The Kano Spotlight: Adam Onishi

Photo Credit: Antonio Olmos

Tell us about you (What drives you)

I’ve been a software engineer in one form or another for over 10 years now, worked at a lot of different kinds of places for all sorts of projects, people, and companies. At first, I think the drive was just to create something, whether it was interesting, cool, or just technically new to me. After a while, I started to focus more on the impact of that work is.

I’ve been interested in education for a long time, whether it’s how to help people learn or helping teach or my own learning. I’ve worked on a few side projects around education, given conference talks, and even dipped back into education myself so as long as I’m learning or helping others learn I’m pretty happy. And at Kano, I get to help build software that helps people learn and explore new things and hopefully build a community out of that learning experience.

Tell us a fun fact about you?

My paternal grandfather is from Hawaii.

What is your biggest fear?

Cockroaches. Luckily in England, we don’t really get them but I lived in Australia for a while and they’re everywhere. A few years ago on holiday we even had to change rooms because of a few appearing overnight, they just make my stomach churn.

Why did you join Kano?

The opportunity to join Kano came up just over a year ago and it was the first role in a long time that actually had me excited to do software development again. I think Kano’s mission really fits with my own motivations and made me want to start to code again.

I’ve worked in a lot of places over the years and after a while, you start to look for roles that fit your own personal motivations and ideals. It’s a rare opportunity for a role to come up which fits them all as well as Kano does. It’s a small team with a great mission that really drives me.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

In 2017/18 I took a year out to study for an MA in Photojournalism, something that was completely unrelated to my career up until that point. I’m really happy I took the opportunity when I had it, I managed to learn so much about topics that I’ve been interested in since I was young. Taking a year out and learning something completely different was great motivation. Although I’m now back to my original career as a software engineer, I’ve made new friends from really different backgrounds and have new hobbies and personal projects to work on.

My guilty pleasure

I spend far too much time and money playing the card game Magic the Gathering.

In the next 5 years, the biggest thing I want to achieve is…

I’d like it to be a documentary photography project I was meant to start working on in 2020. I want to explore my family history through Hawaii and Japan, looking at how my surname Onishi has traveled over the generations and how people, in general, migrate through countries and cultures.

But if the issues with traveling and the pandemic continue, I’d settle for buying a house and getting married to my fiancé!

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I haven’t always had a beard…

If you want to hear more from Adam, check his LinkedIn profile.



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