Weekly Wrap Up - Berlin, Du Bist So Wunderbar
06 Sep 2016
Hallo from Berlin, dearest Sphero fans! For those of you who aren’t our 3, maybe 4 blog stalkers, this week we’ve been at IFA and have just wrapped up day 5 of a 6-day show. And do we ever feel an end in sight now more than ever. Are you here Wednesday-at-6PM? It’s us, the convention exhibitors. We thought we heard you drive past our house real slow but that was Monday schlepping along. Don’t worry, we’ll hang for a bit until you get here, then we can head out together.
Not that we’re complaining, Berlin and its Berliners have been great to us. We’re rolling deep with BB-8s, SPRK+s, Ollies, Darksides and the showstopper pair of them all, Special Edition Battle-Worn BB-8 and Force Band. We’re pretty sure Nick from engineering or Matt from sales will be internet famous, as show attendees have been filming their Force Band demos nonstop; guiding our favourite Astromech Droid through the galaxy (our succulent-clad demo table) using the powers of the Force.
In case you didn’t hear, that’s a thing that happened: we launched pre-order for Force Band last week while here at IFA, and holy catfish do we feel popular again. You guys are awesome. Thanks for being as excited about our products as we are. Soon you too will be able to hone the Force with your trustee BB-8 by your side, or an Ollie, Darkside or SPRK+ for that matter. Oh, didn’t know that either? Yeah, the Force runs through us all and that includes our bots. Besides roaming with BB-8, you can use the Force Band to guide SPRK+ through a maze or race Ollie and Darkside up a ramp at the park, NBD. Imagine—guiding our robots with the Force AND watching cat videos on your smartphone at the same time. Seriously, what a time to be alive.
Well, as for us, we have one last day of delighting people from all over the world with the ways of the Force and enjoying the literal wave of arms from the crowd as they mimic our movements. Keep practicing, young padawans.
After tomorrow, we’re homeward bound, so we’ll catch you on the left side of the pond next week.
A Day In The Life: Jim Stigall
Q. Hi. To get things underway, would you please tell us your name and your title here?
A. I'm Jim. Jim Stigall to be exact. I am the Senior Concept & Story Artist here at Sphero.
Q. Hi, Jim Stigall. And what do you at Sphero everyday?
A. I work with the Visual Development Team. We are focused on Sphero's physical products and balance support between both hardware and software. My job, in particular, revolves around developing early stages of user experience. As a conceptual and story artist I help breathe look, character and life into our products. My work ranges from early conceptual product sketches and industrial design, storyboard illustration and animatic creation, to app experience and look.
Q. That sounds super rad. What advice can you impart for young artists—or old, we’re equal opportunists here—interested in doing the same thing?
A. Draw all the time! Be inspired! And learn to work and communicate with everyone around you - a most important life skill in general.
Q. Can you share what your’e currently working on or is it super hush-hush?
A. One of the awesome things about my position is that I am often working on multiple projects at once. I can tell you that I'm currently helping the Force Band software team head for home plate as we rapidly approach release. I am also involved in two other hush-hush projects at the moment.
Q. So besides creating some pretty amazing things, what do you love most about working at Sphero?
A. I enjoy the variety of skill that Sphero's employees offer. Artists, software engineers, hardware engineers, marketing and graphic design folks, sales, etc...There is a very mixed bag of talent here—all masters of their craft—working together to bring cohesive products and experiences to our customers.
Q. Good people make the bots go ‘round. Speaking of, which of our bots is your favourite?
A. BB-8, hands-down. That little droid was the first project I worked on here at Sphero. He is so beloved and so full of character and life! Also, I'm a huge, life-long Star Wars fan--so BB-8 was/is a dream project for me professionally and creatively.
Q. I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING. Ok, before I get too emotional, what are some things you like to do outside of Sphero?
A. My art sort of consumes me outside of work as well. Most of my various hobbies tend to somehow fuel my creativity. I can often be found drinking coffee or craft beer, nose deep in my sketchbook. I take on freelance design, illustration, and mural work when time allows. I am very into film - especially animated features and horror films—finding this also vital for my creativity and inspiration. On top of all of this I have two wonderful sons, Braydn and Ethan, whom I love spending time with. All of this is the tip of the iceberg—love trying new things and really do believe in the old saying, 'variety is the spice of life.'
Q. Preach on. What do you love most about living in Colorado?
A. I am a Colorado Native—something that seems to be more and more rare these days. I have watches this State grow and blossom so incredibly over the last 30+ years. It has been fun to see so many people from outside of Colorado fall in love with the place where I grew up. I couldn't possibly begin to explain everything I love about Colorado—it is my home.
Q. So what places can you recommend we gotta check out?
A. Hmm... with the rapid growth of Colorado, recommendations change almost monthly. It seems like there is always something new and awesome to try out! I have really been into trying the amazing craft beer coming out of the State lately... So, if you find yourself in Sphero's neck of the woods, I would stop into Avery Brewing Company (and this is a hard choice because there are A LOT of great breweries in Boulder) - they brew one of my favorite beers called Rumpkin and their tap house food is pretty darn incredible. However, being that I was born and raised in Denver—in many ways lightyears away from Boulder in feel, though only a 25 minute drive—I have to say one of my current favorite Denver spots is The Atomic Cowboy for Fat Sully's NY pizza and, of course, beer.
Q. Alright, bring us on home: what surprising aspect can you tell us about yourself?
A. I have pretty in-depth knowledge about World War II. I love history in general and tend to want to understand the roots of anything and everything I have an interest in - but I do have a particular knowledge of the European campaigns during WWII. My Grandfather was a Combat Engineer with the 104th Infantry Division. My Father and I have been doing extensive research for the better part of a decade now in preparation of a book we are writing revolving around Grandpa's stories.