Some of you may not know Matt Biddulph; which is okay. But if you’re a StartUp Engineer or you aspire to one day sell a startup to a VC and you do not know Matt, then you’re not way in over your head like you should be. I recently had the opportunity to meet him at Science HackDay at 88 MPH at Piedmont Plaza, just above BrewBistro a few weekends back.
Matt is a software designer and creative technologist, like he says in HackDiary bio. He is also a former Nokia employee where he worked as head of Strategy on the Ovi Product Development. What really placed him on the tech-map is his acquisition story where his co-creation, Dopplr created in 2007, was bought out by Nokia back in September 2009 only 2 years after its inception. He previously worked at BBC and Ananova. He was also key in securing funding for Lanyrd to the tune of $1.4Million USD.
Here’s a casual interview I had with Matt during his visit in Kenya:
Juuchini: How are you enjoying your stay here so far Matt?
Matt: I am having a great time. I got to see many good things from Nairobi and the landscape is looking good for science here.
Juuchini: Okay. Quick one: You are always being invited to conferences to speak, share and judge competitions. How did you manage to get to be so well known?
Matt: Well, this started a while back when I just got into the tech stuff. I used to attend quite a number of conferences and then I got to telling people what I do. I studied computation at Oxford University back in ‘94 thru to ’97 so I guess this helped me a lot.
Juuchini: So does this mean you’re good at math?
Matt: Well, not really. I just enjoy the algorithm side of things as it helps a lot during software design.
Juuchini: Okay, so how does one get to be invited to speak at conferences so much? I searched for your name on the internet and had so many results come up. Any advice for others who aspire to be like you?
Matt: That’s funny! Haha! I guess it boils down to being and doing your best. Try and discover a niche in what you do, find it, do it and do it well. I see great opportunity here in Africa and especially Kenya as the sort of hub so it is up to these young minds to get the coffee and code away. It doesn’t have to be coding par-say, it could be design elements of things, things and people work well in teams and if you find the right unit with whom you complement each other, you could be well on your way to doing something phenomenally amazing. *looks around* I have to leave for now, could we continue with this when I’m back?
Juuchini: Sure Matt. Let’s catch up when you’re back. If not, I shall email you and get your thoughts on a few other things.
Matt: Sure George. Thank you.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Matt after the 3-day event which ended on Sunday.
You will agree though that he is a great chap whose straight-up genuine belief in Africa is amazing.