My name is Jon Beltran de Heredia. I love many things, from doing stand-up comedy to running or playing piano and singing, but I’ve dedicated most of my career to writing software.

These are the areas I’m most actively working on right now:

  • Game analytics: I started Katoid with my cofounder Raul Herrero to create uniquely novel technology to analyze the behavior of millions of players and improve engagement and monetization. This is a really interesting project where we are designing and implementing a complete distributed analytics stack from the ground up (starting from “main () {}”), with which we are already doing great advances, and which will hopefully result in amazing results in the next few years.
  • F2P Campus: starting in 2018, I’ve been co-organizing the F2P Campus, a completely non-profit three-months-long accelerator campus in Vitoria-Gasteiz in the Basque Country, where I grew up, for free-to-play game development teams. It’s being very successful and I’m writing this heading into the second edition.
  • Programming tools: I created ViEmu in 2005 and keep improving it for the thousands of active customers worldwide.
  • New approaches to programming: I think our current approaches to programming are fundamentally limited, and we need new paradigms. Hopefully this conviction will turn into usable tools at some point in some (near) future.
  • Writing and performing (stand-up comedy, music…): over the last few years I’ve become more and more active in these amazingly rich and deep creative fields. Doing that has brought me enormous amounts of learning creatively and personally, and I’m looking forward to combining this with my lifelong interest in software and technology and seeing what comes out. It can only be unexpectedly interesting!

Over the nearly 25 years I’ve been a professional programmer, I’ve done significant work in the following areas, often creating original foundational software:

  • Game development in general
  • 2D and 3D graphics, both realtime and otherwise
  • Artificial Intelligence for games
  • Parsers, compilers and VMs
  • Communication systems
  • Parallel and distributed systems
  • Editing and programming tools
  • Analytics
  • Natural language processing
  • Databases
  • Web application development
  • Development team leadership
  • Large-project development
  • Technical writing
  • Training and teaching
  • Software sales and marketing

I started learning to program around 1986, with an 8-bit Sinclair ZX Spectrum: all Basic and Z80 “machine code,” as it was called back then. I wanted to make my own games. Very soon, I was also learning about other areas of programming.

Over the years I learned a lot a lot about programming. Z80 assembly language, C, C++, 2D and 3D math, statistics, parsing, languages, databases, distributed systems, AI… Attracted by the awesome graphics and the programming between them, I also took part in the PC demoscene as Yann/Iguana. You can still watch some of our productions on Youtube.

I started my first software company in 1994 while in college. In that same year I also wrote a book on x86 assembly language (in Spanish). This was actually the book I would have liked to have when I was learning, always my motivation for teaching. It proved pretty popular in Spanish-speaking colleges and universities for over 10 years.

In 1997, eager to actually make things, I dropped out of college, and became a professional game developer joining the Commandos team at Pyro Studios. I was the lead dev for the Commandos 1 & 2 games on PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox (sharing the dev lead with Javier Arévalo).

After ten full-time years in the games industry, I switched my focus to other types of software products, where it was easier to go fully independent – I started my own company Symnum Systems to host my projects. The best-known product I created is ViEmu, a vi/vim emulator for Visual Studio, Xcode, and more. First released in 2005, I still keep maintaining and improving it almost 10 years later, and it keeps enjoying modest but sustained commercial success. With ViEmu and other technology projects I’ve created and launched, I’ve learned a huge amount about the business of software and software marketing.

The last few years I’ve specialized in analytics, and I’m looking forward to go deeper in this fascinating field.

These days I’m based in Barcelona, where I like to perform stand-up comedy in between software sessions.

Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/jonbho, or feel free to email me.