Chris Alexander

On Engineering

The Hidden Community

21st April, 2010

Recently I’ve been to quite a few technology and geek-related events in London. It’s always been a very “cool” city so far as technology and events go, and in many ways represents the central hub for the UK when interacting with companies across Europe and into the US in this industry.

However, there is an often overlooked and rapidly growing technology community just 20 minutes from London, in Reading.

There has been a technology community in Reading for a long time, from the University’s strong Computer Science, Engineering and Cybernetics departments, the Microsoft, Oracle and other offices at Thames Valley Park, and numerous small companies dotted around the town. But in recent months the community has been growing in activity, and its events are often overlooked by those outside the area.

There is much more to Reading than large corporations and the extremely popular DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper events that frequent TVP. From the Reading Geek Night, a popular offshoot of the wildly successful Oxford Geek Night, to the Reading Tweetup, which was started as a regular meeting from the successful Twestival events held in the town, there is rarely a week go by without some kind of small meetup between friends in one of the many bars, coffee shops and venues in the town.

There is also a thriving small business and startup community, kick-started by schemes such as the University of Reading’s Small Business Centre providing cheap office space to small startup businesses, and I am constantly meeting new people from these small companies as they continue to thrive and grow.

The point of my post is this - Reading has the potential to be one of the coolest places to be for technology, small businesses, great events and awesome friends - let’s work together to create more awesome events, bring in more visitors, and turn this town into the cool hub that it has so much potential to be.