Recently, I went to the west coast of the US - always an inspiring place to be if you're into technology. The second half of my trip was the final meeting on our voting machine project with IDEO and LA County - more on that here - but the first half was to visit our new colleagues, the Synapse team in San Francisco. Having been told that they were "just like us, only a little bit cooler", I was ready for a bit of a transatlantic talent contest - even if it was only in my head! Synapse took an early lead - their office looks way cooler than ours, although I recognised the Nerf guns and espresso machines as staples on either side of the pond. Then they've got a showcase that includes some of the amazing work they've done with Valve - I had a little fanboy moment and that made it two-nil to Synapse. Then we had a chat about the voting project we'd been working on, that's one for us, but Synapse hit back with a confidential project that was truly awesome - but that's OK, I've got one of those too. 3-2, all to play for. We talked about what makes our companies special - and I was amazed at how many of the values they mentioned were common across our two cultures. Now we got into my favourite subject of robotics and automation, and some potential projects in the area of machine vision - one of the things we're hoping to do with Synapse is work with them on projects where the market area is new to them, but the skills we need are ones they bring to the table. So it was looking like a draw in the awesomeness stakes, but then on our way out for lunch in the SF sunshine, I got a message from home with picture of the rain in the UK, and I think that's another point to them.

So yeah, I had to reluctantly conclude that it was true, they are a bit cooler than us - but more importantly, they're also just like us, and I can't wait to do more work with them. Thanks for looking after us guys!

Chris Roberts

I'm a Senior Consultant working on a huge range of fields, from Wifi and microprocessors, to literal fields for precision agriculture. I enjoy working with innovative technology, solving hard problems and communicating complex technical ideas to anyone who'll listen.