Matchbox Highlights of 2015

We’re a handful of days into the New Year, and for the majority of people this is likely their first week back after a (hopefully) relaxing, if not jam-packed, week and a half off. We made it through the holidays, survived that in-between phase before New Year’s Eve where nobody knows what day it is, and now we just have to hope we get through the next couple of weeks spotting all the 2015 document typo’s before we get into the swing of auto writing 2016.

While we’re adjusting to the fact that somehow another whole year has whizzed by, let’s take a look at the Matchbox highlights of 2015 – below are a selection of the top picks from various Matchbox team members.

PROJECTS

The Bluetooth Developer Studio

One of the proudest moments for the team last year was the launch of the Bluetooth Developer Studio! Some of you may have already read the full case study, others perhaps joined our live webinar introduction, or have even used the studio yourselves!

For those of you who don’t yet know what I’m talking about, Bluetooth Developer Studio started off as an incredible idea, which many people worked hard to make a reality. The Bluetooth Developer Studio is a quick way to integrate the Bluetooth protocol into a project by allowing you to drag and drop existing profiles to create a custom build with ease. It was a long time in the making, and a great achievement upon its release, a cause worth celebrating! Please have a full read through the case study to find out more.

Or go get it yourselves! 

Meeting US Cellular in Chicago

Another stand out memory for the Matchbox team was the Chicago trip that Cori, Alex, and Mark embarked upon to meet US Cellular. They all agreed that it was lovely meeting the US Cellular Innovation team, stating that ‘they were open to suggestions, patient with us while we got up to speed (and over our jet lag!) and generally made us feel really welcome!’

While they had a great time working with US Cellular, they also took the time to explore Chicago’s beautiful city. Alex was kind enough to provide me with a delightful little anecdote to share with you:

“Mark and I had a packed day of sightseeing on Saturday – we started by grabbing a breakfast burrito at XOCO, jumped on the L and went to a farmer’s market before heading to the nearby Lincoln Park Zoo. After taking in the gibbons, zebras and lions we walked along North Avenue Beach and ended up drinking a beer on a beached boat filled with topless revellers dancing to house music. We then took in some modern art at the Museum of Contemporary Art before changing into our evening clothes, grabbing a hotdog and enjoying the sunset from the top of the John Hancock Centre. We topped off our day by going to watch David Duchovny (who covered The Flaming Lips) alongside the cougars of Chicago.
Culturally, we swung from one extreme to the other.”

MATCHBOX

10 Year Birthday Book

We had plenty of memorable company moments amongst the busy project work! Some of the team’s favourites included the making of the 10 Year Anniversary Matchbox birthday book. If you read the article we posted last month celebrating the completion, and telling the tale of how it all started and how long it took to get to the finish line, then you’ll know it was an interesting journey, but a lot of fun! Not only that, but it produced an awesome product that everyone enjoyed reading through at the company Christmas party – a popular page contained the ‘face swaps’ that included the top picks from a much loved Matchbox pastime.

Matchbox Gym & Sexy Shower

When asking the team for their highlights of 2015 – one of the (anonymous) suggestions I received was ‘Matchbox gym & sexy shower’, which was too great an answer not write about. The Matchbox Gym is a point of pride amongst some of the members in the Brighton office, and a chance to bond in short shorts. If you happen to have a meeting scheduled in the downstairs meeting room at the same time as a training session, it can be accompanied by the acoustic sounds of metal clinking and forceful grunting.

And for those of you wondering about this ‘sexy shower’, well let’s see what Mark has to say about that;

“I use the shower on a regular, if not daily, basis. Sometimes after the gym, sometimes to clear my head after a heavy session of documenting. They say the best ideas come to us in the shower, bath or while sitting on the toilet, and at Matchbox we are lucky enough to be able to conjure two of those scenarios at will. I am happy to say, it was in the shower at Matchbox, around June last year that I had my best idea yet.”

Mr. Bingo

Another brilliant highlight was a Matchbox outing that took place a few weeks after I arrived. In October we attended a work event which included a 46 (precise) minute talk from Mr Bingo; most notably recognised for his Hate Mail project in which he sends offensively illustrated postcards to willing recipients. The talk was part of a reward for the backing donation our company made to his Kickstarter campaign, Hate Mail: The Definitive Collection; in which Mr Bingo created a book, showcasing a selection of his favourite postcards.

The presentation was mildly erratic, offensive, random, funny, and informative (teaching us all how to write and make a rap video); all in all a delightful 46 minutes.

It was a lovely evening, and further solidified my reasons for wanting to be part of the Matchbox family.

Wi-Fi fiasco

Of course, I can’t move on to the next section before giving a quick shout out to ‘The Saga of the Internet Connection’ – and its amazing resolution. (To be honest, an entire article could probably be written about this alone!) But alas, I shall not dwell – we are now all working with a speedy, and largely consistent internet connection!

PEOPLE

Some of the 2015 Highlights of course had to include the Matchbox people; new starters, old faces and exciting visits.

2015 new starters;

Jo, my fellow Producer signed her permanent contract in May, after freelancing with Matchbox for 8 months. I joined the Matchbox team in August, shortly followed by the lovely Vanessa.

Seeing old faces;

Dan and Ian, plus Jonathan and Nick, of Zoonou

Dan was originally helicoptered into Matchbox to assist in wrapping up the Twitter and Facebook for Zune HD apps. His mission (which he chose to accept) was to just “plug the front end into the back end” – after which he would be released back to his casual lifestyle.

As Rik explained, “ ‘A few weeks’ quickly turned into 6 months; and 3 years later he was still knocking out high quality code and contributing heavily to the new way of building apps at Matchbox. He subsequently went on to follow his dreams of working in the Game Development industry, and we like to think we had a hand in making him the right type of person to do so, but in truth, he was always awesome. We’re a much better group of people at Matchbox for knowing Dan for this brief, yet insightful time.”

Jonathan and Nick, of Zoonou attended the party – most notably known for their work with the aforementioned Twitter and Facebook for Zune HD apps.

Ian was another old face everyone was happy to see at the party. Ian was one of the first Matchbox employees, and while gathering intel I have discovered that he was ‘one of’ the tallest Matchbox employees, with a penchant for sneezing and a slight reputation for being a tad clumsy. Other facts about Ian that you might be interested to know; he used to own a van, was fond of surfing , and had the nickname ‘Rimbo’.

Snowy updates

Leading up to Christmas we received daily snow depth reports and images from Michael throughout the winter months, along with regularly updated temperatures and some casual berating at our whimpering of an occasionally chilly office.

Visits from abroad:

In the summer we had James’ brother visiting the office, all the way from New Zealand. I was once again reminded what a small world it was when Simon – owner of Dr Morse Tattoo Inc. – asked about my tattoos (one of which I got during my year in NZ) and not only did he know the studio, but was friends with the guy who did it!

Simon was a delightful temporary addition to the office, and the giant empty box of Star Wars lego on one of the shelves is a permanent reminder and a great talking point for visitors – before their brief disappointment of discovering there’s nothing in there.

There were countless memorable moments from 2015, and we hope 2016 will provide many more. We’ll be sure to keep you updated!