Goodbye Plug-in, and good luck!

Around 10 years ago I set up a company. It didn’t seem like a big deal. In fact, it was merely a tax entity for my freelance career. I had this idea that I could sell a customisable web site service where you could choose which options to “plug-in” – hence the name Plug-in Media.

I never really planned for it to expand any more than just me but things started to take off when I partnered up with the creative genius Dom Minns. Ours was a highly fruitful collaboration – with his imagination and creativity, and my technical background, a period of high quality productivity ensued.

Later we were joined by kids’ digital specialist Juliet Tzabar and her skills and experience led to the project that won our first BAFTA – Big and Small for the BBC.

I was involved with some really fun projects but as we became more and more successful I was spending more of my time doing “business stuff” – meetings, accounting or managing people, and less of my time actually building things. It was becoming harder and harder to do the things I loved – my side projects, blog posts, writing tutorials, open source libraries and travelling the world speaking at conferences and sharing things that I have learned. I was becoming unhappy.

So over the last few years, I’ve been gradually less involved with the business. As our work diverged and we began moving into slightly different areas, I felt I had become less useful to them. So last week I finally sold my remaining shares back to them, and now I am no longer part of Plug-in Media.

It’s quite a strange feeling, but not a bad one. Separately we are both flourishing. They’re busier than ever with amazing projects for clients like the BBC, Sesame Street, Nickelodeon, and now have 3 BAFTAs, the most recent for the Psychoville website. And I’m really enjoying my new found career as a digital artist, along with the increasingly ambitious projects I take on, like PixelPyros and Lunar Trails.

I’m proud that I had a part in creating such a great company, but it’s no longer mine – their success is now entirely due to the hard work of their current directors.

So I wave goodbye to my friends at Plug-in Media. Good luck, and I wish you every success on your onward journey.

A swarm of 100 robots for Playable City

Robot Runners

I’m so excited to announce that I’ve been shortlisted for the Bristol Playable City award for my Robot Runners project. The award aims to use technology to reconfigure Bristol into a space that encourages play.

I’ve long wanted to make a swarm of little robots so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do it! The robots will move around a mini arena perfectly mirroring the positions of humans in the real world. There’s something that fascinates me about seeing robot versions of real life human players.

RobotRunnersMapView

If my project wins, I’ll be running robot building workshops in the run up to the event. So you can make a robot, and then be a robot!

I’m in excellent company and there are some great projects on the shortlist. My personal favourites are The Arc Project (featuring my friend Kyle McDonald), Hello Lamp Post, and the Balloonometer. But to be honest, all those shortlisted are exceptional.

The judges will choose the winner in January but they’ll take your comments into account, so please take time to ask questions and give feedback on each shortlisted project.

Read more about Robot Runners and comment on the shortlist page.