Apr 23

My friend Josh suggested I submit this idea to Sunlight Labs to build. That seems like a noble effort they’ve got going but I figured it might be more interesting to instead do a blog post and cast it into the wild. So here’s a free business idea for someone who needs something to build:

Give me an easy way to compare what people said they would do with what they actually did.

Hindsight is 20/20 right? The first place to incubate this app is using government. Leverage the data.gov “open government” initiatives that aim to create more transparency through exposing raw data via API’s and offer a service that counters a real problem.

Problem description: Legislative officials get elected based on specific promises and then renege and vote the opposite way. They bury the issue, voters forget, they get re-elected indefinitely and the cycle continues endlessly.

Start with this very focused use case around this problem and build an app that lets me see the track record of how Senators and Congressmen voted vs. how they committed they would vote.

Question: How do you monetize this?
Answer: Build it as a platform with the logic abstracted but with the first iteration focused specifically on this government scenario. That’s your freebie giveaway. Make this available and free as a public service and have it serve as a marketing tool for the underlying platform which you’ll then sell to companies who want the same accountability/hindsight for their own internal decisions. This works for any scenario where there’s a record of expressed intent for a decision followed by the actual decision. Follow the lead of companies like Spigit and Inkling Markets who hosted public “fantasy league” prediction markets to create awareness and drive sales of their underlying platform.

All the data necessary to get this going exists publicly. You’ll have to get an intern to aggregate the unstructured historical info that’s scattered via newspaper articles and such on how politicians proclaimed they’d vote, but going forward much of this data should be available in structured format via the data.gov effort.

So my question at this point: “Is there anything remotely like this that already exists?” Sunlight Labs or Startup Weekend– what say ye? Could you guys knock out something along these lines? The domain is available.

3 Responses to “Free Biz Idea: Hindsig.ht accountability”

  1. To me this sounds very much like Politifact: http://www.politifact.com/

    • Sean Tierney says:

      Brandon, that's an interesting site- I had never seen it before. It seems open-ended in terms of the inputs it accepts and how the truth of the result is calculated <- cool b/c it supports more scenarios but it's less-"automatable" and seems more subjective. I'm looking more for a generic system that can be used to show how accurately people performed according to how they proclaimed they would perform. thanks for sending though, it's a neat idea.


  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sean Tierney. Sean Tierney said: Free biz idea- Hindsig.ht accountability platform: http://bit.ly/dhyRq3 […]

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