Editor’s note: Brandon Kessler is founder of and CEO of ChallengePost. Here, he explains what New York’s app challenge is all about and why he founded ChallengePost.
New York City is putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to government transparency. For the first time, the City is making available more than 170 datasets from 30 agencies to allow developers to build software applications that serve residents, visitors, businesses and the public sector.
There’s a $20,000 NYC BigApps competition for the winning apps, which my company ChallengePost is thrilled to be powering.
The competition started today and there’s an impressive list of judges including many leading East Coast investors and luminaries.
I started ChallengePost after seeing the growing number of corporate and grassroots challenges, and their power to identify new problems and get them solved. People responded to them not just for money, but for recognition, intellectual stimulation, the competitive spirit, and altruism. There wasn’t a network that took advantage of these motivators, or allowed people to find out about similar challenges and show support for ones they liked.
We have a Mozilla Firefox design challenge that entered phase two last week, API competitions from real-time search engines Collecta and OneRiot, dozens of user-generated challenges including this $10,000 one to use mobile technology to stop repression in the 3rd world. There is a lot of money at stake, but equally important are the social rewards.
As for BigApps, anyone who likes a challenge can register their support for it on the competition site. The more they do, the more social credit the winners will get at the end. Anyone — techie or not — can play an important role bringing government transparency.
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