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Our 2023 Gift

The Shashibo cube is a different kind of toy. Creativity and Innovation are at the core of Softeq, so this gift lets people explore and be creative. It's more than just a toy. It's like software in a way…it's a complex, adaptive, and infinitely flexible puzzle. One can create different outcomes and turn it into a form that suits your personal choice. Then work on the challenge of returning it to it's most simple cube form. We hope you enjoy our 2023 gift.

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Christopher A. Howard



Christopher A. Howard

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Every year at Softeq, we enjoy coming up with a unique Christmas gift for our clients. Given that innovation is one of our core cultural company values, it can’t be something standard or off the shelf. We can’t just send a flat 2D Christmas for the past 26 years the Softeq Christmas card has been a 3D pop-up card. This year’s 3D card is a cuckoo clock. I love to collect unusual watches and clocks and I have a minimalist modern cuckoo clock in my home office and I have it set so the cuckoo reminds me five minutes before the top of the hour, when most meetings should be ending.


Our 2023 3D Christmas Card

Our Christmas gift is an opportunity for me to get a little creative, dabble in some artwork (our marketing team does most of it), write some poetry for the card in the box, and sometimes do some programming. This year I created the poem artwork using Midjourney, an AI art tool.


Part of the fun and challenge of our gift is creating something that’s different or interesting while staying below the gifting requirements of most businesses. I love puzzles and this is definitely a puzzle to solve. Over the years, we’ve given Thinking Putty, Kinetic Sand, magnetic Bucky Cubes, a wooden Soma puzzle cube, a Bluetooth-enabled Sphero ball, a programmable Arduino credit-card-sized game, a remote-controlled Hexapod robot, a 3D puzzle sphere, a cribbage travel board with a custom set of programming themed cards, and many more. All of them are branded with the Softeq logo in some creative way. Sometimes they are electronic and high-tech, and sometimes they are low-tech and puzzle oriented.


A collection of some of our past Softeq Christmas Gifts

I love gadgets and puzzles, and for inspiration, we start by looking at whatever new gadgets I’ve added to my desktop collection over the past year. We also think back to the ideas we had in previous years that were runners-up and perhaps make better sense this year, either due to cost or timing, or theme.

Whatever the gift, it has to reflect Softeq's brand and value in some way. For example, our cribbage board couldn’t just come with a standard set of cards. Ours had to have programming on them and with executable code in 13 languages, including an obfuscated programming language called Befunge. Read more about that in our 2020 Christmas Blog post.

Last year we gave a Kalimba, or Thumb Piano. Why? When IBM was hiring programmers in the early days of computers (the 1960’s) almost no one was trained in computer programming. There were no Computer Science majors in those days, so they hired musicians and trained them to code. This makes a lot of sense, as musicians were already familiar with taking something akin to “source code,” the musical notes encoded in a song, and “compiling” that into a working program...the song. Over the years, I’ve noticed a high correlation between musicians and programmers. Learn more about the Kalimba and inspiration behind it in our 2022 Christmas Blog Post.


My desk is the inspiration for many of our gifts

Our long-term clients now look forward to this gift each year and even collect them. Some keep them on their desks as a desktop gadget, and others bring them home to their kids. Adults and kids alike should get at least one fun toy for Christmas! If it brings a smile to someone’s face, we’ve succeeded.

This year our gift is a Shashibo Cube. It reminds me of the Great Dodecahedron that my 3rd grade teacher Mr. Brilliant taught me to make. Yes, that was his actual name...isn't that a cool name for a teacher? Shout out to Mr. Brilliant for not treating me like a 3rd grader and inspiring me to learn more about geometry.

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Chris with his teacher Mr. Brilliant

Once you draw the pattern with a compass and straight edge on some tag board, you can cut it out, fold it, and glue it into a globe...where every point you look at is a five pointed star.

Great Dodecahedron Pattern

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Unlike the tag board Great Dodecahedron, the geometric triangles of the Shashibo Cube can be formed into more than 70 shapes. This reminds me of the ways software can be used to form an infinite number of solutions. Software is complex and is an unlimited toolkit for innovation. I always wanted to be an inventor and early on I realized software was the way I could to accomplish that. Innovation is one of our five primary values at Softeq.

Advances in neuroscience show that every person has the ability to be creative. A study by the University of Graz, Austria, identified the exact area of the brain — the left inferior parietal cortex — which is involved in the creation of new ideas. Our brains are at their most innovative when they are resting. Tiny moments of creativity can have a huge impact on your work. Use the Shashibo Cube to take a moment to relax and play and allow the spark of creativity time to appear.

We hope you enjoy playing the Shashibo Cube, and we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!


Christmas Greetings from Our CEO

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