Do you ever feel as though if you want to get anything done properly you may as well do it yourself? It seems to be a constant state that I’m in. Most people would be content moving to a new city and forcing themselves into a social group, or activity, that they didn’t really like in order to have some kind of a social life. Not one for doing things in a half arsed manner, this obviously isn’t and wasn’t the choice for me. Backtracking 7/8 months; I moved to Brighton at the end of September. After finishing University and spending the summer months working on TinyGrab and searching high and low for a job, I had the promise of a fresh start in a city that I’d fallen in love with over the previous year. The problem with working in the web industry is that you have no real grasp of geographical boundaries or constraints. You turn on a computer and all of your friends are seemingly there. Your work is accessible at a moments notice and you’re content. When I started my new job at Kineo at the start of October I was busying myself with finding a flat to live, at the time I was staying with family just outside of Brighton and commuting every single day. When I eventually found a flat to live in and people to live with, I then concentrated on getting TinyGrab 2.0 ready to launch. Things slipped, they didn’t go to plan and within 3 months of starting work in Brighton for Kineo I was let go. Initially I wasn’t phased and continued to work even harder on my TinyGrab work; trying all that I could to make it a success. For 3/4 months I got by working every day on TinyGrab and getting the ball rolling for what would later become Pitchie. There was only one problem, my lack of a social life.
My poor real life lack of social interactions only became completely apparent to me recently. It was only when my business partner moved to Brighton, to work out of the Pitchie office with me, did I start to realise how much of a social recluse I’d become. Please don’t get the wrong impression here, I was quite content with my ‘virtual’ social life; or so I thought. The problem that I faced is that I’d spent so long finding a place to live, losing my job, working on TinyGrab, setting up Pitchie, that I hadn’t actually noticed that I didn’t have an active real world social life. I started to ponder why this was and then it hit me. It’s not that I have a lack of social interactions, barely a week goes by when I’m not at some tech event with beer and pizza, it’s that I don’t have any boundaries on geographical location. I spend half of my time travelling up and down the country going to these events where I have friends, making social interactions, that I didn’t notice that here in Brighton things are actually quite lonely.
My partner moving down to Brighton gave me the kick up the arse that I needed. It made me realise how small my social circle is in the city that I lived in. I started looking around for mutual interest groups and was incredibly shocked to discover that in one of the most open cities in the country, one with such a creative flare and history, there weren’t any groups of creatives who weren’t under the age of 30. I’m not talking a quick afternoon of Googling here, I’m talking three active weeks of hard core searching, phone calls, foot work, everything that I could think of. It’s quite upsetting that in a city of two Universities there isn’t a regular meetup where creatives of a similar age can get together, socialise, form working partnerships and exchange brilliant ideas.
“Silicon Beach”; it’s a name that is incredibly cheesy and I almost hate myself for saying it, but it’s the new name given for a new social group and regular meetup in Brighton for creatives aged under 30. As I said at the start of this post, if you want something done properly just do it yourself. On Thursday June 9th at 1730 at Marwood Café, in Brighton, the first ever Silicon Beach meetup will take place. Sure initially it’ll only be a small group, made up mostly of the creative friends that I already have in Brighton, but the dream is that over time it will grow. I’ve already had a few interesting plans to help grow the group’s numbers and encourage social interaction in Brighton’s creatives under 30, these will all be revealed in due course.
Silicon Beach is open to anyone under 30 years of age who can attend the meetups in Brighton and has any kind of creative flare. I’m wary of defining anything yet, I don’t want to exclude from an already small group. Whether someone is creative digitally, online, theatrically, or with a paint brush, it doesn’t matter; I encourage you to join us and come along. Details about the group can be found on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_100668096692721) and details for the first event are there too (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=100666950025545).
If this group interests you please do come along, if you can’t make it please spread the word on to those who you think might be interested. And in the inevitable case that a complaint comes about the chosen name, I’m pretty much ready to switch to Silicon Seaside; which is more quintessentially British in tone.