A Hub in Istanbul
Enterpreneurs James Halliday and Niels Van der Linden Get Hospitable
”We believe there is no absence of good ideas in the world. The problem is a crisis of access, scale, resources, and impact.” From the Hub website.
First, though, I needed to figure out how they defined, “Hub”. After hearing about different Hubs in Europe and elsewhere, and visiting the Hub website several times in the past couple years, I still did not have a good grasp of exactly what the point was. And I still don’t. But not because of any failing on the part of the explicators, or any weakness in the concept—it is simply that a Hub can be anything you set it up to be, anything that fills the rend we perceive in the urban fabric.
"An exclusive space for inclusive people"
Halliday and Van der Linden see their Hub model in Istanbul as “An exclusive space for inclusive minds.” Meaning that the deficiency that exists is one of physical scale. People who want to make a difference are not able to do so because they live in distant residential areas, commute to work in specially configured industrialized campuses, and socialize in the city’s cultural centers—all spread out over extreme distances. People expend all their time and energy simply traveling. The Hub they envision condenses at least the working, socializing, and networking aspects of urban life into one single point—which increases productivity and allows creativity and innovation to coalesce.
Innovation vs. Replication
But then, to uncover holes, one must be able to see the substrate in which these cracks exist. And Halliday and Van der Linden cite that in the war of Innovation vs. Replication, Turks are strong in replicating systems and business which have succeeded previously as opposed to innovating new ones. Somebody, however, must be innovating those previous ideas, no? And that is what Hub founders hope to encourage—those inclusive minds that need an exclusive place in which their innovations can be seen, heard, talked about, elaborated on, and perpetuated.
Furthermore, the Hub is ultimately about hosting, and hospitality is something Turkish people really do well. In a place where the role of the host is appreciated, exalted, and considered an art form, the Hub concept of a Super Host will go down easily. The Hub in Istanbul will be a place where innovators and thinkers will have access to what amounts to their own personal, professional concierge: Someone with experience, tools, knowledge of the community, and the ability to intuit the professional wishes of those people in the space—among other things.
Halliday and Van der Linden claim that they have moved to this city and found the parts of the city to live their lives and make their own—just like any city-dweller does. They see a chance to create the same opportunity for other city-dwellers to exist in community and to connect the dots between like-minded people to exist temporarily in a single point. Whether or not you understand exactly what a Hub is does not diminish the fact that Istanbul needs one.
Photo 1 by Unknown
Photos 2, 3, and teaser courtesy of the Hub