How did you first learn about Synapse?
A lot of Googling. In college I found out that I really liked inventing things at Hackathons and for projects in class. I used to tinker with Dev Kits and I was looking for a place that would allow me to continue doing things like this. I didn’t want to do the same thing for several years, I wanted to keep being an inventor, keep learning and be around a lot of smart people.
At my first Wednesday lunch I stood up and said, “I’m Aadu, I’m an intern and I’m going to eventually work here.” Everyone laughed, but for 3 months I pestered everyone to tell the Director of Software Engineering that I was doing a good job. After 3 months as an intern, I was hired to full time.
Where would we likely find you on the weekend?
Either running or hiking. I love being outdoors. I just qualified for the 2017 Boston Marathon. I also go backpacking across the Olympics and the Northern Cascades, with Sibley of course.
What were you like in high school?
I was pretty much similar to what I am now. Pretty outgoing and pretty driven in my running and school work. I tried to do a lot: I played the sax, played competitive tennis and in college I took up Bhangra and Raas. I’ve always been eager to try a lot of things, but work experience and living abroad has given me confidence that I didn’t have before.
Tell us one interesting thing about you that we don’t know already.
I go to different countries and make an excuse to go into the woods or jungle to find birds. Everyone is playing Pokemon Go right now, but the real thing is bird watching. The birds are so beautiful; in the US we have around 900 species. I’m planning a trip to Colombia right now and they have 1,900 species of birds that come in all shapes and sizes. The thing is, no one my age likes birding.
I’ve been to many countries including Costa Rica, the Galapagos, Tanzania, India, Mexico, Iceland and much more. I also had the opportunity to work and live in gorgeous Switzerland for 6 months. I tend to travel to places where I can camp, hike and bird. I plan to do that for the rest of my life.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned at Synapse so far?
It’s ok to be wrong.
I make a lot of mistakes, and when I was an intern they called me “Aadu Smash”. Sometimes it would be my fault, and sometimes things would just stop working in my hands. At first I was embarrassed about it, but I realized that these mistakes were making me a stronger engineer. There will be iterations of things working and not working, and what matters is how you can improve on it. My time at Synapse has been about making mistakes, learning the ropes and becoming a better engineer in the process.
If you could trade jobs with someone at Synapse who would it be and why?
I would trade jobs with Sibley. C’mon… everyone loves me, feeds me, I get to run around, curl up on the sofas and take naps at work.