What would Croydon look like as a start-up/ Tech City?

I have a very strong passion to see Croydon realise its potential as a hub for technical entrepreneurs, developers and venture capitalists – the Silicon Roundabout of South London, if you will.

I’m aware that it might be hard to visualise – so below are examples of other cities/towns that have started on the road to encouraging a large hub of start-ups and digital/tech industries.

Please enjoy (and savour!) each of them – they’re well-made productions which display different facets of the global tech-boom and its various effects on localised areas. Keep in mind how they might apply to Croydon! 🙂

1. Lisbon

2. Kiryat Gat, Israel – a framework for a ‘mediated city’

3. Cincinnati

4. Berlin – Betahaus ‘People in Beta’ (co-working community)

5. Johannesburg

6. Philadelphia

7. Copenhagen

8. Baltimore

9. Chicago

10. Philadelphia

11. Helsinki

12. Berlin (again!)

Also check out: 18 Latin American tech hubs!

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If you are interested in finding out more or helping me realise my vision for Croydon as ‘The Second Tech City’, please do get intro yourself to me.

I can be contacted on Twitter: @98rosjon or by email: jonnyrose1 [at] gmail [dot] com

Posted in Croydon - The Second Tech City | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Matthews Yard and The Case For Co-Working (in #Croydon)

Matthews Yard, Croydon – a new co-working site

Co-working is (according to the unimpeachable veracity of Wikipedia):

a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization.[1] Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation.[2] Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values,[3] and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with like-minded talented people in the same space.[4][5]

The rise of co-working spaces in the last decade has been fuelled by several things, including technologies such as cloud computing; more freelancers and remote workers in the workforce, which means greater demand for flexible work arrangements; and economic pressure on firms’ property costs.

A key part of my vision for Croydon to be ‘The Second Tech City‘ (blog post soon come, I promise!) is to capitalise on this trend and cultivate a strong and vibrant community of entrepreneurs and workers in the co-working space of Matthews Yard in Croydon’s Old Town district.

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For those who prefer pictures to reading this is a really interesting presentation that I found which profiles some of the effects of co-working in various European countries:

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I am convinced that Matthews Yard is best positioned as a co-working space which budding entrepreneurs and more established groups in Croydon should be utilising, for a variety of reasons:

  • Better networking. Not everyone is comfortable with the soulless flurry of handshakes and calling cards at networking events. But, when you’re among a group of diverse people in a coworking space, without even trying, you’re already networking! Even better, you can actually see the kind of quality of work your coworkers do, and their own contacts, when passed on to you, have most likely been vetted.
  • A professional venue with a meeting room (without the cost!)

The Matthews Yard workspace…

  • ‘Accelerated serendipity’ galore. Just by exposure to other people, you discover something new without trying— be it a new Ruby on Rails tweak, a PR secret, or – most importantly – where the nearest KFC is(!). Furthermore, you get to meet new people, new clients, and find new resources the same way.
  • Collective brainpower. In his book, Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration, Keith Sawyer says that acts of collaboration – not solo flights of genius – are the key to breakthrough creativity. When you hang around a coworking space, where collaboration is not only encouraged but also cultivated, you get the opportunity to harness your coworkers’ collective brainpower.
  • Shared resources. If you need to get things done on the cheap, coworking spaces are the place to do it. You don’t have to fight for a spot, all the equipment and space you need to run a business is there (printers, Wi-Fi, conference rooms).
  • Opportunities for bigger projects. With access to people working in different fields, you can now nab bigger projects without worries about biting off more than you can chew or hiring new people. In fact, you can simply outsource the parts you can’t handle to your coworkers.
  • Maslow’s Pyramid of (co-working) Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs applied to coworking – Matthews Yard provides this

At a local level, co-working has tangible impact on micro-economies and public realm:

Coworking keeps stellar talent in town

Coworking spaces are “office buildings” for those who had the ingenuity to create their own job in a difficult economy. Without coworking, many in mid-sized urban areas (like Croydon) would have to commute or move their families to bigger cities with more opportunities. Coworking provides an opportunity for workers to stay in town, preserving their money, talent, and enthusiasm for use in the local economy.

Coworking supports small business

Don’t let the mega-corps fool you; they employ people only because it’s necessary for the creation and dissemination of their products and services, not because they want to revitalize a town (*cough* Nestle *cough*).

Croydon Jelly meets at Matthews Yard on the second Thursday of each month. Organised by Claire Kerr.

Small to mid-sized businesses are the lifeblood of a local economy. They live and work and shop locally, and tend to invest more into the personal lives of their employees. It might be the swarthy world-weary hotshot who just formed his own PR practice or couple of buddies who decided to create their own design company. Either way, these businesses are driving down unemployment rates at a time when multi-billion pound companies are still laying people off. Joining a coworking space means these tiny businesses will have a safe place to grow and learn from more experienced members.

Coworking creates a network for collaborative consumption

The quest for bigger, better, faster has crippled our economy. People are tired of keeping up with the Jones’ and just want to keep their families fed. Collaborative consumption means reusing, growing, renting, bartering and making instead of buying. But the sharing economy demands a network of friendly, trustworthy people to make it work. Like the people who work right next to you in a coworking space.

When a community is connected and open to sharing, people save money, learn new skills, and reduce their impact on the environment. New ideas emerge, problems are solved in creative ways, and the community at large reaps all the rewards of a happy independent workforce.

That’s what a great coworking center -particularly Matthews Yard – can do for Croydon! 🙂

To learn more about Matthews Yard or buy a membership, please go here.

Posted in Local community | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

EVENT: Social media for churches – Matthews Yard, #Croydon – Monday Dec 3rd 7pm

Are you a Christian looking to understand the world of social media?

Interested in internet evangelism but not sure where to start?

Want to learn various ideas and techniques to share your passion for God online?

COME TO DAVE ROBERTS’ ‘WOW CLINIC’ – An interactive seminar for 90 minutes about Churches and Christians using the internet, new media and social networks!

When: Monday December 3rd at 7pm 

Where: Matthews Yard, Croydon – behind Surrey Street Market  

Cost: Free (but suggested donation £5)

Please contact Jonny Rose on jonnyrose1@gmail.com, tweet @98rosjon or leave a comment below in the comments section if you would like to attend…or feel free to turn up on the night!

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Dave Roberts is a pint-sized Australian with a massive personality.

He has been involved in internet ministries for well over a decade and runs the wildly successful Partakers Ministry site where he writes daily sermons, records podcasts and hosts a prayer-wall which connects worshippers around the world.

Dave is an expert at helping people who are on a shoe-string budget share their passion for God online, and is looking forward to sharing ideas and resources with Croydon churches – please do join us! 🙂

Posted in Christianity, Social Media | Leave a comment

What do #Croydon’s councillors actually do for their communities?

MISSING: Mayor Graham Bass (Councillor for Purley) - N.B. this is just banter, I have nothing against G-Man's administration or personhood

N.B. This is not a politicised criticism of local parties or their respective councillors, this is more an exercise to learn more about councillors and their work in Croydon – with best intentions and no malice. SAFE. 🙂

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As I work to improve my local community of Purley, I, naturally, look at others who are doing the same thing to see where our efforts and interests intersect and are making a difference.

Local govt is one such area that I continue to look to for community-centred inspiration and – as such – the work of local councillors is something that is of increasing interest to me.

A definition of the role of local councillors can be found on the Croydon council site:

Your councillor is the person elected every four years to represent your area.  They can help if you are dissatisfied with a council service by advising or directing you to someone who can help sort out your problem and can sometimes progress the case on your behalf.  This is often done in advice surgeries where you can meet with the councillor for your ward and discuss your problem.

That said:

I have no idea who my councillors are*, what they do and where/why/how they are doing it.

In part, this stems from my own apathy and ignorance -I could very easily have checked the Croydon council site or use google – however, I think there is also a duty on the part of local govt. representatives to remain visible in their local communities, as a matter of course, to  improve channels of communication between them and the public and increase confidence in their works.

It seems, from an enlightening exchange on Twitter last night that many Croydon locals are similarly in the dark about their local representatives:

So, QUESTIONS FOR CROYDONERS:

Have you ever met you councillor in person?

What do you think about your local councillor’s profile and activities? 

If you are a councillor: What do you find hardest and/or most rewarding about your role? Do you think charges of invisibility from the public are fair – or is it a two-way street and the public should take an active interest?

*Obvs, not now I googled them for the purposes of this post! 😉

Posted in Local community | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

VOTE for Grace Children’s Village takes 10 secs of your internet time

Western Union are running a competition to give $1000 to 100 worthy causes.

Please vote for Grace Children’s VillageCLICK THIS LINK HERE –> http://www.worldofbetters.com/better/2424

And scroll down to FB Like/vote it. The site is wack, so use the picture below to understand what you should see.

Use the FB Like to vote for my nomination. Thank you.

Deadline 15th DEC. Thanks a lot! 🙂

 

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#CNMAC11 Official unofficial video

This is probably the greatest Christian film since the Bourne Again Identity

Hopefully, this is will inspire others to come next year :)

Posted in Christianity, New Media | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

I love #Croydon – Saif Bonar @bizzyrascal

I LOVE CROYDON is a guest series  for locals to submit videos and written posts talking about all (good) things related to Croydon and the surrounding areas. If you would like to contribute, holla at jonny_rose_23@hotmail.com or @98rosjon on Twitter.

Bizzy Rascal: Wants to counter the negativity around Croydon

Today’s submission is from entrepreneur and go-getter Saif Bonar. Saif is a Croydoner with a MASSIVE passion to see our fine town turned into a vibrant tech-hub. His blog – which charts his progress – can be read here and to see why I first became a supporter, read Saif’s magnum opus here.

N.B. The post is from a hastily-written tweet – but I had to record it here for posterity!

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#croydon. Home for two years. Moved to write something positive about the council to counter the negative crap flying around, but will also be balanced and offer criticism where due..

In my short time as a resident I have used a broad range of services from the council. I don’t begrudge paying council tax, as I feel the services I have received are worth what I have paid.

Before living in Croydon I lived in LB Bromley and LB Lambeth. Croydon staff have been the most helpful and professional. The bar is actually rather high. At Bromley and Lambeth almost everything went via Capita and was often ballsed up in one way or another.

I am pleasantly surprised by the efficiency with which Croydon manages its services with an in-house team of civil servants.

I will summarise below:

Building Control and Planning
Have had cause to communicate with them on various issues. Always polite, professional and incredibly helpful. Knowledgeable, fast and if they were a commercial outfit they would be one of the best. They run a tight ship and know their stuff. Cannot fault them. Same day inspections, fonts of knowlegde by phone. A real credit!

Contact Centre
Never been kept waiting for hours on the phone, but if I go into the hub at the wrong time of day it can be busy and have had to wait up to 45 minutes. Too long, but was informed of the wait time accurately on arrival and told other times which may be quieter if I did not want to wait. Can’t do much better than that, saving over staffing and wasting considerable money during quiet periods.

Environmental Health
Professional, fast to respond, positive experience to emails.

Parking Services
Generally very good, if a little inflexible. Overzealous in on-street parking charges and attempts to extend CPZ’s. Sub-contractor wardens have some attitudinal issues but in-house ones are very professional, polite, friendly and approachable. Room for improvement in policies such as issuing of permits. Should charge much, much, more for 3rd and 4th parking permits (think in the region of £750 for #3 and £1250 for #4) on a single property. If you can afford a fleet of vehicles, you should be able to afford a suitably large house with driveway.

Waste Management
Waddon road facility is excellent but surprisingly easy to use (no ID, permits, etc checked, ever in about 100+ trips). Good to recycle tetrapak there, but rarely bother – too much effort. Bin collections, recycling etc – spot on. Green waste collection, great but could be extended into autumn (although decomposing leaves are good for the soil). Father was staying and diabetic, so needed sharps waste collection – arranged promptly and professionally.

Leisure
The facilities operated by Fusion are competitively priced. It’s cheaper to join a commercial facility like fitness first etc. surprised there isn’t something in central Croydon.

Arts & Culture
Lots of cuts, understandable, money needs to be freed up, but more effort to encourage and support community groups to take on management, costs and commercialise facilities like ClockTower would be a good thing.

Traffic
Wow.. don’t get me started. Nightmare. Lots of room for improvement.

Public Realm
A few thousand gallons of dulux would do wonders to brighten up Wellesley road, underpasses, St Georges Walk and improve the realm without spending tens of millions.

Town Centre/BID
Good progress – but worth upping security presence in and around Whitgift, Centrale and pedestrianised areas and taking a leaf from The Glades in Bromley – PCSOs and Security do not allow groups of kids to gather or loiter. Its a shopping centre, not a playground.. buy your Mcdonalds, do your shopping and move on!

For all those bemoaning the Tory controlled council (and I am not a Tory) be careful what you wish for, it could be worse, you could live in Lambeth! Then you really would get a flavour of incompetence and mismanagement.

Posted in I LOVE Croydon (Guest bloggers) | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments