Front-end developer Matt is the newer half of our dev and digital team. Self-taught and well-coiffed, Matt’s got a tan we’re not entirely sure is natural, considering the number of hours he spends slaving over a hot Mac…
What’s your story? What brought you to AHOY and where were you before?
I moved to Manchester about a year ago now, from Leeds, and carried on working remotely with the agency I’d been working with there. I started to feel like I needed a bit of a change of scene, so I started looking at agencies around here—AHOY really caught my eye. I browsed through a lot of agencies—there are loads in Manchester— but AHOY was the one that stood out.
How so? What made AHOY stand out from the rest?
Just the design, the effort they’d gone to on the website, and the kind of work had been produced—the look and feel of everything, it felt like something I wanted to get involved with. I also liked the fact that the whole team is featured on the site—that’s something not a lot of agencies do; there’s always an “about us” page but it’s generally just one or two people—it was nice to see everybody I’d potentially be working with. It really jumped out at me, so I got in touch. Three weeks later, it was all sorted!
What does a typical day at AHOY look like for you?
My work can be fairly consistent when I’m working on a single project but then I start something new and it’s all change. And even when it’s all one project, I do lots of different things. I use every project as an opportunity to try and create code that’s as good as possible: reusable and modular, basically future-proof. I’m trying to think about how I’d normally do something then trying to improve it.
What does good front end development look like to you?
Kind of what I talked about there actually: something that is modular and flexible enough to be reused without much effort—something replicable. Obviously every project is bespoke, but being able to write code that can be applied to something else without much effort saves a lot of time.
How’s Chris been to learn from?
Really good. He’s pointed me in the right direction on a number of occasions, and helped me narrow my search a lot. Chris is amazing at juggling projects—people can drop stuff on him at any time and he manages it brilliantly.
Describe yourself at work in three words
Quiet, aspirational, however airy-fairy that sounds, and…enthusiastic.
And what about at home?
Relaxed, lazy, and…active? I like to do stuff…when I’m not being lazy!
If someone’s wondering whether AHOY’s going to be the right agency for them, what would you say?
Purely from my own experience of looking at AHOY’s work from an outsider’s perspective and wanting to be involved, I think we’re spot on if the project is design focused and needs to be attractive and engaging from the word go. I’ve been impressed with the sheer amount of work coming into the agency: everything ticks over nicely, no one’s stressed. For a relatively small agency, and to look at how calm the staff are, you wouldn’t think there was so much work going on. Our size is a plus too: we’re quite a personable agency. It’s nice for clients to really get to know the people involved in their projects, and that’s doable here.
Who would you say we’re not a good fit for?
The clients we’ve got are so varied that it’s hard to say. We’ve done everything from large scale e-commerce sites to small WordPress sites and emails, so I guess the only businesses I’d say we wouldn’t suit are those needing really huge teams of designers and developers.
What’s the best bit of your job?
The fact that it changes so often and so quickly. There are times when I’ve gone on holiday for two weeks and come back to major changes in technology. It’s nice to be in an industry where that happens—things are always happening right now. That sometimes makes it difficult, because it’s hard to pick out the developments that are 1) going to be around in a year’s time and 2) going to work the way you need them to. It’s great, because you never stop learning, but it’s also kind of why I like to be a bit lazy at home—it’s quite full on!
Where can you be found when you’re not here at AHOY?
I live in town, so there’s always something to go and see or do. I play squash quite a lot, and I swim. On the weekend, I try to do as much as I can really: I go walking in the Lakes and the Peak District, and I travel a lot. The last trip was Venice—I got a boat with some friends and sailed around for a week—then I’m off to France in two weeks, America in October, and maybe some weekends away in between. And then, sometimes, I just stay home and learn stuff!
Tell us something about yourself people might be surprised by.
I hate these questions—I don’t feel like a very interesting person! The thing I always refer back to was when I was a baby, I was born with an usually large head. I have pictures at home and it was shockingly large, but I’ve grown into it obviously…
Any final words?
That wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be!