Thanks to Built in Chicago, I had the opportunity to pitch Groovebug to a room full of the top digital marketing executives in Chicago at yesterday’s Digital Collective event at the Field Museum. Amazingly, we were voted by the group as one of the five hottest start-ups in Chicago! We were in great company. The other four start-ups chosen to present were Belly, Sprout Social, Appolicious, and 30 Second Mobile. It was great to meet the other CEOs.
At the event I had a chance to hear a talk by John Tolva, the City of Chicago’s new CTO. I was quite impressed. As a Chicagoan I’m proud to know that our city is making great strides in becoming a technological leader. Tolva really gets it and is certainly the right man for the job. He is committed to harnessing the power of the developer community by making municipal data accessible through APIs. Check out some of these cool products and sites that have come from opening Chicago’s data:
http://wasmycartowed.com - find out if your car was towed and where it is
http://2inch.es - get alerts about parking restrictions
http://faspark.com - find a place to park (really)
You can find more at http://appsformetrochicago.com/
I was most impressed that the city is using social media monitoring tools to discover streets that need to be repaired, bad customer service, smelly CTA stops, and more. The city is teaching other municipalities how to replicate what Chicago is doing.
I learned first-hand how powerful social media monitoring tools can be in my Consumer Insights class in Northwestern’s IMC program. We conducted netnography studies (think ethnography on the web) with a powerful tool by Netbase. In other classes we used other tools like Radian 6. It is amazing that Chicago is becoming so cutting edge!
After the Digital Collective event, I stopped by 1871, the new tech center where we are moving Groovebug HQ. 1871 is an ambitious project that is part of a wider effort to make Chicago a tech powerhouse. I met with Steven Collens and Kevin Willer, two of the guys making 1871 possible. They showed me the space, filled me in on the latest, and made sure I knew about the opening party.
So now, here is the reason why I love Chicago now more than ever. They told me that John Tolva, the city’s new CTO, is actually one of the DJs for the opening party. How cool is that? As a DJ/technologist/Chicagoan/someone-who-just-heard-the-guy-talk-a-couple-hours-before, this really made me feel like I am in the right place at the right time.
I love you Chicago.