How to Scale a Network of Contributors to Power a New Decentralized Global Map

The Life at Hivemapper series is a way for us to introduce you to our team and company culture. In this series, we share the stories of the people who are driving Hivemapper’s mission to build a decentralized global map. In this interview, we’re excited to introduce you to John Pallera on our Network Operations team. John, let’s start with… Since Hivemapper is all about mapping and community, where do you feel most at home?
At home — seriously. Outside of that, near the water — something about it just feels right.
If you could choose your birthplace, where would it be? Outer space and fictional places are up for grabs.
Fun fact about me — I was born in our home in the Philippines and not in a hospital. I don’t quite exactly remember what that was like, but since I turned out alright, I wouldn’t mind doing that again. Thanks, mom! That or London (very fond of London) — but can also go for the MCU — a big fan of Spider-Man.
This GIF shows what mapping over 73,681.76 road km in the Manila metro from June to November looks like.
“The evolution of maps gets me excited. I remember my first-hand experience dealing with a “digital” map was with Mapquest 15 or so years ago. I remember printing out the different directions to get from point A to point B and even using a magnifying glass because the map was too small on the printer paper. I always thought there had to be a better way. Then came Google and Apple maps, and they made our lives so much easier when it came to being that “guide” that gets us to the places where we needed to go. And now, I’m part of a company, Hivemapper, that’s trying to even further revolutionize our global map. So, yeah, pretty excited about maps.” — John Pallera, Network Operations Lead, Hivemapper
What are some highlights from your career experiences before you joined Hivemapper? In other words, what are some achievements you’re most proud of?
A couple of things come to mind.
I managed the concept-to-launch of one of my previous company’s platforms in 3 months with limited resources and created different product features that significantly improved the user conversion rate. That made some people very happy.
Using data-driven decisions to launch and execute a scalable, end-to-end growth plan that reduced spending and increased leads. It was great seeing the team grow firsthand and be hands-on in the process.
What are some things from your previous career experiences that uniquely prepared you for your role at Hivemapper?
Working in startup environments: I’m fortunate enough to have worked in other startups that helped me be more prepared for my role here at Hivemapper. Whether that’s always having this sense of urgency to get things done, understanding when to pivot when things aren’t going according to plan, and having this mindset to always do better and be quick about it — working in startup environments has allowed me to experience and learn these things and more.
Not being afraid to try everything and anything, even if the outcome is not ideal: One of the things that I have applied here at Hivemapper is not being afraid to try as many things as possible — as quickly as possible. For example, growing the Contributor Network can be seen as a daunting task. While it can feel that way some days, it becomes a lot easier when you’re willing to try as many things as possible — as unorthodox as the idea might be — and not be afraid of a negative outcome. The only way to find out is to try.
Thinking outside the box: In my previous roles, there were many instances where I had to be a little more innovative when it came to pushing an idea forward or finding a solution for an issue. Just because resources are limited doesn’t mean you can’t get things done. And just because something has been done a certain way multiple times, it doesn’t mean that’s the only way to do it. Sometimes you have to get creative.
Describe “a day in the life” as a Network Operations Lead at Hivemapper?
No day is the same. One day, you might be focused on coming up with new ideas to grow the Network and trying them out. The next day, you might be working cross-functionally with engineering and design to push new features forward. The following morning, your inbox might be 3-digits in due to an influx of interested or current contributors who might need support, so you have to drop what you’re doing and ensure everyone has the best possible experience. We want to make sure every single person who wants or is contributing with us is supported.
So all in all, I would say no day is the same — and I love it.
What are some things you’ve contributed to Hivemapper so far?
Growing (and continuing to grow) the Contributor Network: One of the initial goals I have, when I joined Hivemapper, was to grow the network of contributors, especially on the dashcam side. When I first joined, we only had a handful of contributors mapping for us under an hourly rate — something that was not scalable. Currently, our dashcam network contributors have grown by 16x, are active in 9 different markets in 5 different countries and are under the Honey Tile Program instead of hourly. The best part? We’re just getting started.
“What excites me the most about Hivemapper ranges from the team we currently have and growing, the product itself and its utilization, and the chance to be part of this mission of creating a global map built by everyone, for everyone. I’m also very excited about the crypto side of the business and taking part in its growth. There is just an abundance of great things happening at Hivemapper right now, and I’m very eager to keep pushing forward! “— John Pallera, Network Operations Lead, Hivemapper
Why is Hivemapper a good career opportunity for you?
To start — I’m learning a lot. Each team member here — from engineering, design, marketing, and everything in between — has taught me a lot so far — things that I never knew before joining Hivemapper.
“There are a lot of growth opportunities at Hivemapper right now. We’re currently a small but mighty team, and we’re growing. As a current team member, you’re at the forefront of the growth that Hivemapper is experiencing, and this to me is very exciting.” — John Pallera, Network Operations Lead, Hivemapper
Also, with the great team we currently have, you will always feel like you’re supported. Whether you need assistance with a project, guidance on your career path, or anything in between — the team members here are readily available to help and support you in any way they can.
Why did you choose to join a Web3 company?
Honestly, it wasn’t because Hivemapper was a Web3 company that I joined. I wanted to be part of Hivemapper because after talking to everyone during the interview process, researching about the company, and learning from Ariel about his vision on where he wants to take Hivemapper, I knew that Hivemapper was going to be…something…something big. I was excited about the potential it had, and Hivemapper being in its own space and implementing tactics that haven’t been done before, such as using crypto and the blockchain to create a global map, it just made me even more excited. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that I am part of a Web3 company — which is pretty cool.
What excites you about working at a series A Silicon Valley startup?
This is going to sound very cliche, but the growth. I know there are a lot of Silicon Valley series A startups out there, but something about Hivemapper’s potential growth is getting me really excited every day. Additionally, our leadership from Ariel and Evan is very exciting to me. Even with a series A in the rearview mirror, it hasn’t stopped them from being laser-focused on what we’re trying to achieve — and that to me is very encouraging and fuels my ability to keep going forward and doing more.
What is your personal mission statement? In other words, what impact would you like to have on our world or your community?
“I want to help people in any way I can and be able to spread that mentality. Growing up, my parents have always taught me to help those less fortunate than we were. We didn’t have much but seeing my parents try their best to help those who needed help made me want to do the same. Whether it’s a small gesture or a large one, my mission is to always be readily available to help in any way I can.” — John Pallera, Network Operations Lead, Hivemapper
What’s the coolest map you’ve seen? Non-Hivemapper map, that is.
I’ve always had an affinity for 3D maps. Whether it’s a map that shows mountain ranges or a developing city, it’s really cool to see depth when it comes to maps. I remember I bought this birthday present for a friend — a 3D printed map of the city of Chicago. When it arrived, I almost wanted to keep it for myself just because of how cool it looked! But I didn’t — maybe next time.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I have two brothers and we’re all named John. Yup — John. Well, to be clear, we have a second part to our first name. However, we all go by John, and out of the three siblings, I somehow ended up being the primary John in the family (or Johnny to my family members). Those phone calls from people back in the day where we had a house phone got confusing at some point (the caller had to decide whether they wanted to speak to John 1, John 2, or John 3 — and most of them didn’t know there were 3 Johns in the household).
From left to right: John 2 (John Pallera), John 3, and John 1.
When not at Hivemapper, where/how do you enjoy spending your free time? I like trying out new restaurants, traveling, watching the latest Marvel movie, cooking, or searching for new music. I geek out a lot when it comes to music — it’s one of my passions growing up. And whenever a traveling opportunity comes up, I always take it. I love going to new places and exploring! And cooking — I just recently bought a pasta maker and I am trying to put it to good use. Nice to meet you, John. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

If you’d like to chat with John and learn more about Hivemapper, join our Discord and get in touch with John there. We’re hiring! Would you like to join our Network Operations team? Take a look at this career opportunity.

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