Don't be afraid of pushing boundaries, be those personal, creative or technical; it's often the projects with the highest risk or pressures that give the greatest reward.
Tech Director at Chunk. Geek. Bald. Awful at writing bios.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I've been really lucky to have had the opportunity to work on loads of varied projects with talented people, but the stand out one in recent times has to be 'The Bank Job' for Channel 4 and Remarkable Television. Getting a BAFTA Television nomination for it was pretty cool, and it seemed to build up a passionate and committed audience very quickly, which made all the pressure during development worthwhile. Getting into the Guinness Book of World Records for our motion detection cinema game for Cadbury ticked a childhood ambition box too.
How many hours do you work each week?
This is a tricky one as its hard to draw a clear distinction as there's always something work related rattling around in my head. In terms of sitting at a desk, plugging away at it I'd say about 50-60 hours a week.
How do you relax or unwind?
Clichéd, but snowboarding is the one time I get to truly switch off. It's a pity that's only an option part of the year until I fully embrace telecommuting and can alternate hemispheres.
If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?
Wasting time on the internet.
What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?
The favourite part has to be launching a new project, seeing those first comments or reviews come in and the feeling that the inevitable final push has been worth it. The hardest part is often the days or hours immediately preceding those moments.
What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?
Almost three days straight, but that was back when we were much smaller and didn't fully appreciate the benefits of a Project Manager ;)
In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?
It's not really software per se, but we've been working a lot with HTML5 of late (hasn't everyone) and I keep being amazed by the stuff our team is producing under what are currently pretty challenging circumstances on mobile especially.
What software could you not live without?
Since a lot of our HTML5 games have to work across desktop, tablet and mobile, there are the familiar challenges of fragmentation and optimisation. Both the Chrome and Safari Web Inspectors are an indispensable part of our workflow now for both on and off device testing. I envy folks who will grow up not knowing what it was like to develop for the web without them.
How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?
We'll generally have anything between 3 and 5 projects in production at any one time, and maybe half a dozen at various proposal, pitch or planning stages.
Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?
Beyond the profile and traffic boost that winning an FWA Award brings, it's also great for everyone on the team to know that there work is respected by their peers and that those weeks and months of chipping away at an idea have all been worth it.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
Launched in 1997, optimised for Internet Explorer 4.0 and Netscape, using Flash 3. It's amazingly still online, but the URL is going with me to the grave.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
At the moment I struggle to read enough books, never mind write one.
Have you been a part of a campaign that was rooted in digital and THEN reached over into other consumer touchpoints? Did this happen organically or was it a part of the plan from the beginning?
'The Bank Job' was the UK's first digitally led gameshow and so the strategy was developed right from the outset as a cross-platform project originating online. We were working with the show's set and game designers throughout development as the tv show itself took shape to make sure our game was representative of the brand and matched the gameplay of the show. Every contestant on the show had to play the online game to qualify, and you could play the game on the Monday night and be live on national television by the following Friday which was pretty cool.
The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?
We don't really think just digitally. We work on a lot of projects that cross out of the web, and out of digital. Whether that's creating a motion detector that allows cinema audiences to play a game as one, digital campaigns that allow you to create personalised, physical children's books from digital online games and experiences or games that mix the physical and digital worlds like Zeds (http://chunkgam.es/zedsapp), which allows you to record your sleep patterns and generates game content based on how restless or restful your sleep was.
Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?
The 'appification' of the web, and responsive design are just the start of a much bigger movement that I think's really going to challenge what we perceive as 'websites'. The proliferation of connected or wearable devices like Google Glass and an iWatch are going to accelerate it. As content providers, designers and developers we're going to have to think of the web as something even more fluid and shapeless than we do currently, and tailor our experiences to each of those channels.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
The Starling framework and Air exporter have breathed new life into Flash and is now a great cross-platform option for us. We used it to created the iD Gum Artcade (http://chunkgam.es/Ozesg4) along with Droga5 and rehabstudio and without it we'd never have been able to turn around 15 games on three platforms in anywhere near the same amount of time. There's plenty life in the old dog yet.
If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?
Don't be afraid of pushing boundaries, be those personal, creative or technical; it's often the projects with the highest risk or pressures that give the greatest reward. Dedicate a good portion of your day to reading, and if you're working on the web, hit View Source on your favourite sites and see what you can learn. Oh yeah, and shut the laptop from time to time and get out and talk to folk.
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?
I'm still striving to find a decent daily routine, but my phone is invariably the first thing I reach for each morning and that last thing at night, clipping articles and blog pieces to Instapaper and using Reeder to catch up on RSS feeds. I'm currently in a panic as to what I'll do once Google shut down Reader.
What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?
More of the same will do me just grand.
What are you excited about learning next and is there a long term challenge you are considering tackling?
Right now it feels like we're going through a growing pain, with HTML5 feeling on the one hand like a golden bullet that will solve everyone's cross-platform challenges, and on the other feeling like its a step back into a painful, fractured environment that's worse than developing during the previous browser wars ever was, so I'm excited about learning about the solutions to that. Beyond that, I'm really looking forward to the next (or should that be current) wave of hardware-led innovation and what it can offer us as developers - things like Leap Motion, Occulus Rift, Google Glass.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
We just re-homed a puppy, and in the past week she's chewed her way through our speakers, a Kindle, three bags, a hoodie and smashed an iPhone, so although she wasn't expensive herself, that credit is all hers.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Not so much a parting shot or pearl of wisdom but a shameless plug. Go download and play Zeds! http://chunkgam.es/zedsapp (Coming to international app stores soon folks - sorry!)
It has been a privilege, thanks very much