Access to Tools: Anna Carroll

The Berlin-based protocol engineer on the diagrams, debuggers, and dev toolkits that shape her practice.

Text Zine
Published 09 Feb 2023

Berlin-based protocol engineer Anna Carroll has been building on Ethereum since DeFi Summer, with her core expertise covering Solidity, cross-chain protocols, DAOs, and governance. In addition to her years of experience architecting smart contracts for the EVM, she’s more recently made some noise in the Ethereum space as the cocreator and architect of protocols such as PartyBid v1 and Nomad.

In a new serialized feature for ZINE, Carroll talks us through the tools (in the broadest possible sense of the word) that shape her practice.

Clockwise from left: Multicolor Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens, Moleskine Black Leather Notebooks, Foundry

1. Multicolor Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens

Both my creative and technical brain function first and foremost through images. When I design systems, I am sketching out the components along the way, showing myself where pieces connect, getting to know the design ideas. Looking at a system, you should be able to see which pieces are the most central, or perhaps which connections look fragile. If a diagram is tangled up and confusing, the system design is probably brittle and overcomplicated. This principle is a core part of my practice, and these multicolor pens allow me to quickly draw out clear, digestible diagrams.

2. Moleskine Black Leather Notebooks

Dotted grid books for diagramming. Lined ones for journaling. I’ve got years worth of these lining my bookcase and I love the idea of my collection growing over time.

3. Foundry

This tool was introduced to me by my colleague and one of its contributors odysseas.eth, and y’all…it is so powerful. After years of max pain developing on Ethereum before high-powered tooling really existed, it’s a joy to use advanced, sleek development tools like this. From writing deploy scripts in Solidity, to harnessing contracts that are currently live on mainnet via fork testing and being able to add new logic or inspect storage slots, Foundry simply blows my mind.

4. Paper Towels

When I’m taking meetings, letting myself fidget helps focus my mind. For some reason, the optimal method I’ve found is walking around my house scrubbing little spots on the floor and windows with paper towels. See also: this.

Clockwise from left: Etherscan, Tenderly, Sticky Notes

5. Espresso

For OpSec purposes, I will not dox the coffee shop I go to every single day, but suffice it to say this establishment serves the best coffee in Berlin and I am the ghoul that haunts it. I think I’m there more than most of its employees. The coffee is important, but the ritual of leaving my house every day, saying hi to my friends behind the bar, and sitting quietly while I enjoy each sip is an absolutely crucial part of getting me ready for the day.

6. Tenderly

Tenderly’s debugger for tracing through transactions on mainnet is so key for me. You can step through each opcode and expose the state of each variable in memory and storage at each step. I’m also a big fan of their recent feature for simulating transaction execution, which will help developers like me, but also hopefully make Web3 safer for users too. Tenderly is also one of the most chill ways to quickly set up simple alerts for triggers on mainnet. Overall, they’ve got an excellent suite of tools, many not even mentioned here.

7. Sticky Notes

For quickly offloading thoughts and tasks I want to deal with later.

8. Etherscan

I love her; I will always love her

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