Welcome back to “Meet the Demacians”, a series on our blog that shifts the focus from what we do, to who we are.
This week we’ve got another Demac newbie (I count >1 year as new) in the spotlight. He’s been here for 6 months, but Nicholas has plenty of experience in the tech world driving innovation and inspiring others on a global scale! Fun Fact: Nicholas has worked/studied abroad in India, Japan, and Vietnam.
We’re happy to have him on the Demac team – I’m not just saying that because he has a cute dog – and I know he’s excited to help more of our clients grow their businesses in 2018. He basically helps retailers make their dreams a reality.
Meet Nicholas Kanhai…
Name: Nicholas Kanhai
Role: Product Owner
Time served at Demac: 6 Months
1. How did you find Demac, or how did Demac find you?
A friend saw a posting on FB by Kerry Morrison regarding the search for a Product Manager and made the recommendation for me to reach out to him. Very glad I did.
2. What’s your work-day beverage of choice? What’s your Friday afternoon beverage of choice?
Workday: Coffee, cream, 2 sugar.
Friday: Wine. Favourite at the moment is a nice white called Bear Flag, best served chilled.
If wine is not on the menu, the beer snob in me comes out and I enjoy trying a wide variety of IPAs, Stout, Belgian style, and everything that isn’t Budlight or Coors.
3. How would you explain your job/role to a 5 year old?
I talk to people about something they have dreamed up in their head and help them turn that vision into something real.
4. How do you explain what you do to your parents?
I work to understand a client’s business needs for their ecomm website, and translate those into a list of referenceable functional requirements so that other departments at Demac can understand and build the client an awesome eCommerce solution. Then, when they look at me with glazed, distant eyes, I tell them I like my work and it that it makes me happy, and they smile and tell me they’re proud of me.
5. Demac is a flexible workplace – what hours of the day (or night!) do you prefer to work, or get your best work done?
I am not a morning person, so I typically get my best work done between 1pm – 5pm, and 8pm-11pm. I enjoy working late when tasked with something complex.
6. What did you study in school? Is it relevant to what you do now?
During my undergrad (I went to Carleton U in Ottawa), I studied Political Science, with a specialization in Political Philosophy. I wanted to be a Diplomat. After working in Vietnam in HIV/AIDS prevention post-undergrad, I went on to tackle a Master’s degree in International Relations, for which I attended the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi as an international student. I lived in Delhi for 2 years and had some of the best highs and deepest lows of my life while there.
7. What song are you loving at the moment to listen to while you work? (or which was the last song played on your spotify?)
Life and the current state of global politics has left me feeling a little jaded recently, and so I’ve gone back to Radiohead’s OK Computer and In Rainbows to keep my melancholy in good company.
8. What meme/gif/video makes you laugh the most?
9. What’s your favourite site to buy from?
I love buying from Adafruit.com. Their site kind of sucks, like, seriously, it needs some TLC. However, I love buying random electronics and trying to figure out how to do simple things with motors and microcontrollers.
10. How do you balance work and life? / What do you like to do after you leave the office?
I tend to gain a lot of energy by learning new things, so I like to challenge myself in my spare time by learning and building stuff. I tend to play videogames to unwind, however, these days mostly playing Breath of the Wild and Destiny 2. I try to go rock climbing and bouldering whenever I can (I am certified in belaying). And I enjoy just spending time with my partner, walking our dog together in the evenings.
11. What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?
High altitude ballooning. That is to say, building a computer / telemetry system, strapping it to a large weather balloon filled with helium, and recording data / video from 115,000 ft in the stratosphere.
12. What do you love about working at Demac?
Love the perks of flexible hours and being able to work remotely.
The challenge of solving problems with some projects.
Demac hires good people, making working here a joy.
13. Do you live Demac’s values in your everyday life? Empathy, creativity, ownership.
Every day at Demac I see and feel a culture that serves as the foundation for how people interact at Demac. There is a joviality, kindness, and genuine care for peers that is pervasive throughout. That, combined with a strong desire to do damn fine work and push the envelope in the industry is makes Demac what it is, I think.
14. What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to shopping online/in stores/etc.
Purchasing something and receiving something that is a cheap imitation of what I thought I was going to get. Ex: buying a tshirt that is described in a certain way, but arrives looking and feeling different. I’m old school that way, I prefer to try on in-store than buying online.
15. What have you done at Demac that you’re most proud of?
Helped define the role of Product Owner along with Arveen (Director of Product Delivery) and Mike (VP of Operations). I think that the Product Definition department will be growing a lot over the next year and a bit, and as we continue to identify opportunities to contribute, I think that we’ll be able to create a solid process around how my role will contribute to customer satisfaction and internal team happiness with projects.