I’m Jack, a regular down at 091 Labs. I’d like to share a website I’ve just released: http://www.hiredhelp.ie and my experiences of coding it down in 091 Labs, Galway’s new HackerSpace.
So what does your new website, HiredHelp.ie, do?
Hiredhelp.ie, is a place where Irish babysitters, housekeepers, gardeners, pet carers and handymen can put up free profiles offering themselves for work and then get found by searching employers. The idea is that Savvy service providers can easily find domestic employment through the site. The site is pretty and very user friendly – I recommend you check it out next time your looking for a helping hand at home.
The project has been in development for nearly nine months. We had a lot of set backs (including our most experienced coder going AWOL) but in the end we learned a lot. – both about coding and about running a small business. My role on the project ended up being lead developer (as our previous lead disappeared off the face of the planet) and I collaborated with a Galway based web design and development company, Cloud Concepts, where William Greene and John Deely did most of the design work and, increasingly, have been helping out with some of the development.
What was it like working out of 091 Labs?
Lets put it like this: I was working from my kitchen table before 091 Labs — kind of ironic considering that the website is domestically themed (…ed? ED?? .. ). As you can probably guess, working from a kitchen is suboptimal – lots of distractions (both culinary and social), lots of noise(how’s about a blender), and, ultimately, not that much work done at the end of the day.
I discovered 091 Labs a couple of weeks ago and finally I’ve been able to get some real work done. If you’ve never been down to the labs a description is in order: First off, the term “labs” is a misnomer – it’s more like “caves”. The place is situated in the semi-subterranean bottom floor of a new office block, right next door to the Galway City bus station. Huge billboards advertising the office for rent block out most of the light within, leaving the piecemeal scattering of furniture (clearly donated from the set of an 80s horror film) largely in darkness. The walls are solid concrete, as are the floors….. and God do I like it.
For starters there is lots and lots of creative space. If you feel like you need a ten metre stress out clearance zone on either side of you, then wish no more. The place is enormous so you can sit as close, or far, from others as you please –and trust me, there is a time for both. Caffeine, the hacker’s best friend, flows on tap – there were more varieties of coffee, tea and energy drinks than this journalist could count. When the technical going gets tough, there is hope due to the great selection of technical literature on offer –everything from the science of reverse engineering to “Regular Expressions”, the symbolic representation of language, something which came in very handy during the development of my website. Needless to say the WiFi is blistering fast at 30mbs.
As brilliant as the layout and facilities are, it’s the people that really make 091 Labs great. The place is filled with Galway’s brightest doers. Every time I came up for air from my self built labyrinth of code, I would look around the room and see birdhouses in construction, tiny €30 programmable controllers (like a circuit board with a little processor) called “Arduinos” being transformed into dazzling light shows, jugglers trying to figure out how to use wi-motes to enhance their performance, and, more inspiring of all, rivers of ideas flowing between excited chatting members. Instantly I would feel refreshed by the thought that I’m not the only one working and I would dive back in and root out one more bug.
I like you. How can I help you and your website out?
At Hiredhelp.ie we don’t have exactly have a ten million euro marketing budget behind us. In fact we don’t really have ANY marketing budget behind us, so we need all the help we can get to help us promote our site. Now don’t worry -we’re not asking you to empty your wallets for us, instead what we are asking is that you help us by using your social media resources in our favor. All we’re asking it that you like us on Facebook, Tweet about us, blog about us, or tell a friend looking for work as a babysitter, housekeepers or handyman about us. It takes less than a minute and it makes all the difference in the world to us during this early stage of starting up.