What are you doing now?
After graduating, I moved to America and did a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Michigan. I then moved with my wife to Seattle where I started my own business (ThreePenny Software) doing contract software development. We rolled that into a venture backed startup (FlowPlay, Inc) which is where I still work. FlowPlay is an online games company, specializing in building virtual game worlds.
Today we run two of those – ourworld.com and vegasworld.com. OurWorld is aimed at teenage girls who like to dress up and chat with their friends in an online space. It’s been running profitably for about 8 years now. VegasWorld is aimed at older adults who enjoy playing casino games, but again in a social setting where they can go to parties and build deep friendships. That ones been running for about 4 years.
FlowPlay employees about 50 people today, mostly artists and engineers. I’m the CTO and one of the co-founders. We spend our days wondering how best to make a few million people happy – pretty hard to beat that as a way to make a living.
What is your favourite memory from your time studying Computer Science in St Andrews?
If we’re talking about Computer Science specifically – I really loved it when the whole department when on a retreat to a little Scottish glen for a weekend. We rode bikes and talked about the next generation of computer languages, a great geek fest and a chance to really get to know the professors as people.
Outside of the department, I think my favorite memory was walking down from Fife Park to the Union and back one day in my final year. It’s about a 20 min walk round trip and I remember in my 4th year taking about 3 hours to do it because I ran into so many different people that I knew well enough to stop and chat. The joy of such a small, tight knit community. But maybe that sounds too studious? I also remember many a night hanging out with friends in the Atholl (John Burnett Hall), drinking and having fun until the sun came up, getting 2 hours of sleep and still making it to class at 8am. Don’t think I could do even one night like that today!
Alumni Profile added: Feb 2016