Russell LaCour is Chief Technology Officer at Tantra Labs. He is probably the most grounded person in the office, possibly in all of Los Angeles, and since he is responsible for overseeing all the technology that lets us do what we do, this is a VERY good thing. Although Tantra Labs is building solutions for various sectors of the cryptoverse, from hedging products for miners to gamified saving, our flagship value driver is Russell’s passion and brainchild, Tantra’s proprietary algorithmic development and testing platform.
Russell grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida, an idyllic place filled with spring breakers, NASCAR junkies, and retirees. His summers were spent surfing and playing video games, and when he wasn’t surfing the waves, he surfed the nascent internet in search of a way, “To get rich online.” But while Russell looks back fondly on time spent with family, his days in school left much to be desired. After a particularly uninspiring time in middle school, Russell, like many people, realized that he could learn far more teaching himself online than he could by placing his trust in public education. One of the things he taught himself was Bitcoin. Russell began mining Bitcoin from home in 2011, and to this day, his mother still can’t figure out why her Dell Inspiron Notebook was working so slowly.. But all free electricity has to come to an end. Pressured to get a degree, Russell spent a brief stint in college studying philosophy and music before ultimately dropping out and moving to California in late 2014.
Russell has been developing software since he was 13 years old. He is an experienced full stack developer, iOS/Android mobile app developer, and he has a vast wealth of knowledge in project management, distributed systems architecture, machine learning and quantitative analytics. Growing up, he had two main interests, “Life and technology.” This contrasted sharply with his Christian upbringing, but for Russell, life was never as black and white as he was taught to believe: “The very idea that we wake up here in this reality and have been programmed to see this as the only thing that is real has pervaded my mind since childhood. I would lose sleep at night thinking about time being infinite, being raised Christian the thought of existing for eternity was very troubling to me, and I thought how horrible it would be to live like this forever.”
Nowadays, Russell is far less afraid of the infinite. In fact he revels in it. After a few risky trades and getting burnt out at a start-up, Russell got fed up with who he had become as a person and realized he needed to ground himself. Two books (still his favorites) set him on a new path. These books were “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Parmahansa Yogananda and “Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy” by Sadhguru. These books didn’t just change Russell’s life. They empowered it, and led to the eventual, perhaps inevitable founding of Tantra Labs.
When Russell finally had the opportunity to meet Sadhguru and tell him where he was in life, Sadhguru replied “Go East; It’s about time you came.” Directly after that conversation, Russell called his fiancé and told her he was booking a one way ticket to India. She was understandably upset, but she gave her blessing. A few months later Russell found himself in an Ashram, both literally and figuratively. There he met his now best friend, who just happened to live 20 minutes away from him back in LA. Upon hearing about Russell’s background and skillset and general lack of enthusiasm for what he was doing, this friend told Russell that he had to meet a man named Pedram Hasid back in LA and hear what Ped was planning, “Something to do with Bitcoins.”
After returning to LA, Russell did indeed meet Ped, and after a few meetings it became obvious that they had to work together. Shortly thereafter, Russell and Ped founded Tantra Labs, with Ped as CEO and Russell, finally able to put his skills to good use, as Chief Technology Officer.
When asked how he feels about how things turned out, Russell says that he has “Never been more excited, humbled, passionate, calm, and thrilled,” in his entire life.
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