Late last year we felt something creeping up on us around the office, but no one could figure out what it was. Then, over a random lunch hour, someone asked when the website originally went online. The factual answer was 2005, when the domain GoKunming.com was originally registered and a very basic HTML listings site was born. But a fully functioning platform with a blog and updated functionality would have to wait until 2006 to get off the ground. It started with a completely ingenious post, and now, ten years on, here we all are.
A decade online for any website, any business really, is reason for celebration. But the celebration is certainly not for the current motley GoKunming crew alone. When Chris Horton and Matthew Sills started building the website a decade ago, there were two primary concerns: offering up-to-date information about Kunming and Yunnan, and providing a place where people interested in the province could exchange ideas while hopefully growing tighter as a community.
As we've looked back on the first ten years of the website's existence — with those two goals in mind — we were reminded for the millionth time that the longevity, utility and entertainment value of the site stem directly from the users themselves. It's a humbling thought. So thank you Kunming, and thank you to everyone who has ever posted in the forums, written an article, left a comment, sent a private message, emailed us with ideas or submitted a classified ad that led inextricably to marriage. Yep, that last one really happened.
As we celebrate our tenth anniversary, we want to say "thank you" in a more tangible way. So on the evening of Friday, September 30 at the Dongfeng Dong Lu O'Reilly's Irish Pub, we'll look to do just that. With amazing assistance from the pub, we've lined up a night of food, music, drinks and giveaways.
The evening will begin with a 16-dish buffet featuring both Asian and Western dishes. The chefs at O'Reilly's are cooking up Beijing duck, chicken curry, fresh salads, barbecue pork ribs, two savory soups, spaghetti bolognese and ten other delectable offerings. The all-you-can-eat buffet will begin at 6:30 and run until the food is gone. It costs a mere 60 yuan per person.
As a thank you to our users, outside on the O'Reilly's patio GoKunming employees will be giving away free pints of Vedette Blonde until the kegs run dry. Meanwhile, inside the bar, drinks will be priced the same as they were way back in 2006 when the website first went online. Beer Laos for ten yuan and standard mixed drinks for 15.
There will also be fantabulous live music on the pub porch. First, Spasibo will take the stage playing their singular brand of Sino-Russian gypsy punk. They will be followed by the smooth and sultry sounds of Sandro on guitar and dulcet-voiced American Allison, together creating music like spicy peppered olive oil flowing gently over fettuccine. DJ Xiao Kris will keep the evening grooving, mixing up the finest in funk, hip hop and loungey grooves, with just a sprinkling of reggae thrown in for good measure.
We'll toss in a short speech about the past, present and future of GoKunming before unveiling some updates to the website that we are quite excited about. As a final detail, we'll explain the rules for a contest that everyone can participate in, and hand out some sweet prizes a bit later in the evening.
We hope to see you all there on Friday, September 30 at O'Reilly's. Thank you again Kunming. It's been ten years of madness, and we couldn't have done it without you!