When Matt Powlson’s job as an RAF aircraft engineering officer took him away from his family, he still wanted to read his three-year-old daughter Libby a bedtime story.
From that paternal desire, an entire business has developed. Matt set about writing a programme for a digital picture book. Every time his daughter turned a page, his pre-recorded voiceover would read the words. So began a series of interactive children’s book apps, with Matt quickly forging links with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
The renaissance man was still with the RAF at the time, but having left the Forces in October, he is now running his business BlueWorks from Regency House in Wood Street.
It marks quite a change of lifestyle – and environment – for the electronic engineering graduate. He spent 20 years in the RAF working in Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and Kuwait. His final four years were in Ohio.
When he left the air force in October and made a trip to Bath’s Christmas Market, he reached the decision that Bath was where he wanted to base his business.
“I fell back in love with the city and things just started to fall into place,” he said. “Since then, with the Bath Digital Festival and the X Media Lab taking place in March, I’ve met some great people in the city who are all digital innovators. The creative mood in Bath is so strong.
In January, he found an office on a Thursday, founded the firm on the Friday, and started work the following Monday.
His main focus now is the We-Reader, an app that enables multiple people to comment on the same text in an interactive way – with the author also being able to interact.
“It allows you to have a reading group all the time – with the author in the room,” explained Matt. “It’s potentially a global community for sharing thoughts.”