In Memory of Kevin Nickels, Atsign Co-founder

Kevin was an innovator who wanted to ‘solve impossible’ and who liked to ask, “What if we try it this way?” 

Before co-founding Atsign in 2019, he had a truly diverse career where he had lots of fun solving problems from the varied angles of researcher, technologist, marketer, CPO, and CEO. 

Atsign is the realization of a years-long think about the state of the Internet with his friend, colleague, and Atsign co-founder, Colin Constable, and others. He knew what he wanted to do, and patiently waited for technology to catch up to him so he could finally get to work on it.

After his unexpected passing in May of 2023, notes and messages came to us here at Atsign from all over the globe. He was described as a visionary technologist and also as a dear, thoughtful friend and mentor, as joyful and fun. An inspiration. We couldn’t agree more, and we feel his absence every day. 

When asked for a photo for our company “About” page, he sent along this gem, that still makes us smile because it’s so very Kevin:

As we continue to build the company and bring his dream to life, we want to always include a space to collect his contributions and work, to make sure he gets the credit that he was always looking to graciously share with others. To that end, here are some of those things: 

Kevin always used to say that he liked to take on really hard problems and come up with simple solutions. When faced with this thorny question, “What is the simplest way to assert an identity on the Internet?”  He came up with the simple and elegant solution: “A unique string” aka, an atSign.

The Atsign incorporation was driven by Kevin. He pulled together the people that he most liked to work with and it quickly became a magic team.

Kevin was a spreadsheet master and built all our initial models for sales and revenue.

He wanted to question everything about our organization and was a key inspiration in creating our flat organization structure.

One of his favorite things was the yearly intern program. Barbara and Colin love it, too, but would we have had 17 interns when there were just 4 employees? 

He always made sure that new people joining the team felt part of the Atsign organization and family right away. 

He used to joke about how he enjoyed disagreeing with Colin regularly…until they eventually ended up agreeing!

Kevin loved learning from others and we loved learning from him.