Awesome accounting software doesn't get built without awesome iOS developers. Meet one of ours, Ben Kennedy...
Benjamin Russell Kennedy.
I don’t really have a universal one. Recently I’ve answered to “Bento” (especially around lunch time), and my brother and sister-in-law sometimes call me Don based on a cute mispronunciation of “Uncle Ben” by my little niece when she was younger.
Title and what you do at Kashoo?
I’m a software developer on the iOS team. I work primarily on the Kashoo iPad app, building out new features and fixing bugs.
Apple’s iPhone event this month was…?
Predictable. The add-on cases continue to surprise me, however.
How many pairs of socks do you have in your sock drawer?
Approximately, when all are fresh and clean: 36 pairs of cozy colorful custom knits (for day-to-day use as well as special occasions), and nine pairs of miscellaneous conventional socks (for utility and other occasions). I have a very big sock drawer.
Favorite outdoor activity?
I enjoy cycling and hiking, and I jog regularly. But I often most enjoy walking—a great opportunity to clear the head, observe people, let one’s mind wander, and pull in some air.
Best childhood memory?
No specific event comes to mind, but the tranquility and damp crisp smells of the Ontario fall and winter air stick with me: playing in the woods behind the house, family camping trips, skating on the Rideau Canal. And the smell of a campfire at any time of year.
Who's your tech hero and why?
Dr. Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist of my grandfather’s generation, is certainly one of my favourites. He was a fascinating man with the finest qualities of an engineer—curious, articulate, rigorous, principled, and with a fantastic sense of humour. Nikola Tesla might also get a mention: only recently did I learn about the full extent of his life-long curiosity and eccentric genius; how can one not be inspired by such a guy?
You get to listen to one artist/band the rest of your life. Who is it?
I am always loath to make commitments about favourites of anything, particularly when it might profoundly affect the remainder of my days. But it would have to be something mostly acoustic—a guitar, a double bass, a small drum kit, a piano, a voice. Simple things that are made of wood and metal and flesh stand to be immensely enduring. So I guess I would hand-pick a supergroup of aging and weathered wise bluesmen and make them immortal (so that they would outlive me, of course).
So what’s with the socks?
I’ve developed a reputation for wearing colourful, hand-knit wool socks. At some point in high school—I can’t remember what started it—my mom started knitting socks for me. My grandmother occasionally pitches in, too. Over the years I’ve amassed an enviable collection, and even to this day, I’m lucky to still find myself furnished with a few new pairs each year. It’s become a bit of a personal trademark.
What were you doing before Kashoo?
In pre-Kashoo life I’ve worked mostly in software development as a sole proprietor—both as a for-hire contractor, and as a developer of my own apps. One of my early (and ongoing) projects that I’m most proud of is a percussion-sequencing tool for musicians. I’ve also worked in film post-production and have had the privilege of working on some great projects.
What was the worst job you ever had and why?
I’m fortunate to have not had too many crappy jobs. Working graveyard shifts loading videotape was often tedious—I learned that staying focused during the wrong time of day could be tough, especially while waiting for lengthy processes to complete. (My brother once spent a hot summer stretching dyed ostrich hides at a local tannery—I wish I could steal that answer.)
Kashoo customers are...
…embracing the future! Small business owners always need to think creatively, and seeking new solutions to seemingly well-worn problems is a hallmark of the successful entrepreneur. Having the desire and courage to do accounting differently speaks to this. It is exciting to share this with our customers.
What's the furthest you’ve ever been from home?
Not too far, actually—it would be southern California (back when I used to live in Ottawa—or alternatively, P.E.I., now that I’m in Vancouver). I’m way overdue to explore more of the world.
You get one superpower. What is it and why?
Maybe I would become Revisionist History Man and return stealthily to the past in order to mute the world’s wrongs of most consequence, and tend to tiny things that ballooned into lasting personal regret. Hmm; that’s pretty heavy, isn’t it? Maybe I’d just develop super-optimistic taste buds. Imagine if everything was always unimaginably delicious!
Aren’t you thrilled that fellow Kashoo software engineer nominated you for 20 questions?
Some part of me knew it was just a matter of time. I’ll get him back for it (deviously yet lovingly).
What's your favorite blog and why?
At the moment it’s probably “What If," wherein the author researches and explores improbable but fascinating physical scenarios based on reader questions. It’s an entertaining mélange of whimsy, humour, and scientific reasoning.
Oxford comma: yea or nay?
I am not usually a proponent of extraneous punctuation, but sometimes an extra comma has its place. More important is whether the decision is judicious and deliberate, and the clarity of writing as a whole. (Despite being a self-styled grammar nerd, though, I may forever be trying to understand “while” vs. “whilst…”).
Your last meal would be...
Were I to die imminently I might fancy a roast beef dinner, with mashed potatoes, peas, gravy, and a fine Belgian ale.
A friend is in Vancouver for 24 hours. Where do you take them?
I took a float plane to Vancouver Island this spring for a concert, and it was pretty neat to see some of the Gulf Islands from above, with toy-sized Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver on the return approach. Back on the ground, maybe we would take a wander through some of partly-run-down industrial areas to admire the juxtaposition of crumbling and new architecture and rich mosses. Hike up one of the North Shore mountains, and pull in the view and the crisp air (hopefully on a not-too-rainy day). Finally, without compromise, we would finish the evening at the Alibi Room for a multitude of delicious beers.
And that, ladies and gents, is Kashoo accounting software developer Ben Kennedy.