The PixelStix Story
[mural by @belin_official]
“I’ll never forget the conversation I had with James in September of 2017 when I had just heard the news that Apple was opening their NFC hardware on their phones to 3rd party software vendors. I was in an AirBnB in Salt Lake City, Utah working for a client when the news hit the wire. We crafted in that short phone call the outline of a proof of concept that would eventually take us on a journey that is still happening today!” – Matthew Walker, CEO & Founder, PixelStix
Taming the internet is no small task, but finding ways to do just that have been the foundational vision of PixelStix since day one. There is so much information online that it’s incredibly easy to get distracted while trying to access valuable content.
PixelStix strives to find that balance between being present in a meaningful moment, while also augmenting that moment with meaningful digital content. Our goal and vision is to create an alternative online experience where pictures, videos, and memories that live online are made available as needed to augment real-world experiences rather than distract from them.
Taming the internet hasn’t seemed possible because there has never been an option for the way we access content online. We are accustomed to putting things on the internet rather than putting the internet on things. Now that PixelStix makes that possible, it won’t be long before the world forgets how the internet worked without it.
The PixelStix story began with a cross-country family road trip from Florida to Oregon. We wanted to see the country, visit all of the National Parks we could along the way, and capture invaluable memories. We took a ton of pictures and videos. After our journey we developed our favorite pictures from the trip, went to visit my Mom, and make a photo album to document this epic adventure. The photo album we created went everywhere with us for months; we used it to share with our loved ones the amazing journey we had taken. One major glimpse into the trip was missing, though. We couldn’t share our videos in the photo album we created and they were difficult to find. They were either buried with tons of other content, had to be retrieved from some social media thread or were lost all together once a phone died, which unfortunately happened.
Our ‘lighting in a bottle’ moment happened when Apple announced in September of 2017 that 3rd party software was going to be allowed to access NFC hardware on their devices. Being able to build a technology stack around NFC was the exact technology opportunity needed to make PixelStix a reality. We could place small computerized stickers in the photo album that we created from our travels, and the stickers could hold the video memories from our phones. We still have that first photo album that sparked the idea that birthed PixelStix. The photo album is a family heirloom at this point, and we still happily show it to people, now with all the video memories from our cross-country adventures forever alongside the trip pictures.
The vision behind PixelStix was never about murals and street art. Our work in these areas and the innovation we are bringing is a direct result of our community having a ton of both. We live in an artistically driven community that touches our city in very deep and meaningful ways. Once we created the ability to attach content to buildings, painted walls, moving cars – really anything – it just became a solution to solving a common problem with street art and mural art – who made this and what is the story behind this art?
Matthew Walker has been a solutions architect for over 20 years with contributions in Telcom, Healthcare as well as playing a leadership role in a variety of startups. His latest work has been creating solutions to the human experience in an online world using the same tools and strategies used to solve business problems throughout his career.
James Tice is PixelStix’s co-creator and has been engineering solutions and applications on the internet since the late 2000s. James has contributed to both Facilities Monitoring and Healthcare industries as well as contributing to the successes of many smaller organizations and startups.
Chris Jenkins has become a recognized authority on both emerging technology and its impact on culture at large. His technical research and editorials have been published around the world in both print and on the web, and he is a frequent keynote speaker. He mentors idea stage startups, and acts as a web technology consultant.