Adopt-a-Character Program and the Unicode Consortium :-)

The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit corporation founded in 1991. Its goals include standardizing and supporting the languages of the world and allowing people to use any language on their computers and smartphones.

This work is essential for the software we build at Elastic. Unicode does more than just list out all the characters. They describe how to parse text, how to sort in different languages, and so much more to support all human languages.

The Unicode Consortium's Adopt-a-Character program raises money to support a variety of important missions. Conserving the world's living languages is a huge task, and includes working with language experts, technologists, and cultural leaders, all in order to support minority languages on computers.

According to Unicode, close to 98 percent of our world's living languages are digitally disadvantaged. This means that operating systems, web browsers and mobile applications don't support them. So the Adopt-a-Character donations help Unicode — a neutral organization interested in language conservation and technological standardization — to drive the work to correct this. They plan to focus use of the funds on adding characters for both modern and historic disadvantaged languages, and to support internationalization for those languages (CLDR and ICU).

When Elastic Founder and CTO Shay Banon found out about the adoption program, he had a cool idea: why not allow every engineer at Elastic (as well as other teammates within the company) to choose and adopt a character?

Besides supporting a good cause, it tells us a bit about every engineer on our team! Here's what we chose:

Character AdoptedWho and Why

gold-007B.png and gold-007D.png

Elastic loves the curly braces — and it's a great cause. :) (Suggested by Brandon Mensing, Product Management, Strategy)


Ryan Schneider, Education Engineer: I adopted this emoji as it relates to one of the strongest ideals of our company which is its distributed culture that gives us the talent, camaraderie, and strengths that drive our products. The other globe emojis were tempting, but they specifically faced the globe on one particular region which showed bias. Our true distributed nature spans the entire globe.


Tyler Fontaine, Support Engineer: Because mmm donut.

Scene from The Simpsons. Copyright © 2016 by FOX Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.


The Elastic Support Team, because we're loveable Support Monkeys.


Nik Everett, Software Engineer: Because coffee keeps us going.


Tyler Hannan: Back before I realized I could make money in software, I was a theoretical mathematics & philosophy student. I was also … um … "involved" in the type of art that is placed in large swatches in abandoned buildings and/or trains and, more often, in galleries. Because we were a bunch of theoretical mathematicians making street art, we signed each piece with one consistent maths symbol. One that encapsulated the purpose, and name, of our little crew.


Robert Muir, Software Engineer: The money really does go to a good cause to fund important work on the world's languages. Besides that, you get a cool tweet from unicode. I did adopt this specific character because of this controversial article. TL;DR: "We're devoting the funds raised from the program to help flesh out support for digitally disadvantaged languages. And it's proved to be successful largely because of emoji."


Spencer Alger, JavaScript Developer: I just adopted the upside-down smiley, because it's silly and simple and I love using it.


Nicolas Ruflin, Software Engineer: I adopted it because who doesn't like Pandas? A Panda always helps to keep a conversation friendly.


Russ Cam, Software Engineer: Because rock'n'roll!


Robin Clarke, Helper-outer: Because "best winds" is the best way to say goodbye.


Jakob Reiter, Support Engineer: I've adopted the penguin, as it represents GNU/Linux and I probably wouldn't be working here, if I hadn't been introduced to GNU/Linux almost 13 years ago when I started my career in IT.


João Duarte, Log Whisperer: because this is the correct response to "Can you all see this?" when screen sharing in Zoom. Also I've always been a fan of nonverbal communication so I use thumbs up a lot!


Tudor Golubenco, Software Engineer: Because I like to use it as a reaction meaning "thanks". Plus, it's tasty.


Martijn Laarman, Software Developer: Because without one who knows where I'd be? :)


Andrei Stefan, Support Engineer: Adopted because, well… security. ;-)


Jongmin Kim, Developer Evangelist: This yellow ribbon is tied on my backpack. This has been done by many people in my local area in remembrance of the sinking of Sewol Ferry on 16 April 2014, which claimed 476 victims including 375 high school students. And also for remembrance of all people who have been victims of all kinds of situations like industrial accidents, natural disasters, and wars.


Pete Dyson, Support Engineer: I adopted the black spade suit. So the story behind it is that I met my wife playing online poker :) She was in Berlin and I was in Brisbane, Australia. And through some crazy aligned planets thing, she now lives in Australia and we're married with three crazy kids. So I also have one of these tattooed on my left arm, an ace of spades playing card... which I got on my 28th birthday on the 28th of Feb 2008.


Steve Kearns, Sr. Director, Product Management: After 5+ years of having a unicode character poster on the wall of my cubicle while learning the intricacies of various human languages and search, it's nice to be able to give back. I adopted because I'm expecting a baby in the next few days! Target release date is May 2, but releases rarely go according to plan ;) Editor's note: The release was pushed back to May 10, and mom and baby are healthy.


Adrien Grand, Software Engineer: I adopted the horse face because unicorns are overrated.


Daniel Mitterdorfer, Software Engineer: I have adopted the chequered flag (U+1F3C1) as I have been into car racing since I was a small boy. That’s why I have also named our benchmarking tool for Elasticsearch "Rally." But unfortunately, there is no Unicode character for a rally car yet. :(


Court Ewing, Tech Lead Kibana: I've adopted U+1F33D (ear of maize) because I live in the middle of Amish country and our local tech community has sort of adopted that emoji as its own thing. It now carries a million different unofficial meanings for us — we could probably have entire discussions exclusively with the corn emoji. This Adopt-a-Character program is awesome.


Ali Beyad, Software Engineer: I've adopted U+1F366 (soft ice cream) … because I asked my 4 year old daughter which one she would pick and that is what she sagaciously chose.


David Pilato, Developer Evangelist: I'm still wondering why I choose U+1F438 ???


Peter Kim, Chief Coffee Connoisseur: I adopted the raised fist to support the struggle of oppressed peoples around the world against all forms of injustice. From Wikipedia: The raised fist is a symbol of solidarity and support. It is also used as a salute to express unity, strength, defiance, or resistance. The salute dates back to ancient Assyria as a symbol of resistance in the face of violence.


Jay Greenberg, Support Engineer: I have adopted the rooster for obvious reasons.


Lee Drengenberg, Software Engineer: I got this instead of an actual tattoo.


Guy Boertje, Software Engineer: I chose U+1F48E, gem or diamond. This is for all Elastic "diamonds" that I share this amazing ride with. "Diamond geezer" is a relatively new London slang term. In London today, a geezer is a person who is "one of us" or "a good sort" — usually male. Diamond was added to refine it to a "the best of us," "the best of sorts". Now it's shortened to simply "diamond" as in "You are a real diamond" — not gender specific though. "Geezer" was used before for someone who can operate narrowly on either side of the law — a skallywag, a dodgy sort or someone that "knows people that know people". Obviously Elastic has none of these. In US English, I believe geezer refers to an old man, but this is clearly wrong. :-)


Shaunak Kashyap, Developer: I chose it for my favorite sport, watching and playing. Plus I'm pretty sure that one isn't going to have too many takers. :)


Costin Leau, Software Engineer: I picked it because I do believe that space is the final frontier. And hope that not too far in the future humanity will be exploring other planets, visiting other galaxies, discover ubik and maybe, just maybe meeting extra-terrestrial (and why not, friendly) life forms.


Matt Bargar, Software Engineer: I adopted it because I wanted to be a professional snowboarder when I grew up. Alas, I was born in Ohio.


Colin Surprenant, Software Engineer: I chose it because this is probably the finance team's reaction upon receiving all of our funky expense reports. :P


Uri Boness, Elastic Co-Founder: 'Cause I hate talking / explaining core values.


Alex Brasetvik, Software Engineer: I adopted this — You know, for search … (Wish there had been a skydiver emoji.)


Aaron Bull Schaefer, Infrastructure Engineer: I've chosen the good ole' roasted sweet potato (U+1F360) as they are not only delicious, but rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and beta-carotene, with a dash of potentially healthy (not yet studied) resin glycosides having antibacterial and antifungal properties. As if that weren't enough, :sweet_potato: is one of my favorite exclamatory reactions to messages in Slack.


Jason Bryan, Support Engineer: I have adopted the bug (U+1F41B) to pay tribute to the bug gods and because the pupa stage is terribly underrated.


Steve Mayzak, VP Worldwide Solutions Architecture: I adopted this one for my love of music and bass!


Paul Echeverri, Senior Technical Writer: I adopted it because I love hot water and hot springs of all sorts.


Nicholas Lim, Services Engineer: Adopted this on two counts: I <3 Spock and my resounding wish is for everyone to "Live long and prosper."


Medcl Zeng, Developer Evangelist: I adopt this spider, which is the hard-working agent for the internet.


Christian Strzadala, Software Engineer: I've adopted this as I do run a fair bit.


Jordan Zimmerman, Cloud Engineer: I adopted U+05D7, the Hebrew letter Chet. When followed by a yud it is the word "life" (chai): חי. I'm such a softy. חי makes the number 18 so, many Jews always add $18 when giving money gifts.


Baha Azarmi, Solutions Architect: I adopted U+1F3C2 … Well, you know why :)


Christian Zumbiehl, Professional Services: I chose this one because I am fascinated by deserts and I see the cactus as a model of persistence.


Christoph Büscher, Software Engineer: I adopted a character from music notation. The fermata is used to indicate to hold a note a bit longer than usual, to give it more space and attention because it's really good.


Kurt Hurtado, Software Engineer: I adopted 'BLACK QUESTION MARK ORNAMENT' (U+2753 ). At Elastic, we always ask "WHY?"... it's an important part of our culture. Also, when I teach classes on the Elastic Stack, I love getting questions from attendees. I learn best myself when I'm asking questions.


Tim Sullivan, UI Engineer: I adopted it because it looks a lot like the kind of Thai chilis that my wife grows at home. We're both huge fans of chili and spicy food, and it's something that we've always had in common.


Jay Modi, Security Engineer: I adopted it because, well, I like monkeys.


Henry Pak, Solutions Architect: Adopted it because


Scene from The Matrix. Copyright © 1999 by Warner Bros. All Rights Reserved.


Kosho Owa, Solutions Architect: I have adopted it because it can make anything shiny.


Deb Adair, Technical Writer: I adopted books. You know, for docs!


Sherry Ger, Support Engineer: I adopted that because it is how it feels in support!


Shay Banon, the dude abides: I have adopted U+2EEF, it was my first tattoo (followed 30 minutes later by my second one). Why it was my first tattoo is a different story :)


Aaron Mildenstein, Software Engineer: I adopted U+1F530 because, well, Japan. This symbol goes on the back of cars with new drivers, kind of like a "beginner on board" identification. It fits with my "untergeek" nickname and reminds me to always keep learning as though I were a beginner.


Philipp Krenn, Developer Advocate: I've adopted U+1F42F. I'm just like a big cat that likes to sleep whenever possible, I love Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes, and it has been my emoji in many chats.


Kevin Kluge, VP of Engineering: I adopted U+1F3CE. It looks like a Ferrari F1 car. I've been following F1 and rooting for Ferrari for a long time. I also do some amateur car racing as my primary hobby, when work and family allow. :)


Gabriel Moskovicz, Engineer: I adopted U+1F54A, the dove of peace. Pretty sure it is self-explanatory. :)


Jason Tedor, Software Engineer: I adopted U+96EA because my wife's name is 深雪 meaning "deep snow" and it also seemed fitting since I'm from Alaska.


Mark Harwood, Software Engineer: I adopted "snow-capped mountain" — they've always been a big part of my family. I married my wife on top of one :)


Chris Earle, Monitoring Lead: I adopted U+1F43A because I love dogs and that reminds me of German Shepherds, which is my favorite breed. It looks more like a Husky or Wolf in some other emoji formats and they're pretty cool too.


DeDe Morton, Sr. Technical Writer: I adopted the tree (U+1F333) for the rich imagery of being rooted while also reaching towards the sky … for the connections that we have to the people we love and to the past and future through our ancestors and children … for the fruit that nourishes us … and for the air that we breathe.


Bohyun Kim, Senior Product Manager: I adopted a Korean consonant, since it gets used the most when I type in Korean. This character has the sound of [kʰ] which can sound like a soft laughing sound when they're spoken in a series (e.g. 'ㅋㅋㅋㅋ' translates to ‘kkkk'). So when I find something really funny, I will type this about 20 times :)


Boaz Leskes, Software Engineer: It's the best of part of any serious programming/debugging session.


Colin Goodheart-Smithe, Software Engineer: I adopted it because I studied nuclear astrophysics at university so I learnt all about (and have since forgotten all about) stars.


Martijn van Groningen, Software Engineer: I've adopted U+1F680 because rockets are cool.


Pius Fung, Support Engineer: I adopted because I can eat noodles 365 days a year. :)


Suyog Rao, Team Lead: Adopted U+26F0. You know, for the love of mountains and outdoors. :)


Antonio Bonuccelli, Elastic Support: Adopting a lion face ‘cause it's an endangered species and it is also my zodiac sign. :-)


Drew Raines, Software Developer: I adopted person with folded hands, type-6 as homage to the four pair in my home. This image embodies two beautiful things: transracial adoption and prayer. I grew up a white boy in the American south. My children are black Africans. Adoption has allowed me to incarnate into the black experience. I watch as they get disciplined before their white peers. I educate them how to talk to the police for fear they won’t come home one night when they’re teenagers. But I have hope in the God who adopted me, who promised to proclaim liberty to the captives and set at liberty those who are oppressed (Lk 4). While we wait for that day, he told us to pray. Hate is not someone else’s problem. It’s in me. Left to my own, I wouldn’t need any lessons on how to judge people or think I’m better than they are. A hater like I am cannot just talk to a perfect God with impunity. Jesus Christ incarnated into the human experience, bearing the punishment that I deserve for rejecting God and hating my neighbor, and defeated the domain of darkness whence all hate comes so that, in part, I could pray. It’s soil in which I plant my hope that his promise is true. So I do it. For my family, for my neighbor, for you.


Marcelo Rodriguez, Support Engineer: I adopted it for the inner artist in all of us and our Engineering All-Hands reminded me that what we do is more of an art than a science.


Andrew Cholakian, Software Engineer: I adopted it because I always wanted a MiniDisc player but could never afford one. Now I have one foreevvvveerrrrr.


Uri Cohen, product guy: I adopted raised hand with part between middle and ring fingers, type-4 for three reasons: 1) Because it's the Vulcan salute, and I highly appreciate good reason behind everything I do (albeit not at the expense of emotions). 2) It's also (and that's where Leonard Nimoy borrowed it from) how Cohens, which stands for priests in Hebrew, raise their hands in the traditional priest blessing in synagogue. I am not religious, at least not in the traditional way, but being a Cohen is part of my heritage. The type 4 is, well, because it's the closest to my skin tone :)


Nicolás Bevacqua, UI Engineer: I adopted party popper because I'm a huge fan of this emoji. It makes me feel so good every time I add one of these into a message, for some reason!


Miguel Bosin, Support Engineer: I adopted because this is what I felt when I joined Elastic and met the impressive (in many senses) people I have met so far.


Jason Dickson, Content Coordinator: I adopted U+26BE because it reminds me of watching baseball with my grandfather and attending San Jose Giants games with my wife and friends.


Ben Ferrer, Video Content Creator: I've always had a camera in my hand since I was a kid, and cinematography has been my passion for quite awhile.


Tanya Bragin, member of the Product team: I thought of adopting this when I was texting with my husband about our three-year-old daughter. She is German, and a diminutive name often used in Germany for little girls is inexplicably "Maeuschen," which means "little mouse." So when we text each other, we often use this character to describe Alina. I decided to adopt this emoji to signify my unbounded love for her, and the amazing experience it has been for me being a parent and raising a child.


James Baiera, Software Engineer: I've adopted the top hat emoji. Years ago, some old friends gave me the nickname "Jimmy the Hat," due in part because I always wear a hat (though not a top hat). Also because my first name is Jimmy. It's an exceedingly clever nickname that has stuck with me since.


Dimitrios Liappis, Infrastructure Engineer: I adopted the floppy disk emoji (U+1F4BE) because this is what got me started with computers and I still fondly take care of devices that can read them. :)

Luisa Antonio, Marketing Coordinator: I chose the laughing face emoji because laughing on a daily basis is a must for me. A good sense of humor goes a long way in life.

Soon to be added: The Elastic Education Team will be adopting the owl (U+1F989) from Unicode 9.0 at bronze level. As seen in the Los Angeles Times last week, the owl is one of a set of brand-new emojis coming soon to a screen near you! The Unicode Consortium is close to allowing adoption of Unicode 9.0 characters with their website update in the coming weeks. Check back and you can be first to adopt one of the awesome new emojis!

In case you're wondering, adopting wasn't required and all adoption fees were eligible for reimbursement by Elastic. And here's an example of the cool certificates that a Bronze-level sponsor may choose to receive:


Elastic commends the Unicode Consortium for all the work it is doing, and we encourage everyone reading this to visit the Unicode Consortium site and its Adopt-a-Character program, and make a donation to sponsor your favorite character today!