By Jonay Suárez, Head of Marketing at Wibbu.
Matt is from New Zealand. He has gone from building robotics systems to creating language-learning video games. Give him an idea and he’ll turn it into something that flies. He moved to London in November 2014 to join Wibbu. Matt is an expert in making dreams come true.
Today, we interview him.
Matt, why did you make the move from New Zealand to London?
Before I came to London, I had travelled to Europe for a summer and I fell in love with it. I saw an opportunity to learn about other cultures and to meet some amazing people. London is a very different place to where I’m from, and provides all kinds of exciting and unique opportunities to learn and grow while enabling me to travel and explore more of the world.
From studying robotics to developing educational apps. Why the change?
The job ad at Wibbu is what really made me reconsider the interesting field of robotics to pursue a career in language-learning applications. I liked the motivation and ambition of the company – teaching others – and wanted to be a part of it. For me, teaching someone another language enables them to access a whole other world of opportunities where they can learn and do great things.
“Teaching someone another language enables them to access a whole other world of opportunities where they can learn and do great things.”
You learnt to develop apps and video games on your own. What is the key to learning something independently without losing your motivation?
For me, when it comes to learning new skills, the most important thing is to have achievable goals with real and satisfying results.
For example, when I was teaching myself electronics, rather than learning mathematical formulae and performing countless calculations, I decided to build a small robot. During the process of building that robot, I used the formulae and calculations, but it always had a real-life application. I could constantly see the results of my work, and in the end I had a cute little friend.
At times things can seem impossible, but you must remember to take it one small step at a time. If you do, you can achieve anything, besides teleportation (oh wait, even that’s possible!).
You have been working at Wibbu since December 2014 and were an integral part of the team that built our previous apps. What do you like most about working at Wibbu?
Working at Wibbu is a lot of fun. Everyone here is very eager to learn or to teach each other new things, be it about languages, different cultures or thousands of other topics of interests in the office. One of my favourites is when we have team yoga to wake ourselves up after lunch or when we watch a presentation with animations straight out of the ‘90s.
What do you like most about your job?
What I love most about my job here at Wibbu is being able to create new and useful things for others, be it for other people on the team, or collectively for people who use our application. Empowering others to be able to better themselves is the best feeling in the world!
Is it possible for you to tell us what are you working on at the minute?
Right now, I’m building a tool that will bring together the work of the linguists, the artists, and the developers. This tool will allow us to control everything that happens in the new game from one central point.
You speak English and are currently learning Spanish. What part of the learning process do you think is the most challenging? What are you doing to fight it?
The most difficult thing for me is to unlearn everything I thought was a fact about language. By immersing myself with Spanish, I’ve learnt to embrace the differences rather than fight them. Learning songs, talking to my colleagues and using Wibbu have all been of great help to me.
“By immersing myself with Spanish, I’ve learnt to embrace the differences rather than fight them.”
And to finish, could you tell us something in Maori?
My favourite word in Maori is mana. Mana describes a supernatural force in a person, place, or object. It can mean your prestige, authority, or a more supernatural power. I also love it for its use in games.