So last weekend I had the pleasure of taking part in the GMDSP Lean Startup Weekend.
Until last weekend I had no idea how big the OpenData movement had become and I met some people who were very passionate about opendata
The official brief of the competition was to form teams, identify a problem in the community in certain specific areas then research, validate, develop and present a prototype solution. Preferably using open data (It was OpenDataDay after all). However there was scope to develop ideas that were not directly related to the specific areas.
On Saturday I formed a team and began work on www.ChartShare.co.
I have been wanting to do something with the domain www.ChartShare.co for a while now, something along the lines of "Slideshare for charts". It seems fortunate then that I met a few people from the open data community that thought that ChartShare could be a brilliant way of visualising and sharing the masses of raw opendata they had both easily and cheaply then currently possible.
The premise was simple. Allow the upload of data, selection of pre-canned chart templates, and publishing/sharing of charts in 3 simpe steps. Better looking charts and easier than Excel and easier and cheaper than other tools such as Crystal Reports and Tableau.
So with the help of fellow team mate James (@JmesPge) whom I must say did the vast majority of the idea validation and is a lean canvas advocate, I went on to develop (well, hack together) a prototype.
I even throw in analytics (see how may people view the chart) and geo-spatial mapping with Leaflet.js
Being the only developer on the team, it involved coding into the early hours of Sunday morning and continuing sunday morning/afternoon back at the Shed but by 4pm I had something I was happy to show the judges.
What then followed were presentations allowing the teams to describe in 4 minutes their idea and how they developed it. Nailbiting stuff. It was obvious that some great ideas were developed over the weekend.
The judges said they were impressed by ChartShares simplicity and usefullness, so much so we won 6 months membership to co-working space (and center of Manchester startups/innovation) SpaceportX. A prize worth £3000 i'm told.
The next step is to turn the quickly hacked together prototype into a commercially viable and valuable platform / service and also help the OpenData community better visualise their raw data.
This is not a fast process so please bear with me whilst the site is developed. I shall have a "register your interest" button/form on there shortly as well as a blog that will keep those interested up to date with development of the site.
Thanks again to the organisers, volounteers and opendata advocates who made the weekend possible.