How I Didn’t Become A Software Engineer

Story of the Week Jul 12, 2020 1 min read

📚 Story of the week #7

Some times taking the less obvious path is the right move.

‘Can I leave after 5 weeks?’ is an unrecommended way to end a job interview, but that’s how I wrapped up mine back in 2015. I was due to start my Software Engineering job at Kano, but I needed some money to tide me over until March, so I interviewed at another startup and made sure I was explicit that my commitment could only be temporary.

They said yes, and they offered to pay me daily. Perfect.

5 weeks later, I messaged Kano to respectfully decline their offer for employment. I would not become a Software Engineer.

Instead, I would stay at my 5-week-job for 3 years and play an instrumental role in growing the startup from its humble £200K angel-funded beginnings to having over £30M in venture capital and being deemed one of Europe’s hottest new companies.

Why did I stay? Instinct. In my early 20s, my North Star was to find the best opportunities to teach me how to build my own company.

The learning opportunities at Onfido, the company I ended up joining, were fantastic: sitting next to the CEO in Sales meetings; learning how Product worked; and being coached by my talented and generous colleagues – from Bain consultants to Google executives – helped me reach brilliant new heights.

The learning velocity was intoxicating, tremendous fun, and a tremendous boost to the start of my career that helped me to unlock a role at Airbnb.

It wasn’t the obvious decision at the time, but sometimes we have to trust our instincts, make a sharp U-turn, and then confuse ourselves with the facts.

🥰 Inspiration behind 21st century education

What would education look like if people mattered?

In 2009 I stumbled across a documentary called 'Children Full of Life', and I've come back to it every year since. I fell in love 9 minutes in, and I hope you do too.

Stay curious,



Jamie Miles

🌱 Building a media company to make sense of the 21st century 🍎 Sharing the best ideas along the way 🍵 Former @Airbnb @Onfido @UniofOxford

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