- Founder at Makeshift
- Independent at More Monsters
- Hacker in Residence at Eigg Box
- Hacker in Residence at Comic Relief
- Chief Innovation Officer and Co-founder at Aframe
- Co-founder at Help Me Investigate
- Fellow at Clore Leadership Programme
- Digital Culture Associate at Made Media
- Co-founder at Type Records
- The Daddy at Odadeo
- Trustee at St. George's School, Edgbaston
- Co-Founder at Creative Republic
- Director at Fierce! Festival Ltd.
- Co-founder - Creative Director, then Managing Director at 3form
- Director at Plus Expo Ltd.
- Creative Director at WebXpress
- Freelance Designer (Self-employed)
- Clore Leadership Programme
- Enterprise City High Growth Programme
- The University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham
Oaklands College, St. Albans
16 people have recommended Stef
Playfully hacking on things that matter.
I'm a designer, software developer and startup person. My work focusses on playful approaches to technology and its cultural, social and political applications. I think of my approach as "sketching with code", and I write about it at http://sketchingwithcode.com
I'm one of the founders of Makeshift (http://makeshift.io), along with designer Nick Marsh and experienced entrepreneur Paul Birch. We've set up a small digital product company where we're building a series of useful web/mobile/tech products aimed at 'giving a leg up to the little guy'.
Prior to Makeshift, I co-founded Aframe, a cloud-based video production platform, as the technical founder, helped grow the company from two to over thirty staff, saw it through $10m of private investment and on to expansion in North America.
Prior to that I undertook a Clore Leadership Fellowship, sponsored by the Cultural Leadership Programme, having previously been more-or-less simultaneously involved in a boutique web agency (3form), a record label (Type), a creative industries membership organisation (Creative Republic), and a number of experimental startup projects and festivals.
Day-to-day I use Ruby/HTML5/etc. for code, Illustrator for design, and agile processes for the startup approach. Think "Hack, Play, Learn" leading on to "Build, Measure, Learn".
In my spare time you'll find me drawing monsters, making datanecklaces, taking photographs, doing hack days and thinking about what's next.
Privately Held; 1-10 employees; Internet industry
January 2013 – Present (5 months) London
The logical progression from "hack, play, learn" is a new digital product design company.
With Paul Birch and Nick Marsh I'm going to be building software that 'gives a leg up to the little guy'.
April 2012 – Present (1 year 2 months) London
After leaving my previous startup I wanted to do lots of little collaborations with others for a while, so I made a tiny company to trade under.
Over a fun few months I focussed on "getting good at getting fast" and "hack, play, learn", which led to an opportunity to build something more developed using those ideas - that's going to be Makeshift.
Hacker in Residence
July 2012 – December 2012 (6 months) Eigg, Scotland
For the Autumn of 2012 I will be a resident technologist on the beautiful (if blustery) Scottish Inner-Hebridean island of Eigg.
During that time I'll be working with Eigg Box, a planned creative and cultural hub for the island, to collaborate with island residents, hack stuff, make things, inspire, play and learn.
It's part of Sync's Geek in Residence programme and fits well with my research into Hacker Culture / Cultural Hacking that I'm doing at http://sketchingwithcode.com for Nesta and Clore.
Hacker in Residence
Nonprofit; 201-500 employees; Fund-Raising industry
September 2012 – November 2012 (3 months) London, United Kingdom
I'm spending two months working with Sidekick School and Comic Relief on rapidly developing a set of experimental year-round digital fundraising products developed.
Six products. One week per product to take an idea from a sketch to something that people can use. Kind of like a series of hack-days, with a couple of days either side of each hack for learning, testing and business case development.
We're trying out the idea of having a "lab" inside Comic Relief, and crucially we have a silly name: The Comic Relief Exploralaboratorium.
Chief Innovation Officer and Co-founder
Privately Held; 11-50 employees; Broadcast Media industry
April 2009 – April 2012 (3 years 1 month) London, United Kingdom
Aframe is a collaborative video platform for professional TV, video and film-makers that takes away a lot of the pain of working digitally.
I co-founded the company and helped grow it from 2 to 36 people, raising $10m of finance in the process.
I lead an agile team of talented developers to build a set of products and services, including our own web-based asset management platform, distributed transcode and ingest system, team collaboration tools, rapid metadata annotation apps, desktop application, Avid and Final Cut integration, and lots more.
Privately Held; 1-10 employees; Online Media industry
January 2009 – December 2010 (2 years) Birmingham, United Kingdom
One of the first investments for Channel 4's innovation fund 4IP, Help Me Investigate is a website for people to ask difficult questions that they can't get answered elsewhere and collaborate with other people in their local community to answer them. Eg. "Why was the tree outside my house cut down?" or "What was the £400,000 of regeneration funding for my area actually spent on?"
March 2008 – May 2010 (2 years 3 months) Birmingham, United Kingdom
An attempt to build a social networking and digital toolbox for dads. Built a wonderful little site for involved dads, only to find that what most dads really wanted was a shop and a forum about what to buy for their kids in the shop.
Educational Institution; 201-500 employees; Primary/Secondary Education industry
December 2006 – November 2009 (3 years) Birmingham, United Kingdom
School governor of St. George's School - Birmingham’s first fully co-educational independent day school for ages 2½ to 18 years.
Co-founder - Creative Director, then Managing Director
May 2001 – March 2009 (7 years 11 months) Birmingham, United Kingdom
An award-winning digital creative agency I set up with Antonio Gould. Originally 3form started as a brand for freelancing as a designer, doing VJ shows (with VHS tapes!), animation, illustration, branding. After leaving WebXpress we founded a company and built a reputation for doing good quality web projects. We got our big break when we were commissioned to build Vivienne Westwood's site from the ground up, so with Antonio using our own hand-rolled PHP CMS that we'd developed together, and me on design we started a boutique little agency out of the back room of the house we were sharing with a bunch of our friends.
Soon came clients like Mars, Sprite, Kitekat, as well as cultural / creative industries clients like the V&A, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and First Light Movies. For the latter we won a Webby and along the way we picked up a clutch of business and creative awards.
By 2008 though, I'd become abstracted from the actual creative process. I was young and I found myself running an agency, dealing with contracts, having meetings and it turned into "feeding the beast" rather than "being in flow".
I wanted to try my hand at a more product-based approach, so I slowly and gently wound down the activities of the company and undertook the Clore programme. Through that experience I found that my instincts were correct and that I wanted to really follow the "startup" path rather than the "agency" path. I've not looked back since, except to be proud of what our small, talented little team achieved!
June 1999 – May 2001 (2 years)
Whilst at WebXpress I was responsible for all visual output of the company. I joined the small team which quickly grew to a full-time staff of eight, quadrupling turnover in the time that I was there. It was later sold to WAA so it's no longer online.
- May 2012 to Present
With a small amount of funding from NESTA and the Clore Leadership Programme I am researching "cultural hacking and hacker culture" ahead of a publication at the end of 2012.
- June 2012 to Present
I am undertaking a residency on the island of Eigg in Scotland, where I'll be collaborating with artists to build "something yet to be decided".
- September 2012 to Present
A beautiful, wearable visualisation of your tweets.
- April 2012 to Present
Shoot, share and discover instant edits.
BMX and skate camera app for iOS and web app for viewing seamlessly cut multi-camera sports videos.
- March 2012 to June 2012
A new way to give to charity each month with your circle of friends.
Pick a fixed monthly amount to give to charity, and easily slice it up into a pie chart of charities. Add a charity in a couple of clicks.
Delegate some of your giving to your friends so you give to whatever charities they give.
- August 2012 to Present
Use Dropbox to create and manage a small website
Honors and Awards
Best Title SequenceNASTA
Gold Award: Best Non-Profit Organisation WebsiteWorld Media Festival Hamburg 2001
Creative City Award for Outstanding InnovationBirmingham Creative City Awards
Best Start-UpMustard, Birmingham
Shortlisted - Entrepreneur of the Year in BirminghamArena Magazine / O2
Champion of IndustryMustard
Slightly ridiculous title, but nice to be recognised in a 1% of high growth companies in the West Midlands category.
Channel 4 Creative ClassChannel 4
Birmingham Young Professional of the YearBirmingham Future
Birmingham Small Business of the YearBirmingham Creative City
Alumnus of the YearBirmingham University
Digital PioneerBritish Council
Finalist - User Generated ContentRoyal Television Society Innovation Awards
Guardian MEGA for Best Independent Blog (Joint)Guardian MEGAs
Webby AwardThe Webbys
For the First Light Movies website. Also picked up two honoree certificates in the web-art category.
Courvoisier Future 500 - Top 5CVTF500
And at the party I met my soon-to-be co-founder of Aframe!
Finalist - Disruptive Technology MEGAGuardian MEGAs
Bully Award - Young BullWhite Bull Summit
Best Creative Staff EngagementBusiness to Arts
- September 2012
With Accenture & Boz Temple Morris for the ‘Festival of Ideas’
Skills & Expertise
Clore Leadership Programme
Fellow, Cultural and Creative Leadership
2008 – 2010
Enterprise City High Growth Programme
2008 – 2009
The University of Birmingham
Alumnus of the Year
2006 – 2006
The University of Birmingham
BSc, Computer Science / Software Engineering
1996 – 1999
My main interest was in artificial intelligence, so I chose AI options where possible.
Activities and Societies: BubbleUp!, Robots in Disguise
Oaklands College, St. Albans
International Baccalaureate, -
1994 – 1996
Photography (one day I'll do an exhibition), music (mainly listening, but I DJ occasionally), new technology, hill walking, snowboarding, art, film.
- Groups and Associations:
Birmingham University Court, Birmingham University School of Computer Science Natural Computation Industrial Advisory Board, British Humanist Association, PAST: Digital Central Interactive Steering Group, Digital Central Steering Group, Department for Culture Media and Sport Creative Economy Programme Working Group - Access to Finance for the Creative Industries 2006, Advisor on NESTA Creative Pioneers Programme 2006, Mentor on the Boost Scheme with Hi8us