There’s a turf war going on for control of the hearts and minds of the digital cluster infesting the converted warehouses and fashionable tenements of Shoreditch.
There are more meet-ups, mash-ups, crunch-offs and tech-rounds than you’ll see on any other square mile of the planet right now as the call to cluster is sounded.
This area of East London has a history as a mecca of connected creativity. Long before the Hoxton Fin or the Shoreditch Twat, cheap rents and a large internet hub provided the ideal conditions for the growth of a digital community.
When leased lines were expensive, and charged by distance, firms wanting to upload content to the web located near Old Street because it was a major connection point. And so it began.
When our own company, C21Media, moved into the area in 1997, fun was to be had in just a few scruffy pubs and nobody, but nobody, came out east to visit.
I remember fondly a great sign in 2000 on a building in Paul Street, which advertised ‘Short Term Let. Would Suit Internet Company.’ How things change but stay the same.
Attracting more and more like-minded creative businesses with ideas but little cash, Shoreditch and its suburbs have grown to become THE hotbed for innovation. The area remains in part a comedy of ridiculous ambition, silly outfits and dodgy haircuts; and in another a serious drama that influences trends across fashion, art, media, technology and social economics more than any other part of the UK.
When the government spotted this – along with the rest of the world – it decided to act, defining ‘Tech City’ as an area that with targeted investment could yield a good return for UKPLC. And boy does it need it.
Applying some proper principles saw the arrival of Richard Florida’s theory of clustering being of central importance in making Tech City work.
Florida, a prominent social economist, posited: “Today’s key economic factors – talent, innovation and creativity – are not distributed evenly across the global economy. They concentrate on specific locations. In today’s creative economy, economic growth comes from the clustering and concentrating of talented and productive people, what I call the ‘clustering force.’” What we’ve got!
“New ideas are generated and our productivity increases when we are located close to each other in cities and regions,” he wrote. “The clustering force makes each of us more productive, which in turn makes the place we inhabit more productive, generating great increases in output and wealth. Because of the clustering force, cities and regions have become true engines of economic growth.”
So there you have it – a readymade cluster, with all the potential in the world.
Techcityinsider.net is totally focused on this cluster. We are only about the people, companies, projects and issues that relate to this community. We recognise there are lots more places to get a blow-by-blow account of every issue relevant to the digital economy, and we celebrate and support those brands.
Our mission is to distil the enormous amount of information available to provide a coherent view of Tech City, driven by its leading thinkers, celebrating its creativity and providing a resource that everyone can use to help get their cluster on… generally.
We will be interviewing the leading players for our video channel, photographing them for our website and almanac, and inviting comment from a broad range of contributors.
We also have more than 550 companies already in our Tech City List, together with an overview of the projects they have worked on. This list will grow and provide a great way to keep up with who’s doing what and why. You just need to register for free to read this list.
When you register we’ll send you an occasional email to let you know what’s happening on the site.
The site is in soft launch phase at the moment while we figure things out. So please bear with us if it’s a little slow at times and some bits aren’t quite there.
To really kick things off we’ll be having a launch conference and evening event at The Shoreditch House on November 3. So keep your eyes peeled for more information about that.
Our mothership; C21Media.net, also connects the Tech City cluster to the world through relationships with more than 60,000 international executives in the content business. There will be lots of cross-pollination going on between our existing business and this new launch.
We’d love to hear from anyone who wants to get involved, as a contributor, photographer, commentator or partner. Send clustering thoughts to me here.
Editor-in-chief & managing director