Porto, Portugal; Singapore; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Learn more at anchorage.com, on X @Anchorage, and on LinkedIn.

This post is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to purchase any securities in Anchor Labs, Inc., or any of its subsidiaries, and should not be relied upon to make any investment decisions. Furthermore, nothing within this announcement is intended to provide tax, legal, or investment advice and its contents should not be construed as a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security or digital asset or to engage in any transaction therein.

Additional reading

Porto by Anchorage Digital: your wallet, our security
Anchorage Digital and FusionIQ Partner to Offer Regulated Crypto for Financial Advisors and Institutions
Anchorage Digital and Onramp Invest Partner to Offer Crypto for Financial Advisors with Industry-First Block Trading Feature
2023: The Flight to Safety—and the Path Forward
Porto: The Self-Custody Wallet for Institutions
Anchorage Digital Launches Registered Investment Advisor Offering