My Week: Jeff Coghlan of Matmi

The gaming entrepreneur on flea-ridden hotel rooms, Pink Floyd and making games for Iron Maiden.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
Being based in Macclesfield, it was nice to spend a couple of days in London last week for various awards ceremonies. The first was Corporate Communications magazine’s DigiAwards 2010 on Tuesday, where we won the best specialist digital agency award. The great thing about that event was it was at the Battersea Power Station – and seeing as I’m a long-time Pink Floyd fan, it’s an iconic building for me. We stayed in a hotel overnight, although I didn’t get much sleep because my hotel room was disgraceful, despite being quite pricey – there were even fleas in the bed.

We won a couple of other awards last week too. On Thursday we went to the British Business Boost awards where we won the overall prize – a package worth £50,000. It was probably my favourite of the three - mainly because it was more than a piece of plastic and an ego stroke. It also means that people have woken up to what we actually do. Formally, we’re a ‘branded entertainment and digital engagement specialist’. So what that means in practice is that we make advertising fun. So we’ll design and build a game for a big brand, which millions of users then engage with, building loyalty. The game we built for Comic Relief, for example, has had 44m users, and an average playtime of 8 minutes. No other form of advertising can reach that sort of audience. We did loads of band stuff last year too, including one for Iron Maiden and Lily Allen.

Needless to say, by the time it got to the weekend, I was ready to catch up on some sleep. I was planning a big night out on Friday to get very drunk and celebrate but I was so knackered, I was actually in bed before 1am. I spent the rest of the weekend relaxing in my garden. I’m actually a keen gardener. I like creating and growing things, so I have been growing all my own vegetables for the last three years. After working with all this technology, I need a bit of nature.

We were back in the office this week. We’re just planning a big project which I can’t really talk about right now, but we’re hoping it will revolutionise social gaming in the music industry. I don’t actually do any of the development any more. I come up with a lot of the ideas, and then the team put things together. It’s a melting pot of creativity here at Matmi - it isn’t one person telling other people what to do, we all have a lot of ideas together. We’ll meet regularly with staff, not just to talk about particular projects, but also just to talk about how Matmi’s going in general. We’ll talk about what we’re planning for the future, and about any new technology anybody’s seen. A lot of the people who work for us are very geeky, so they plan a lot of stuff in their spare time and come back with ideas too.  

We have a big social scene as well – we’ll all go out for drinks on a Friday. The office is literally opposite a bar, which can be slightly dangerous. I used to burn the candle at both ends but as I’ve been getting older I find it hard to have as much of a social life as I once had. It’s important to have some downtime though, otherwise I lose all of my creativity. I like going camping a lot, and going for walks in the wilderness. I’m also a massive music fan. And occasionally, although nowhere near as much as I used to, I play games. But even I get sick of games after a while.

Jeff Coghlan is the founder and creative director of Matmi, a digital promotions company.

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