Like, the attraction of swinging from trees
Jeremy Shaki has a BA in political science from Montreal’s Concordia University, but he doesn’t believe a degree is the route to success for everyone. Especially software developers.
In 2013, the former Montrealer co-founded a coding bootcamp with tech-savvy pals Joshua Borts and Kurram Virani. Vancouver-headquartered Lighthouse Labs trains developers in as little as 10 weeks with 97 percent finding work in technical roles once they graduate. For people who know how to code but need somewhere to do it, last year the company launched Devhub, a coworking space where developers can get together and do their thing.
But there's more to Shaki than dreaming up new ventures.
What’s your favourite spot in B.C.?
A very specific part of the Seawall on the Yaletown side where I proposed to my wife. it's where the beaches begin, and it was a frequent walking spot of mine when I was starting Lighthouse Labs. It feels shameful that with all the beautiful mountains, the ocean and the incredible interior landscape that B.C. has to offer, that something within the city would be my favourite place, but there is a feeling that comes over me right in that spot that is very unique and special to my life.
Where did you go on your last vacation?
I went to Israel for the first time and spent some time with my wife, who is pregnant, in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. The trip was amazing on so many levels, but the food topped my list as my tahini now lines my fridge from my newfound addiction.
What’s your most memorable recent podcast, film or book?
I think the book that has had the most lasting power for me in the past three years has been Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, and it's the one I have recommended the most to anyone who needs something interesting and fantastic to read. That being said, the book that may have had the biggest impact on me was The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.
What is your morning routine?
Embarrassing. I wake up, read emails, Slack messages, The Athletic, CBC News, BBC News and maybe one social media channel all before actually getting out of bed. Then it's a longer-than-average shower with some music on, walk my dog (my wife would tell you she does this more than I do, but this is my interview, so I'm going to put it on record that I do it more!), eat any breakfast that takes less than 10 minutes to make (eggs or toast usually) and walk 25 minutes to work where I either call my mother or father or let my mind wake up officially.
I used to have a lot more, but at this point, cooking something I have never cooked before is probably the most exciting to me.
"It takes the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it" —Aristotle. I think the key to the best solutions is to be able to put real thought into any idea without convincing yourself of how great it is. Even the thoughts you love the most.
Best advice ever received?
My parents are both huge advice givers, so I don't know how to pick one thing, but they both taught me to not take myself too seriously and enjoy the moment, whatever it is. It's probably the advice that I need to repeat the most to myself as I continue building Lighthouse Labs.
Your worst job ever?
Demonstrating to women how to use hair removal wax strips in a Walmart for a promotion. I actually thought it was a hilarious job to do, but the hair on my arm still hasn't fully grown back.
If you could be an animal, what would you be?
Chimpanzee. Smart, social, and knows how to have a good time. Plus swinging from trees seems like a nice way to spend your day.