Softwire Blog


Fundraising at Softwire


22 December 2016, by

Megaphone Kearns
Check out all the awesome fundraising events we’ve held in the last 2 months!

RockStock

We happen to have lots of amazingly talented musicians here at Softwire, and this year our top lead guitarist Harry organised our popular Charity RockStock in aid of mental health charity Mind, and WarChild, a charity based right next door to us in Kentish Town who are doing fantastic work protecting the rights of children caught up in war. We had a blast and raised nearly £600, which was doubled for a total of £1200 under Softwire’s generous charity matching scheme!

Quiz

As usual, our resident quizmaster and commercial director Tom wrote and hosted our annual quiz in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières. As a result of his reputation for setting really fun and interesting quizzes, his persistent marketing campaign in the weeks leading up to the event, and his glamorous assistant Lachlan’s raffle-ticket-selling skills, we raised a whopping £4,850 for MSF after Softwire’s doubling.

The Great Softwire Bake-Off

Phil & MikeOur kitchen team Helen, Dom and Massimo have been hosting regular Charity Breakfast Clubs for Refuge. This month they put on something extra special – to help us through Bake-Off withdrawal the week after the final, they hosted a lavish bake-off with plenty of cake, tea and cocktails for bakers and non-bakers alike. We had lots of stunning entries from various Softwirians an impressive chequerboard  cake, mille-feuille, and a gingerbread house beautifully decorated by our director Dan’s two children. Star Baker went to James with his delicious fruity sponge cake. With Softwire’s matching, we raised a total of £1,400.

Charity Saturday

We’ve been holding regular Charity Saturdays since our founding director Dan came up with the brilliant idea three years ago. It’s a day in which we all come into the office to do what we do best – a normal day’s work – and Softwire donates all the money earned by the company that day to charity. It’s incredibly efficient and is by far our most successful fundraising event each year. We raised nearly £11,000 in just one day! The money went to our usual favourites – SCI, Ashanti Development, Home-Start UK and Giving What We Can.

Christmas Jumper Day

To round off the year, we showed off our silliest Christmas jumpers for Save the Children during our annual Christmas pub lunch, and raised another £145.

We’ve raised over £18k in the last two months, for a year-end grand total of over £30k, and we’ve had lots of fun doing it too!

Softwire uprising!


15 November 2016, by

First day at a new job is not all that hard to imagine. Most of it is what you would expect: a bit of admin work, introduction to the new team and the wider company, setting up your workstation, kicking off with a few training exercises. But on my first day, between emails with links to handy materials and those telling me about welcome drinks, I found something I would have never guessed would be there: an invitation to a sword-fighting event. …what? Feeling as if I was back at the University Freshers’ Fair again, I obviously signed up straight away.

And I was right to! Who wouldn’t want to look like this for a few hours?!

Swordfighting 1

But I’m getting ahead of myself – can you tell I’m excited? Back to the beginning though. What is actually going on?

It’s really quite simple: Softwire has a morale scheme designed to bring ideas like this to life. Anyone can come up with one, get it organised and Softwire will cover or subsidize it. Moreover, each employee gets a yearly allowance of holidays solely to be spent on such activities and outings. In the past those have included theatre plays, climbing and laser tag, etc.

Now, sword-fighting. …what? Yeah, “…what?” pretty much describes all of my initial attempts at figuring out what this will be. It hasn’t really cleared up all that much until the day of the event (one of the them, as the interest was so high that this happened twice!), when a bunch of us got up from our desks half-way through the day, grabbed weapons provided by our about-to-be-teacher and set off to parade down through the streets to the nearby Hampstead Heath. There, we were given a quick introduction and soon enough were whacking each other with the newly obtained items of friendly destruction.

The weapons themselves were a very surprising combination of softness, making them completely safe and sturdiness, allowing proper fencing work. Plus, they were realistically looking to boot! We had swords, daggers, shields of different sizes, batons, maces, axes, spears and, best of all, complete freedom to mix-and-match and try out whatever we liked. This meant we learnt the basics of actual fencing (much as would be done with real weapons); we could go all out without worrying we’ll hurt each other; and we looked AWESOME doing it! But don’t take my word for it:

Swordfighting 2

Swordfighting 3

The event itself consisted of a series of different games, some promoting teamwork and cooperation, others more focused on the individual skills. Amongst them we’ve played weapon-equipped variations of British Bulldog and tag, as well as a re-enactment of the Battle of Thermopylae (with rather devastating results for “Team Greeks”).

Swordfighting 4

One of the best things about this event was that it was joined by people from across company; “newbies” like myself, directors, seasoned employees and managers all alike, all equally tired and happy at the end of the games, yearning for more! It was a great chance to get to know everyone better and well, from a perspective one doesn’t get to see in the office. Surely, some people were hooked on more than others; some have done it before, others, myself included, will try to do it again, but at the same time I’m super excited about the next thing that Softwire will surprise me with!

Speed Coding 2016 – Q4 Solution


3 August 2016, by

This post explains the solutions to Question 4 of our speed coding 2016 competition. If you haven’t yet read the question, head back and have a go now.

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Speed Coding 2016 – Q3 Solution


27 July 2016, by

This post explains the solutions to Question 3 of our speed coding 2016 competition. If you haven’t yet read the question, head back and have a go now.

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Speed Coding 2016 – Q2 Solution


20 July 2016, by

This post explains the solutions to Question 2 of our speed coding 2016 competition. If you haven’t yet read the question, head back and have a go now.

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Speed Coding 2016 – Q1 Solution


13 July 2016, by

This post explains the solutions to Question 1 of our speed coding 2016 competition. If you haven’t yet read the question, head back and have a go now.

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Speed Coding 2016 – Q4


6 July 2016, by

Here’s the 4th and final question from our last speed coding competition. This is a long and tricky one, so make sure you’ve put some time aside if you’re planning to try and solve it.

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Softwire does Swing Dance


6 June 2016, by

At Softwire the staff are introduced to a lot of interesting new activities, and Thursday 14th April was no exception as Softwire London’s Chillout was transformed into a swinging dance floor from the 1920’s!

Staff donned their glad rags, rock-stepped and shuffled to their first swing dance lesson, provided by the Mudflappers’ teacher Olly. The class was aimed at complete beginners and the hope was to provide people enough simple moves they can string together to make a number to any swing song. Some of the class were lucky enough to have done a fair amount of partner dancing before; like Suzanne who does West Coast Swing every week, and Dom who has been to the Bristol swing dance festival a couple of times!

After a funky warm up which had everyone groove stepping around the room and waggling their hands over their heads, the group partnered up and learnt about 6 and 8 beat steps. Swing, and in this case ‘lindy-hop’, is in 32 beat phrases; this means you need to select the right number of 6 and 8 beat moves to finish with the end of a phrase. Olly armed everyone with a 6 beat basic (twice), a tuck turn, a bring back and then a fancy finish called ‘Johnny’s Drop’ to which the group responded with great enthusiasm and abandon.

Swing dancing, like salsa and tango, is a ‘led dance’ which means the class split into leads and follows. Traditionally this is split along gender lines, in true Softwire fashion everyone got a go at both roles. This created the occasional interesting pairings like Dom 5’5” leading Alex 6’7” in some pretty spectacular twirls!

Everyone involved had a great time and have decided to head along to Olly’s normal lesson, in Dalston, in the coming weeks.

IMG_1878 (002)swing

Speed Coding 2016 – Q3


20 April 2016, by

Here’s the third of our speed coding questions.

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Speed Coding 2016 – Q2


13 April 2016, by

Here’s question 2 from our recent speed coding competition. See how quickly you can solve it.

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