I learned of Niko's existence a long time ago. I stumbled upon one of his projects, WackoWiki. He wrote the thing himself, I believe, and I remember admiring its simplicity and elegance. What we took for elegance back then, is another matter.

Much later we met personally. He looked as a crossbreed between a monkey and a classical philosopher. He also used to be, and still is, a trickster of the highest caliber.
Auteur, a card-based physics-driven text editor. Concept no. 5 by Niko and myself.
Designed by alcozombie [behance]
Once he showed me one of his tricks. At the time he was managing a large blogging platform that he had also conceived himself. Every user on the platform was assigned a rank that was dependent on activity, experience and many other factors. The maximal rank, it was claimed, gave god-like abilities within the platform—you could wipe other people for instance. Naturally, the formula was constructed in a way no one could reach the maximal rank. There was no lack of trying, though. Niko was utterly happy as he was watching attempts to crack the secret formula.
(on the right: me and Niko in 2018)
I believe that at the time he formed one of his most fundamental beliefs: that a good place to be, was a place one could hack.
I also remember his lecture on what the world would be like if email services were designed as games. He first showed a blank interface that was eventually populated with functions as a user completed email-related quests. In the modern world of in-app purchases this concept doesn't sound as funny anymore.
Niko giving a presentation in 2010
And so I grew fond of his ways. At times he would work like crazy on his genius, unpragmatical, futuristic concepts. Many weeks, though, he spent depressed and unneeded. It is hard to be a digital philosopher when computing, for the most part, lost its magic.
Is that what he is? A digital philosopher?
He certainly has a reputation of one.
We used to concept together, spending hours walking and talking about ideas that were never destined to see the light of day. I describe several of them in other essays. We rarely launched anything together, notable exceptions being Yandex.Zen and NPTV.
Auteur perforation mechanics
Like me, he is now living in Holland, enjoying the benefits of pale light and constant rains. We often meet.

In him, I found a friend and intellectual sparring partner. It was the fear of losing these values that led to the decision of describing what we were tinkering with. I can only hope someone finds it useful.
Above Interactive Table. Concept by Niko and myself. I can't remember who did the design.
I definitely see sketches by Gordon as well.