Dundee. One City. Many discoveries. And a whole lot more opportunity, friends and experience than I could ever have imagined.
TL:DR Dundee has been an amazing I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some great people and have some even greater experiences. I’ll be back, and I’ll always have a great thing to say about this great city.
I moved to Dundee a little over 6 years ago as an 18 year old who spent his last night in Aberdeen explaining to a taxi driver why he decided to leave almost all his friends, and Aberdeen, to go and study in Dundee. My choice for this city was simple. It had a good psychology school and it was close enough to go home that I could go home (for Mum’s cooking) fairly often. It didn’t take me long to realise that psychology wasn’t going to be my calling in life. After a whirlwind 4 years of university, where I met some really great people, I left without a really solid plan. I had my part time job at Starbucks (where I met some other really great people), I made some money taking photos in nightclubs and was learning to make websites, which was another good source of income. But this wasn’t going to keep me going. Through making some websites I started to learn the basics of online marketing and managed to get an internship at the Dundee University Students Union. Dundee has a wealth of opportunity to meet new people and learn new things. So I dived straight in at the deep end and went along to my first NEoN Festival in November.
The first event I went to was their Unconference, where I got my first proper insight into the new V&A at Dundee from their director, Philip Long. I was also introduced to Chris van der Kuyl, who would go on to by my first CEO. Later that night I went to my first ever Pecha Kucha, organised by Creative Dundee and NEoN, little did I know I would eventually be doing one. It was at this event that I met some great of the great people involved at Creative Dundee, one of Dundee’s greatest social assets. A new job was on the horizon. Christmas past, and in January after a little over three years I left Starbucks, and briefly worked at IMPC, before I had a successful interview with brightsolid and I was offered a job working on a new project they had just started.
Working with some extremely talented people who all share similar thoughts is a great thing and it’s something that Dundee is becoming great at doing. Getting great people together to do even greater things. It didn’t take long for a shared idea to come to life and Brian, Kenny and myself started the Dundee Tech Meetup, extending the Meet Ups that already happened elsewhere in Scotland. Our first speakers were some of the great teams from the Dare to be Digital competition, and since then we’ve gone on to have speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds including STAR-Dundee, Dundee Architects, surgeons and some of the other amazing talents from Dundee. The Meetup has since grown to and we now have over 80 people attending each month. The success of this is has been amazing, and without the people I met at brightsolid, it would never have started.
brightsolid have also since gone on to help fund Dundee’s first Code Club, with the DCA. So every week Kenny and I help out teaching the next generation of game makers and software engineers. Kids catch on quick, but it is slowly inspiring me to to what I started at university in my first semester, in my first week in Dundee. Learn more computer ‘stuff’. Just now I just have to learn it faster than the Code Club’ers can.
Now though, I’m off to London, to learn more, do more. Over the last 18months I’ve seen that Dundee isn’t far away from London at all. I’ll be back, and I’ll always have a positive thing to say about this great city that has given me so much.