The Pragmatic Hackathon - Lean Customer Development for Data Products with the US Census Bureau

Interested in starting a company? It is summertime, the time for sequels. Our first event with the US Census Bureau was such a success that we are having a follow up event as part of the National Day of Civic Hacking.

In our first Census Event, we had Census data experts come and talk about the data that the US Census Bureau has available and how it could potentially be used to start a company. During this event, it was uncovered that Census has a number of data consumers that have legitimate problems around the Census data that they consume; these companies could use help and this represented a very legitimate business opportunity.

At this event, we are going to bring in actual Census data consumers to discuss their data-related problems. Why? Because customer development and finding the data-product market fit are the hard parts of starting a company. By providing access to potential customers who have very specific problems around open data sets, we are trying to lower the barriers for enterprising individuals and teams to start companies. We sincerely hoping that teams will form to address these issues and potentially commercialize their solutions.

If you want, think of this as a practical hackathon. Instead of spending the weekend building a small application or website or data visualization, spend a few hours understanding real, addressable business problems that can be commercialized. We will leave it to you and your team to build the solution on your own time but will still provide drinks and the pizza.

Oh yeah, time to mention the last carrot we have to dangle. We will be an official part of the National Day of Civic Hacking. That means that those industrious teams that jump in to solve a problem and that can assemble something interesting by the end of the weekend, could get access to national level press.

Questions, please email Sean Murphy through or via Twitter @SayHiToSean.