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Uncommon Personalities

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Kelvin Eweka

May 4, 2014

Kelvin Eweka | UncommonGoods

Kelvin Eweka, UncommonGoods Software Developer

My hometown is…
Torrance, California

I’m inspired by…
Strong-willed, outgoing, yet humble people. I believe success in life starts with how well you act and interact with other people positively.

My relationship with Mother Nature is…
Not as strong as I’d like it to be. I need to visit more often.

The best luck I’ve had in my life so far was…
It’s hard to say, I feel I’ve been pretty lucky throughout life with the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met. It’s hard to pick out any one thing.

In my next life, I want to come back as…
A slightly shorter person; I’ve discovered too many things to hit my head on while walking. But seriously, just myself in a different time and a different place to experience life from a different perspective with different decisions.

An uncommon fact about me…
I’m a fourth generation descendant of King of the long existing Benin Kingdom, Oba Eweka II. If my Great Grandfather was born first instead of second and my Father was also born first instead of second, I would have had a completely different life.

Working at UncommonGoods, I’ve learned…
That the company values quality, friendly and well-mannered people. It’s always a joy coming into work knowing you’re going to see friendly faces.

Would you rather… not need sleep or not need food and water?
Not need sleep! Who wouldn’t want more hours to get work done or do fun things?

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Micah Telesford

April 27, 2014

 

Micah Telesford, UncommonGoods Operations Supervisor
My hometown is…
Brooklyn, NY

An uncommon fact about me…
As a child, I would eat raw limes.

I’m inspired by…
Progress.

My favorite process in the warehouse is…
Packing.

Working at UncommonGoods I’ve learned…
The true value of teamwork and communication.

When I was little, I dreamed of…
Toys.

The most challenging thing I’ve ever done is…
Ride my bike uphill in Prospect Park.

Would you rather…… have the ability to read minds, or to tell the future?
I would rather be able to read minds; I’m a big fan of Professor Xavier.

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Andrei Gaidai

April 25, 2014

Andrei Haidai | UncommonGoods

Andrei Gaidai, UncommonGoods Software Developer
My hometown is…
I grew up in Grodno, Belarus and I am currently living Brooklyn, NY.

The word that best describes me…
“Let’s try.” I couldn’t fit it in one word, but these are the two words I think best describe myself. I love to try new things and get new experience.

I’m inspired by…
Purposeful people. I respect them and try to learn to be one of them.

When I’m not working I’m probably…
Spending time with my family. I have a wonderful wife and daughter. They are my everything. We try to spend all our free time together having fun or visiting friends.

An uncommon fact about me…
I can sleep whole night in the same position without moving at all.

If I won the lottery, I’d…
Spend the money wisely, trying to make the world a better place. Like giving money to people who really really need it (e.g. those who are waiting for expensive surgeries).

Working at UncommonGoods, I’ve learned…
A lot of new technical things, and I met a lot of people who are interesting and dedicated to their work. I am proud to be part of this amazing team.

Would you rather…be a human being with the mind of a robot, or be a robot with a human mind?
Be a robot with a human mind; I believe eventually this is what will happen with human beings. Robots don’t get sick or tired–and having your own mind you can enjoy life even in a robot body. Nobody will hack your mind [if it’s human], but if you are a human with a robot mind you have a risk to be hacked.

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet David Bolotsky

April 11, 2014

UncommonGoods Founder & CEO David Bolotsky

David Bolotsky, UncommonGoods Founder & CEO

My Hometown is…
New York, New York

My childhood dream was…
To create a sanctuary for unwanted animals and to start a business to pay for it. I became a vegetarian when I was 11 and volunteered at a nature center caring for rats, raccoons, ferrets and birds. And I spent several years working at an animal shelter in high school and college.

As a kid I caught the entrepreneurial bug early, starting a baseball card business when I was 10. I also had a paper route and later began my own lawn mowing business, Dynamow.

Something I value most is…
Independence and looking out for the underdog. I encountered a lot of bullies as a kid. That led me to want to be self-reliant and to look out for others who don’t fit in with the status quo.

In college I…
Studied a little bit of everything. My major was political science, though I also took history, English and business classes. I also ran the campus record store, Slipped Disc, where I was paid in vinyl (the equivalent of $0.60/hour).

The most interesting place I’ve visited is…
India. While there are cosmopolitan cities and big businesses, there’s also so much that’s unique. Early in 2014 I travelled there with my wife and our young sons. We had the opportunity to visit a village near the foothills of the Himalayas where some of UncommonGoods’ wooden objects are made. It was moving to see first-hand how our purchases support a generations-old craft and help boost the entire economy of the village.

Dave Meeting Artisans in India

Dave meeting artisans in India

 

I founded UncommonGoods because…
I learned about the Internet in the mid-90s and thought it was the most exciting new development I’d ever seen. I was a research analyst covering the retail industry at the time and began writing about investment opportunities in Internet retailing. Pretty soon, I decided I’d rather be building a business than writing about one, and so I began looking for an idea.

I visited the Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington DC in 1999. It was packed with shoppers and when I asked them why they were there, many talked about looking for products that spoke to their individuality, as opposed to mass-produced items they’d find in the mall. In talking to artists, I saw how the Internet could provide a more efficient venue to showcase their work 24/7, instead of just one weekend in April in a single location.

I got the idea for our name when…
My wife still jokes about the weeks of interrupted sleep we had while I was searching for the company name. I had a notebook by the side of the bed, and every time I had an idea at night, I’d turn on my flashlight and start jotting away. Or I’d run into the other room and fire up the computer and our 56k modem to see if someone had already taken the name.

The hardest part about starting the business was…
Nearly running out of money in 2001 when the so-called “Internet bubble” burst and funding dried up for start-ups. We had to shrink from 35 to 5 people and while most folks left voluntarily, I still had to let a few people go. It was very tough to fire someone for making the mistake of believing in your vision. I vowed to do everything in my power to avoid getting in that position again. Since then, we’ve taken on no debt and have grown at a sustainable pace.

Since founding the company I’ve learned…
How much I have to learn about just about everything. It has been humbling, exciting and gratifying. Much harder than I imagined, but also more rewarding. Perhaps the biggest insight is the positive impact we can have on people’s lives – our team members, our customers and our suppliers – when we do things well.

My favorite thing about running UncommonGoods is…
That we are constantly working to improve our impact on the lives of our workers, suppliers and customers, as well as minimizing our environmental footprint.

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Shao Li

April 1, 2014

Shao Li
Shao Li, UncommonGoods Senior Manager – Operations
My hometown is…
I was born in Northern China and moved to Shenzhen, a Southern city next to Hong Kong, at an age of 6.

When I was little, I dreamed of…
Being a general, leading an army to conquer the world so I can print my own currency and have unlimited cash.

My favorite place to hang out in New York City is…
Chinatown, I love the food there!

The most challenging thing I’ve ever done is…
Swim 5 miles non-stop at an age of 11 in cold water.

My favorite process in the UncommonGoods Warehouse is…
Conveyors! I love to see them in action!

An uncommon fact about me…
I have the ability to fall asleep in a few minutes even with a lot of noise around me. There were a few times that I fell asleep while people were still talking to me.

Working at UncommonGoods, I’ve learned…
How talented people are here and I should never stop learning from the people around me.

Would you rather…be able to control your dreams, or to watch them on video the next day?

I would rather be able to do both! So I can review my dreams the next day to figure out what can be done better so next time I can control and make a better dream!

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Akeem Simon

March 29, 2014

Akeem Simon | UncommonGoods

Akeem Simon, UncommonGoods Security Officer
My hometown is…
Brooklyn, New York

An uncommon fact about me…
I’m the only one that I know of here that plays chess, so I’ll say chess is my uncommon fact.

Working at UncommonGoods I’ve learned…
People have different attitudes, so being able to adjust is demanding but necessary.

I’m passionate about…
My work and family.

In other galaxies, I believe there is/are…
Ways to travel by flying car or being able to teleport to where you need to be; and there is a cure for every type of sickness.

Within the next 10 years, I hope to be…
Someplace warm all year ’round. Can’t stand the cold…brrrrrr!!!!

The best gift I’ve ever given is…
My time and and ear.

My favorite food of all time is…
Fried (boneless) fish.

Would you rather… Speak all human languages fluently, or be able to talk to animals?
I’d rather be able to talk to animals. I’m sure they actually have something interesting to talk about other than Kanye and Kim.

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Eugene Shagenov

March 20, 2014

Eugene Shagenov | UncommonGoodsEugene Shagenov, UncommonGoods Software Development Manager
My hometown is……
Brooklyn, NY.

I’m passionate about……
In no particular order: travel, technology, food, nature, movies, spending time with friends and family, sleeping in.

An uncommon fact about me…
I enjoyed reading War and Peace in Russian.

My guilty pleasure is……
Video Games. A whole different universe at your fingertips.

When I’m not working, I’m probably……
Spending time with my wife and my five-year-old son.

My favorite TV show of all time is……
The Wire. Love the characters, especially Omar.

Working at UncommonGoods I’ve learned……
Lots of new technology stuff, but mostly the confirmation of a long known fact: the only thing that’s constant is change.

Would you rather… be a successful paleontologist now, or go back in time and actually live with the dinosaurs?
Definitely be a paleontologist now. Dinosaurs are interesting to study, but I doubt they were the most pleasant creatures to live with.

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Christopher McRae

March 10, 2014

Christopher Mcrae | UncommonGoodsChristopher McRae, UncommonGoods SQL Specialist
My hometown is…
Brooklyn, NY.

I’m inspired by…
Cee-Lo Green the Soul Machine.

When I’m not working I’m probably…
Staring into space listening to Revolver by the Beatles on repeat.. while doing the Robot.

I’m stubborn about…
What I consider good music.

An uncommon fact about me…
I wear non-prescription glasses in communal institutions to obscure my vision and help me avoid awkward social interactions. And because of how awkward I am that’s pretty much all social interaction.

In my next life, I want to come back as…
A half-man, half-android, half-bionic cyborg, so my break dancing will be beyond reproach… I also might figure out how fractions work.

Working at UncommonGoods I’ve learned…
That true teamwork and understanding are imperative to the sustainability of a business big or small, that the number of bodies crammed into a building don’t amass to the amount of soul given by the people who choose to come work that company day in and day out. And on that note I’d like to give a shout out to Danielle, Gio, Q, Crystal, and Ray-and-dem!!!!!

Would you rather… Not need sleep or not need food & water?
Not need food and water, of course. This way I can sleep forever now that the only two necessities waking me up are no longer a burden.

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