Matthew Smalley (Computer Science, 2010)
Software Engineer and Director/Co-Founder of Rmend
Matthew Smalley had always known that he was going to pursue a career in Technology. From an early age, Matthew developed an interest in computer games and before joining DMU had worked in every boy’s dream job as a games tester for Rare Ltd.
Originally from Nottingham, Matthew knew he wanted to attend a university in the Midlands that would help him to achieve his ambition of finding a career that allowed him to be independent and creative. He visited a DMU Open Day and the rest, as they say, is history.
“I was limited geographically due to existing commitments and felt that DMU was the best university in the Midlands. From attending the Open Day I could tell that is was going to be a well taught course and I was right - the lecturers really care about the subject. At the time, I felt that some of the things that were taught weren’t necessary but it’s not until you leave university that you realise how vital it is to listen to every piece of knowledge that is passed down to you.”
It was one of Matthew’s lecturers that recognised that his talent and suggested that he entered DMU’s Creative Thinking Awards.
The Creative Thinking Awards were created in 2008 to identify new products, opportunities and services from people that show creativity, lateral thinking and competitive skills. Open to students and alumni, the £10,000 cash prize is either awarded in full to one winner or can be shared between several entrants. In 2010,Matthew won second place for his dissertation project, a programme using eye tracking software that allowed disabled children to play a music video game using solely their eye movements.
“I found out I had won the award via email and was delighted to think that I could now buy a new laptop as well as booking a spur of the moment trip to Spain. It has opened so many doors for me as it’s a topic that people like to discuss when reading my CV, including my manager, who headhunted me for my current role as a Software Engineer.”
Matthew’s current role includes the development and design of Smartphone apps for corporate customers; he is also is the Director and Co-Founder of a company called Rmend Ltd who are the creators of a new app that Matt has co-designed and helped to build.
The app, also called Rmend, allows you to search for local venues and attractions that other people have recommended. As long as the app is open, it will flash up with any offers or free stuff that is available in the surrounding area.
“The app is useful for people that are new to an area and would like to know what places other people have recommended around them. Venues such as bars, restaurants and even museums get the chance to give special offers to Rmend’s users. This could be a free beer, or discounted museum ticket. The app also gives challenges to users, whereby being the first to complete a certain task within a venue will give the user a prize.
I can see it being popular with students as it will show them what is really cool within their area, as well as giving them free stuff just for using it. I worked on the technical, back-end database and GPS aspects and two of my colleagues did the other developments. We have all worked on the creative side of it equally. We are very excited to see the launch, which is currently planned for May 2013. We have generated significant interest for investment and guidance down at Google Campus in London. I’m not sure that any of this would have been possible without the amazing start I was given by DMU.”
Matthew feels that it was his time at DMU that has helped him get to the position he is in today.
“I enjoyed being taught by people just as passionate about the subject as I am and I am grateful to the people that recognised what my main strengths are”. I really felt encouraged to think differently and outside of the box. It’s refreshing to know that not only are your lecturers there to teach but also to look out for you and guide you into becoming a success.”