The Creator of SpiderAF: An Interview with CTO Eurico Doirado – Part 1

Today we sat down to talk with the leader of the engineering team and the muscle behind SpiderAF – CTO Eurico Doirado! Working not just on the product side, Eurico is a key figure behind the business side of things, as well as sales and marketing. In Part 1 of this interview, we’ll be diving into Eurico’s background, his reasons for coming to Japan, and some details about his personal life.

Let’s start off with Eurico’s background.

Going from a gamer to starting my own software enterprise

Phybbit CTO Eurico
I’m originally from Portugal. My hometown is in a place called Peniche, which is about 1 hour north of Lisbon. It’s a small town by the ocean where everyone is friends with each other. Right after I was born, I emigrated to France but returned to Portugal when I was a 1st year student in high school, right when I was 14. I spent 10 years of my life back in Portugal. I began programming when I was in my teens and always felt the appeal in how “stuff” works. Programming happened naturally when I started to use computers and because I really enjoyed it, I wanted to do something related to that in the future. So when I went to university, I majored in computer science and programming. When I was a university student, I didn’t really find anything else fun besides studying programming and games, so often times I would skip classes and get absorbed into video games. It was fun to just go online with other players to fight and take down enemies. I was so absorbed into Final Fantasy XI Online at one point that I would end up spending days locked up in my house and often forgot to eat or sleep.
Taekwondo Team Group Pic
Taekwondo Team in College, Eurico is 2nd From the Left
At the end of my second year in university, I decided to quit playing video games altogether because the possibility of repeating a year was becoming very apparent, so I poured all of my passion into studying seriously and Taekwondo. I loved the technology involved with making video games and programming so I studied those fields. It was right around that time that I started having strong desires to make my own video game and start my own company.

I originally planned to stay for half a year, but Japan’s beauty made me stay

It seems you had that entrepreneurial spirit since your 20s. After you graduated, could you please tell us about when you came to Japan?

After I started my Ph.D. studies, I came to Japan in September of 2010 on an exchange program to research AI algorithms applicable to video games. For someone who didn’t know the culture nor speak the language, my life in Japan was a constant adventure. In the beginning, I had problems communicating but through trial and error as well as talking with Japanese people, I overcame that. Since I grew up in a small town rich with nature and near the ocean, I really preferred that over the big cities. I felt that Tokyo was a good balanced between a small town and a big city. For example, the buildings surrounding Ikebukuro station are bustling with random strangers but if you went down a small side street, it instantly became quiet and people knew each other. It was like there was a small community around; it felt really strange.
Eurico in snowy Hokkaido
First Time Snowboarding, Winter 2010
Then there’s Hakone, Kyoto, Nara, Tokyo… I love Japan’s nature. If you walk 10 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of a business street in Tokyo, you can find yourself in a huge park surrounded with beautiful trees. It was almost like I wasn’t living in a big city; there’s so much nature!
  • You can do anything in Tokyo, it’s a city that never sleeps! (Except that the trains stop from 1 AM to 4 AM… haha)
  • Japanese people living in Tokyo are stressed out, but the hospitality is still second to none!
  • It’s safe! You can feel safe using your iPhone wherever. You don’t have to worry about it getting stolen.
  • I enjoy snowboarding. (But the sea…)
I’m also extremely interested in culture and architecture that I can’t find in Portugal. I thought to myself that I really found a great place that I knew absolutely nothing about and that I wanted to live here for a while. The program was supposed to end after half a year, so I was originally planning to go back to Portugal in March of 2011. But because I wanted to stay, I extended my visa by another half year when I got an offer to continue my research.

I discovered the appeal of developing something that makes people happy

Eurico talking to employee
Talking With Colleagues While Revising Products

Eurico has a side to him where he is more Japanese than even a Japanese person! So that’s probably why your personality fit really well with Japan. What happened after you extended your program?

After 1 year of research, I received a 2 year visa from the Ministry of Culture and was still doing my research while getting my Ph.D, but knowing me, what I really wanted to do was create software, video games especially. So I entered the gaming industry. I joined a gaming company and helped develop a online game on iOS/Android that was based of a famous console IP. Still, I had a strong desire to build my own ideas and more importantly to build a company, so I only worked there for 1 year before moving on to join Phybbit.

I refresh my mood with some martial arts on my days off

So that covers your gaming background! The last thing I wanted to ask about is your hobby: martial arts. It’s a word that is not too familiar in Japan, but it’s a word that can be translated as “Budo” in Japanese. Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu and Judo… Taekwondo is another one of those kinds of physical activities. I was wondering if you could tell us more about it.

There are several fighting styles and each varies on a couple of things: the fighting distance between opponents, whether you use weapons or not, etc. Taekwondo as a sport mostly focuses on standing, full-contact fights and became more famous for its acrobatic-looking kicks. There’s also something spiritual about it, and it’s a great way to bond with the people we practice with. I definitely prefer that over going to the gym by myself. I’ve been doing Taekwondo now for 9 years and started BJJ a couple of years ago, here in Japan. Lately I’ve been busy with work and child raising but it’s still one of my hobbies.

(When I asked Eurico’s wife about his other hobbies, she instantly replied that he’s into Manga! It was a charming moment.)

Thank you very much!

So that’s why Eurico has such a business mind! Although he’s more serious than the average Japanese person, I was impressed to hear that he spent his days in university just like any other student! Haha.

In Part 2, we’ll be talking with team members who just joined Phybbit!

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Phybbit is made up of people from many different nationalities and backgrounds. For those interested in joining a company that respects autonomy and diversity, check out here for more info!