Weekly Wrap Up - Giving Thanks
22 Nov 2016
Thanksgiving is only two days away and things seem to be pretty quiet here at Sphero HQ. Don’t get us wrong—chit chat has been put on the back burner as we’re working hard tying up any loose ends and getting everything ready for the holiday.
Yup, it's officially that time. We’re once again throwing our hats into the chaotic rink that is Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and every other day that ends in "Y" and starts with "SALE". We’ll have some bot deals and holiday bundles you can ogle over as you recover from your week’s worth of turkey leftovers—all from the comfort of your home. Or bathroom.
Aside from that, we wish you a nom-worthy Thanksgiving and advise you don’t forget your sweatpants.
Or any pants, really.
A Day In The Life: Darby Vernon
Q. Hi. Please tell us your name and what you do here.
A. My name’s Darby Vernon and I’m a game designer here at Sphero.
Q. That’s rad. Can you detail what that looks like day-to-day?
A. My work revolves around fun. Not just having fun, but also making sure all our products are fun. I come up with ideas, but spend most of my time testing those ideas. Did other people find those ideas fun? How do we make it more fun? This can be done either very quickly on paper or on the computer to test out.
Q. What piece of advice can you offer to those also interested in game designing?
A. The worst best piece of advice I got when trying to be a designer was: make a game. It’s a terrible piece of advice because, if it was that easy, everyone would be a game designer. Instead think of a simple game you used to play as a kid (tic tac toe, Go Fish, etc.) and change the rules to try and improve it. Test it on your friends and family. Write down their feedback and try again. Rinse, repeat, iterate. You’ve now gone through the most important steps to being a game designer, and have your own game to show off at interviews.
Q. Simplistic and effective, like some of the best games I know. Can you share what you’re working on now or is it super secret?
A. Um, yeah, super secret.
Q. Ah, I figured. Ok, besides fun super-secret things, what is your favorite aspect of working at Sphero?
A. I love the culture here. Everyone is super friendly and talented, and we’re all experts in our field. It also means I get to learn about other practices. Just the other day I was in a marketing meeting with the marketing department, I get to work daily with engineers, and I’m constantly inspired by looking over the shoulders of our artists.
Q. Do you have a favorite Sphero bot?
A. BB-8! It’s amazing how much personality you can get out of a robot that’s just a ball with a head. Though I might be a bit biased, considering I helped with some of that.
Q. I think most of our fans would agree with you. What do enjoy outside of work?
A. Video games mostly, though I also like to do some drawing and creative writing in my free time.
Q. Nice. What do you love most about living in Colorado?
A. It’s always so sunny here! Even when it snows, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. I get cold easily so I prefer the warmer weather.
Q. So what can you recommend to do around here? Have a fave spot you can share with the rest of us?
A. If you’re ever near the University of Denver, there’s this little shack called Jerusalem’s. Looks completely unassuming; best shawarma ever. That shawarma got me through college.
Q. Never underestimate the power of a good shawarma. Ok, last question—what can you share about yourself most of us don’t know?
A. Robots used to scare me as a kid. My little six year old self probably wouldn’t believe that I’d end up working at a company that makes robots. I wanted to become a paleontologist instead. Hm, maybe… robot dinosaurs are in my future?