When we were approached last month to be one of the pioneers of the new top level domain for London, we were pretty excited. After all, at TechHub we started in London, and we�re always telling people what a great city it is for entrepreneurs. And how often do you get to be the first person to move into a cool new bit of internet real estate?
We had lots of ideas about what we could do with the new website - at one point, we were planning to allow people to turn on and off the lights in our Old Street office via some kind of twitter integration.
In the end though, we decided that we wanted it to echo the same values that TechHub stands for - community, collaboration and innovation. We wanted it to be a resource for tech entrepreneurs in London, in the same way that the events we run are. We know that a lot of tech entrepreneurs are new to London, so we decided to create a crowdsourced website of recommendations for Tech entrepreneurs in the local area.
The only problem was that .London was soon to launch, and we didn�t have much time if we wanted to be a pioneer and keep to our other deadlines. We understand Lean here as well as most people, but two weeks to get a collaborative community website out with only one front end developer, an intern and a product manager? That�s pretty tight even for us, especially since we had a lot of other stuff going on.
Then, we had a brainwave. We have a great community of entrepreneurs here at TechHub, and they are all pretty tech savvy. What if we put up a website, and allowed people to edit it from the code itself? We could let people change anything they wanted on the website -the style, the look - it could all be up for grabs. Suddenly, it all came together - we would open source all of the code for the pages on GitHub, and allow people to add their favourite places to the website, along with any pictures or improvements they wanted to make.
Our amazingly talented front end developer, Mattia Asti, came up with the design of the pages, which we love, and the TechHub team of local experts provided the initial content. Kudos goes to Andrew and Ilhaam for their great recommendations, especially for the food and drink pages, and to the TechHub Beer and Beta crew for giving some good feedback on the website.
One of the things that we were concerned about was making the project as easy to contribute to as possible. We really believe in open source, but making that first step into contributing to an open source project for the first time can be really daunting, especially since the documentation and rules around projects can be incomplete and labyrinthine.
We wanted our site to be an easy first step into open source. All you need to be able to do code-wise is to understand some basic HTML, and you can add in a link. I hope our documentation is easy enough to understand that even the OS beginners can give contributing to the project a go. Of course, if you think it isn�t, you�re welcome to add an issue or change it via our GitHub page!
We hope you enjoy using the site, and think of contributing or adding an issue to the queue if you have anything to add, or something you think we�re missing out on. Oh, and that you go and enjoy exploring the places on TechHub.London!