Passing on Open Tech Calendar – would you like to run it?

This is a personal blog from our founder, James Baster.


I founded Open Tech Calendar back in 2012 – here’s our launch email. It’s just turned 6 years old and it’s been a really interesting time.

Coding a product from scratch and seeing it through years of real use taught me a lot and was a great experience. And working on the non-coding “soft”* side of support, UX and others taught me even more!

And it’s even better that I was able to do this working on something that people found useful and did use from the start. It’s been great to see the project grow. Thanks to everyone who supported the project over the years (That includes the various sponsors we have had too!)

But, I think it’s time for me personally to move on. My interests and career as a computer programmer have changed in the last 6 years, and I’m no longer able to commit enough time to the site.

I’d like to see the site flourish, and with that in mind it’s time to ask: would anyone else like to run Open Tech Calendar?

I think some concepts have been key to the site’s success;

  • We were always keen to be a directory that pointed to the real home of events online and not try and “take over” an event’s web presence.
  • We always let many people add events to the site, like a wiki.
  • We’ve tried to encourage events to release their own Open Data that we can reuse rather than making them redo work on our site, and from day one we had freely accessible Open Data from our site that others can use.
  • We had a plain and simple site design that tries to impart information as clearly as possible to the user with no fuss** – “time spent on site” was never a metric we tried to maximise. ***

I think that these things are unique points compared to other projects I’ve seen come and, in many cases, not survive over the years. I would really like the people who take it over to stick to these principles.

On the other hand, I know that when you pass something over you have to let go – you’re not involved any more, and it’s up to the new people what happens. And I’ll be very interested to see where they go; I don’t think I know all the answers and maybe others will be able to do great things that I didn’t see.

(A few years ago, I started the site Tech In Scotland and this is also for sale.)

Lastly, on the topic of selling, I think the site has potential to either make money or be an strong asset for some buyers. So how much is it for sale for? There isn’t a set amount – it’s more important to me that the site goes to a good home. The price will depend on who it goes to – I would be asking a group of developers to pay less than a big company, for instance.

So, there’s not much more to say. Again, thanks to everyone who has supported this project. It’s been a lot of fun and opened a lot of doors for me.

If you’re interested, get in touch. I’m happy to meet and discuss the project, and be honest about the weak points I perceive in the project and in the whole event listing game in general.

Thank you,

Some Notes:

How fast will this happen?

Almost certainly, not fast. Do think about this and get in touch!

What will happen to people’s personal data?

You know, one of the benefits of running a Open site is we actually hold almost no personal data! I highly recommend it.

That said, we do hold user accounts and run some email lists. If you don’t like the idea of your email address going to the new owner you will have a chance to delete it. (This is something we obviously offer anyway!)


* “Soft” skills in quote marks as I agree it’s a terrible term, I’m just not sure what else to put.

** Though the design thing has always been iffy; while many people tell me they really like the simple design many people also say things to me like “It’s a bit …. 90’s?”. Maybe this is one of the things I was wrong about?

*** And also, no “Open Source” in that list of important things? While the site is currently Open Source – and it would be nice if that continued – I never viewed that as the important thing. The fact the site has and always had Open Data was far, far more important. ….. But people always said “Oh, yes, it’s Open Source!” and I got free passes because of that at times. So I’d recommend it’s kept Open Source, for marketing purposes. But if it went closed source that wouldn’t bother me. (If it went closed data, on the other hand …) Am I being too honest? I did say I’m happy to be honest with people – so get in touch!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s