Friday, February 15, 2008

Lots more info on EveryBlock

You've heard of Adrian Holovaty's EveryBlock, a datamapping, geocoded site that aggergates news, reviews, public information and other data for select cities. But you probably don't know as much about it as you will once you read the engaging interview available here.

One key point: this will become available to you:

Q: One of the obligations of the Knight grant is to make all the source code available. Does that affect how you think about the site as an asset?

A: The open-source requirement affects both our technology and business decisions. We've engineered the thing so that it can be replicated in any area, with any data. I suppose we would've done that anyway, even without the open-source requirement, because it's just the Right Way to do it, but the open-source requirement certainly influenced us.

I'll paraphrase something really smart that Wilson, our designer, said recently: We've created a machine that's capable of publishing address-specific news, and our initial launch is a demonstration of its potential. Now that we're live, it's time to improve the machine and improve the demonstration.

On the business side, clearly we'll have to figure out how the site is going to sustain itself after our grant money is spent. I have a feeling some solution will make itself apparent at some point over the next year and a half. But even before that, we'll find out whether our idea is something that catches on with our audience -- this whole thing is an experiment, after all! For all we know, EveryBlock might be a novelty that doesn't sustain an audience in the long term. Being honest Chicago people, happily far away from the Silicon Valley BS, we have no delusions of grandeur.
Thanks to Daring Fireball for the pointer.

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