In September 2003, I opened Upcoming.org to the public. And now, 4,941 days later, four years after Yahoo shut it down and deleted everything, Upcoming.org is back — thanks to you. Go try it out, and feel free to spread the word:
If you used the beta, I recommend signing out and signing back in, which will update the list of people you follow. If no friends are showing up, or you just aren't active on Twitter, don't worry: I'll be adding an option to follow users tomorrow.
After signing in, I recommend setting your city by clicking "Add City" on the homepage. You can combine these various filters to show you, for example, all your friends' events in a city, the most popular events across the site, or recently-ended events that you watchlisted.
This video shows how it works:
The to-do list is very long, and you can see some of the high-priority items on the homepage sidebar. If you want to see what's changed since last week, feel free to read the commit log for details. It's been a busy week, and there's so much more I want to do.
But this is the first time I've really felt confident sharing Upcoming with the world. I'm already finding interesting new events, recommending them to others, and hearing the same from backers and beta testers.
Neven Mrgan, a designer and game developer here in Portland, runs a monthly movie series called Match Cut Movie Club — currently the most popular upcoming event on Upcoming in Portland — and he just messaged me, excitedly telling me a bunch of people bought tickets because of Upcoming. "We usually only get sales when we announce," he said. "People don't just discover it on their own."
And I haven't even announced Upcoming publicly yet.
So it's all happening. And that makes me really happy. It's a promising start.
Last week, I went to see Mule Design's Mike Monteiro speak in Portland about design and its role in fighting fascism. After the talk, we went out for dinner and I told him I was about to relaunch Upcoming. After we chatted a bit, he asked, "Would you sell it again?"
My reaction was visceral. I said, no, absolutely not. I did the Kickstarter project exactly so that I would never have to sell. I wrote every line of code myself, taught myself a new framework and programming language, so that I could run it independently on my own forever if I had to.
Even if Upcoming never makes another dime, I'm well-equipped to run it independently until I die, or I suppose, until literally nobody is left using it.
If I'd hired contractors to work on it with me, it's quite likely I wouldn't be able to maintain their code. When the funds run out, I'd be forced to find ways of funding it to keep it running. And I didn't want to take even that small risk.
But I feel terribly about how long it took, and especially how difficult it was for me to communicate delays when I didn't have time to work on it, but I wouldn't have done the project any other way.
Doing this Kickstarter project afforded me the resources to build it myself, and that independence is at the root of this project. And it showed me that the demand was there for something like Upcoming to exist again. I wouldn't have had the time or motivation to build it again without you, period.
In its first incarnation, we heard stories of how people used Upcoming to meet new people, make new friends, and feel less alone in the world. People met their partners at events they discovered through the community. There are probably Upcoming kids out there now.
So, let’s do it again. I hope this becomes something you all use to find your own community, discover fun and thoughtful and interesting things to do around you, and hopefully, make new friends and lasting relationships.
If you find any bugs, issues, or feedback, feel free to leave a comment here or, for the tech-savvy, file an issue on GitHub. I'll clear out the lingering issues there over the next few days.
Patrons: I'll be in touch with you early next week to collaborate on your city and site-wide patronage.
Developers and designers: If you're itching to make changes, excellent. Pull requests are welcome, and I'm pulling together instructions for getting up and running with development on the GitHub project.
Everyone else: I'm working on a little surprise for your Kickstarter backer badges on your profiles, likely next week. Stay tuned.
Thanks to each and every one of you.