"There's nothing to do in Wichita." — we've all heard it. Regurgitated on Thanksgiving by your crabby uncle or spewed from the mouth of a "rebellious" high-schooler; it's an unfortunate phrase muttered by those generally lacking ingenuity or wherewithal. Fortunately one local web developer is stepping up to put the dreaded statement to rest.
Can you please introduce yourself and describe Wichitaweso.me?
I'm Christian Taylor, a studio artist and web developer born and raised in Wichita. Wichitaweso.me is a website I run; it features all kinds of events happening in Wichita that are open to the public. My goal is to make it the go-to guide for what is happening in Wichita.
"Wichitaweso.me is a platform for artists, musicians, gamers, and makers to get the word out."
What drove you to create the site?
There's a ton of cool events going on in Wichita, but I feel like they tend to fly under the radar. A convenient way to find events doesn't exist in this city. A lot of people use Facebook, but since you're limited to sharing events with your friends, it's only slightly more effective than promoting through word of mouth. Wichitaweso.me is a platform for artists, musicians, gamers, and makers to get the word out. My hope is that when people experience something awesome happening in their hometown they'll be inspired to do their own awesome thing. That's how I was inspired to create Wichitaweso.me in the first place.
What do you hope to add in the future?
Oh man, there's still so much work to do. Right now I'm working on a tagging system so users can categorize and filter events based on their interests. I also plan on building profiles for bands, artists, organizations, and venues so that users can get more info about an event before they attend. I have my own ideas about the direction of the site, but I'm also always looking for feedback from others. A lot of what already exists on the site has been from the community's input and I'd like to keep that going.
You've been an active participator in Wichita's StartUp Weekend, how has this event helped you grow as a developer?
I've participated in StartUp Weekend twice. The competition's crazy time restraints really push you to take on development projects from a different angle. Both times I've had the chance to try new technologies and approach problems in a different way that may not be as practical in my day-to-day job as a developer at Lifeboat Creative. Overall StartUp Weekend has been a great learning opportunity. I've also made quite a few great connection from the event, so the networking aspect of StartUp Weekend is really awesome too.
"If you still think it's a boring place, then stop complaining and do something about it."
What are your thoughts on the Wichita's developer community?
The dev community in Wichita has just exploded in recent years. Now we have DevICT, Ad Astra Academy, Open Wichita, Make ICT, and Women Who Code; all of these are great organizations that are promoting and fostering the dev community. I feel like my generation's trust in the aircraft industry is waning and our city is going through a bit of an identity crisis. A boom in the developer community is really encouraging, and could be just what this city needs.
What do you say to people who think Wichita is boring?
Just look at Wichitaweso.me and tell me there's nothing to do. If you still think it's a boring place, then stop complaining and do something about it. The beautiful thing about this small city is that our culture is still young and there's a lot of opportunity to jump in and be a part of it.