Turbulence, Resilience and Opportunity Ahead

Turbulence & Resilience

Days before the lockdown, I moved to Swansea, Wales, UK.

I’m now in an operational new normal, like we all are.

For all of us, wherever we live, a part of what is proving difficult is ‘getting back to normal’. Every metric that we were basing our future plans has now seemingly changed. But changed into what? While we are yet to properly find out, I believe there is huge potential ahead for the flexible and the brave.

Lockdown – Time Well Spent

I spent the lockdown fixing my car in the great weather, doing up my house and garden, and steaming forward with my code learning, as well as starting to learn Welsh.

It’s now August 2020, I’ve finally got a haircut, have somewhat acclimatised to this ongoing temporary-ness of everything, and I’ve been back at work in my gig economy freelance driving job delivering food. I’m getting enough work, which is great. People are back at work, and those pubs and restaurants that have survived are currently doing good business. People are having some sort of normal summer at last, and as I write the lockdowns are easing more, and I’ve been discovering the beach properly at last.

I did some research into what was going on here in the tech sector in Swansea before the lockdown. Was there a crypto scene here? Sadly, on coming back to that research now that I live here, I find that that a major company, Tech Hub, has gone under. Seems they were doing sterling work until the virus changed everything.

TechHub goes into administration.

It is with huge hurt and sadness that I am announcing today that TechHub has been forced to go into administration.

Unfortunately, with a significant reduction in revenue due to the impact of Covid on our member companies, and without an agreement from our major landlord to our proposals for a way forward, we are unable to continue*.

01 AUGUST 2020

Oof. How do you write ten years in an email? We were the first initiative on the roundabout, and we’ve stayed true to our original mission: bringing together the tech industry, and supporting founders and companies to grow and succeed. We’ve been the first London home for so many international founders, with over 60 nationalities represented in the TechHub membership.

TechHub

So, there’s some starkly visible turbulence. Before I moved here, I’d been reading all about South Wales as a new tech hub, a new tech tiger – the Silicon Valleys. This has not changed the need for elegant and more robust systems solutions ahead. There will be more tech startups than ever, more inventions, and more people needing to meet with teams and investors, so I don’t take this bankruptcy as anything more than an unfortunate ‘perfect storm’ for this particular company.

Bitcoin Swansea – Simpatico Crypto On The Map

One metric that needs to change is the amount of bitcoin nodes running in Wales [and everywhere else of course]. There are currently only three – up from just one in Cardiff when I got here in March 2020, with a new active node in North Wales. You can see me on the above map, furthermost west, in Swansea. It looks like I’m in the sea, but I’m not.

Opportunity Into The 2020s

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Free Port Of Swansea?

A Freeport in Wales could create hundreds of jobs and facilitate significant regional economic growth. That is why I urge businesses to engage with our consultation and help us to unleash our potential in innovation, investment and growth. Working closely with the Welsh Government and businesses, we will ensure that the whole of the UK can feel the benefits.

UK Government – Post Brexit Freeports

It’s entirely possible, likely even, that Swansea is this location – the port infrastructure is already there, and regular services could resume very quickly from Swansea to Ireland as well as opening up the area internationally . Hard to quantify the sheer amount of trade and activity that would bring [although the pollution that diesel ships put out does need to be tackled going forward. Electric ships need to be a thing]. A busy port would vastly increase the need for software solutions, blockchain solutions, the need for people who can build, engineer, install and maintain such systems. I’m definitely in the right place!

Imagine how much new blockchain technology might be implemented in a port.

Swansea Development – June 2020

Swansea city has had and is still undergoing a huge amount of infrastructure modernisation, with more to come. Newly completed road systems in the centre, new developments all around the area, retail parks, all manner of activities and tourist attractions make this somewhere to not only visit, but to consider relocating to.

Swansea, Wales – City of the New Improved Future

Taken from the sadly now-closed Tech Hub website – it’s clear that Swansea is incredibly well positioned for the future:

Build your startup from the Beach

Living costs in Swansea are almost half the price of London, access to one of the worlds best beaches is 5 minutes away, not to mention ice cream in the Mumbles. It’s not surprising that people are looking to Swansea for better quality of life.

TechHub Swansea

Digital Arena

Nearing completion!

New Two-Way Systems

The Future Is Brighter Than Ever

Phase-change and turbulence, Game B emergence, novelty, progress and an eventual return, the fourth turning perhaps, towards a new stability. You might not be able to see it yet, it’s more of an inference, a feeling . . . Soon, I think, the 20s renaissance will be more visibly underway, both in Swansea and the rest of the world. And as a new freeport, the rest of the world will be able to sail up as well as touch down and do business here. Either way, the future is exciting.


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