When Sami and I started brainstorming last November, we quickly decided what we wanted to do – a “smart” NYCpedia of sorts, backed by federated, structured data – given my semtech background and Sami’s SEO chops.
We were even foolish enough to think we can submit three BigApps entries towards achieving that goal – NYCFacets, NYCIdeator (a Kickstarter-like take on NYCBigApps Ideas, where we can create an Open Data innovation marketplace), and Times Square Explorer (a prototype to showcase how our NYCpedia concept will work), with the last idea as the main showcase app.
But the devil is in the details. When we started executing NYCFacets, it was much more complex than we thought. So by mid-December, just over a month before deadline, we scaled back our plans and focused on NYCFacets.
We knew the risks – NYCFacets was a developer-focused tool; it just wasn’t “sexy” enough to get the popular vote; and it’d be a tough fit for the announced categories for the challenge.
Still, we did not quit our jobs just to do BigApps, we had a longer term goal and we thought having the pressure of the contest would allow us to focus on creating this necessary step of extensively cataloguing and characterizing the data catalog (and nothing focuses the mind like a deadline ). So we buckled down and executed – and told ourselves we have a good chance at the “Investor’s choice”, and perhaps, rate an honorable mention like Actuatr in the first BigApps. If anything, it will allow us to connect with New York’s Open Data community – our main target market.
Besides, as Brandon aptly put it during the BigApps meetup early January, all submitters were already winners – as everybody who enters the challenge can tap the impressive BigApps network that NYCEDC and Challengepost has already setup.
And as for our two other idears? We’ve been working on them since February and have come up with what we think is an even bigger take on our original NYCpedia concept. We’ll be at SMWCon next week to give a sneak peek. If you’re in the San Diego area, do drop by as registration is still open.
Onwards Open Data!!!