Member Spotlight: Ian Gillis

Member Spotlight: Ian Gillis

This week, we featured Ian Gillis, founder of Viri Benefits, to learn more about his software engineering experience as well as his business journey. He would also share more about their Auth0 implementation, and the value the Auth0 Community has provided for him. We wanted to feature Ian in this edition of our Community Member Spotlight because of his numerous contributions in our community by sharing solutions, replying to others’ problems but also being passionate about submitting Auth0 product related feedback and everything related to Auth0 and SvelteKit integration. Read more about Ian’s inspiring journey below.

  • Hey Ian! Can you tell us about yourself, your role and company? What does your typical day look like, and what is your favorite part of your job?

I’m the founder of Viri. We’re a software platform that helps companies engage their team on sustainability. Employees can measure their personal carbon footprint and earn rewards for taking steps to reduce it. Employers can understand how their team contributes to the company’s Scope 3 emissions and attract talent who are passionate about these topics.

Because we’re still on the 0 to 1 journey, my days are pretty varied. I might be heads down building a product, crafting cold outreach or marketing materials, meeting with the team, or chatting with investors. My favorite, though, is speaking with customers. Everyone in this space is so passionate about what they’re doing, but it’s also still new so people are generally very open to collaboration.

  • Sounds like you have a very diverse daily routine! Can you tell us about your journey with Auth0? What organizational challenges are you trying to achieve with Auth0? How are you maximizing value with Auth0’s products and solutions?

Having built complex B2B SaaS platforms in the past, I knew that authz and authn are both extremely important to customers - “if you can’t integrate to our IDMS, we can’t move forward”, “we need XYZ custom permissions for people in accounting”, etc. At the same time, they can be difficult, tedious, and time consuming to build well.

I looked at all of the identity platforms out there, including some of the very young entrants, and Auth0 was the only one that checked (almost) all the boxes I wanted:

  • Support for organizations and RBAC
  • Robust Node SDK that I could build a custom admin UI on top of
  • Simple, pre-built login page with nice design and some customization
  • Social, passwordless, and SSO options for authentication

The only thing missing was an official SvelteKit library, but maybe I can help build one in the future!

  • Oh for sure! We’re open to feedback especially when it comes to our SDKs! How did you first learn about the Community? How long have you been part of the Community? What do you enjoy most about it?

I found the community by searching for some very specific questions about implementing self-serve organization creation. A lot of products have a community like this, but I was shocked at how responsive the Auth0 team was. The features I wanted were not only “on the roadmap” but were released a month later, and I was even able to get time with one of the PMs on the product to provide feedback.

  • Gotcha! What best practices or tips could you share to help others using Auth0 products and solutions? Is there like a single pro tip you can share?

It’s not sexy, but the biggest tip I can give people is to understand the underlying concepts that Auth0 is built on top of, starting with the different OAuth 2.0 flows and a bit about how they’re implemented in the Auth0 client libraries. I found this architecture diagram in the Auth0 Next.js library repository to be a good high level starting point, with more detail available in the help articles. It’s worth spending the day or two to understand this — your implementation will go smoother, you’ll be able to reason about issues when they come up, and you might even discover some features you’d like to adopt.

  • Totally agree! Security and identity is hard and we can help as Auth0, but you need to understand the basics. Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing? Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m based in Miami, FL so I love getting out on the water! My favorite food is stone crab claws and I’m fortunate enough to be able to go out and catch some most weekends with my family. Not only do they taste amazing, but they can be harvested relatively sustainably - you take a claw and throw them back and they’re able to regrow before the next season!

  • Exciting! It was really nice talking with you Ian! Good luck with your future endeavours!