James Arthur

CEO @ ElectricSQL

James is Co-Founder and CEO of ElectricSQL. Prior to founding Electric, he co-founded the Post Urban venture builder and was co-founder and CTO of synthetic data company Hazy.

Before that, James was co-founder and CTO of digital manufacturing company Opendesk and developed software for companies including Apple and IDEO.

James's projects have won a TED Prize and the $1M Microsoft Prize for the best startup in Europe.


Local-first is a new paradigm for developing apps, where you code against an embedded database in the client and have reactive, real-time, multi-user sync in the background.

ElectricSQL is a new, open-source, platform for local-first development that works with standard Postgres and SQLite. This talk introduces the ElectricSQL system and dives into its core replication technology, developed in Elixir.


  1. Introduce local-first software. Introduce the ElectricSQL system.
  2. Outline the challenges developing local-first software, including replication model, concurrency and consistency issues. Show how the ElectricSQL system addresses them and how to build apps with ElectricSQL.
  3. Discuss the trade-offs with the development model and the role of Erlang and Elixir in the core replication layer.


Generalist developers (front-end, back-end and full stack). Database engineers. Postgres and SQLite users. Distributed systems engineers. CRDTs / real-time / multi-user experts.

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