Thoughts On How NY Tech Can Best Respond – #SandyVolunteer #SandyCoWorking #NYTechResponds

A couple thoughts on how NY Tech can respond to Sandy. Four points

  1. Make the response about all 5 boros, not just downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. Some of the hardest hit areas are parts of NYC such as Breezy Point, Queens. It’ll be important we develop responses that consider all of New York City. We should also consider how we can help greater NYC, especially hard hit areas in NJ.
  2. Focus on what we do best (tech), but also focus on immediate, concrete, hands-on needs. We should marshall all of our tech power expertise to creatively solve difficult problems. We should also, though, be visible and active in doing direct actions such as donating blood.
  3. Coordinate across a wide swatch of organizations, large and small, and regardless of political bent. This is the time for everyone to work together. This is also a great opportunity to demonstrate the power of the open internet.
  4. Build solutions to long term problems and durable platforms. Right now is triage — immediate human services as well as short-term technical problems such as connectivity and basic power. Soon though, focus should shift to creating durable platforms and applications to solve long-term problems. Some of these that jump to mind include
    • Damage / flood Surveys
    • Insurance and federal assistance Claims
    • Small business support (helping businesses get back on-line – restoring connectivity, getting DBs back-up, etc.)
    • School and municipality support (similar to small business)

Hackathon in the Works #SandyVolunteer #SandyCoWorking #NYTechResponds

Serendipity resulted in my having a chance to meet in person with Tony Bacigalupo (@tonybgoode) and Jason Kende(@jasonkende) this evening in Brooklyn to talk about coordination re the NY Tech community response to Sandy. There is a hackathon in the works for tomorrow, likely to be followed up by a larger hackathon later this week or weekend. The purpose of the hackathons will be to get as many people as possible in one place to collaborate on different technical solutions that can be collaboratively developed together. Part of the work will be coding, but lots too will be coordination via Google Docs, social media, etc. I’ll post more details as they develop. 

Regarding the larger hackathon we’d like to do later this week, when things are hopefully a bit closer to some form of more normal, we’re thinking we will do that as a fundraiser as well. Essential idea is we’ll ask individuals and companies to “pledge” to developers. Instead of pledging, say, by the mile to a marathon runner raising money for a worthy cause, in this case we’d ask people to pledge a developer by the hour. So the more developers, and the more people/organizations pledging, the more solutions we’ll develop and the more money we’ll raise. The donations will likely be donated to a charity such as the American Red Cross; we may have a blood drive there as well.

Here’s how you can help:

  • If you have a location that could host 20-30 developers tomorrow, and/or 50+ later this week, let us know. For tomorrow, we’re thinking Prospect Heights/Park Slope area (high ground that has electricity). TBD on the weekend. We need a location that has Wi-Fi that is both high bandwidth and reliable.
  • If you’d like to volunteer to participate, sign up at http://bit.ly/hurricanetechvolunteers (being able to code is NOT a pre-requisite)
  • If you’d like to sponsor – either individual developers or the event itself, send Tony (tony@nwo.co) and/or myself (runderwood5@gmail.com) an e-mail.
  • If you are in another city (San Francisco, we’re looking at you) and would like to host a similar hackathon to raise money for Sandy relief and help us develop solutions to some of the technical challenges we’re facing let us know.
More details to follow soon.

Hackathon in the Works #SandyVolunteer #SandyCoWorking #NYTechResponds

http://www.nytechresponds.org/2012/10/sandyvolunteer-recoversorg.html

Justin Wedes (@justinwedes) has set up #SandyVolunteer and in particular the sites https://lowereastside.recovers.org/ and https://redhook.recovers.org/ to help coordinate responses in those communities. Please check out these sites and if you are in a position to do so, volunteer.

http://www.nytechresponds.org/2012/10/sandyvolunteer-recoversorg.html

Sandy: NY Tech’s Time to Lead and Step Up

Over the last few years, and driven by an amazing array of people, the NY technology sector (by which I mean broadly the technologies companies as well as digital media, interactive agencies, VCs, and startups, along with various attendent professional service firms that work with these companies) has “blown up.”

Sandy has now delivered a serious blow to our home city. We, the NY tech community, now must step up to help lead and drive the recovery. NYC has given us much, we now must give back.

I have spoken with a number of people today active in the tech sector in NYC. The good news is there are a lot of people who are already getting going on the response and the different ways in which the tech sector can help out. Some specific ideas I had include:

  • Blood drives at the various shared work spaces / incubators. Many of them are centrally located and have lots of foot traffic. Obviously this is dependent on both the state of the actual buildings in which these work spaces exist (I understand at least two were flooded) and the availability of transit, but there is always a need for blood, and the need will remain.
  • Some form of hackathon/fundraiser to both raise funds and develop some solutions to help drive the recovery. Ask for donations for every hour people code, and then have folks work to code/develop various platforms that can be used to lead and coordinate the response.

These are just a couple quick ideas. I’d like to hear what others think are ways for us to best respond. This is the time to crowdsource great ideas.

I understand groups such as NYTM will be sending out info soon on what they are doing to lead the response. Stay tuned.

Rob Underwood
@brooklynrob
runderwood5@gmail.com

Sandy: NY Tech’s Time to Lead and Step Up

Hackathon in the Works #SandyVolunteer #SandyCoWorking #NYTechResponds

NOVEMBER 2 – HACKATHON UPDATE: Based on a number of concerns that have been raised, we’re thinking we will delay a hackathon until at least the week after next. See http://nytechresponds.wordpress.com/about/ and a longer explanation at http://nytechresponds.blogspot.com/2012/11/nytechresponds-day-3-wrap-up-hackthon.html

Serendipity resulted in my having a chance to meet in person with Tony Bacigalupo (@tonybgoode) and Jason Kende (@jasonkende) this evening in Brooklyn to talk about coordination re the NY Tech community response to Sandy. There is a hackathon in the works for tomorrow, likely to be followed up by a larger hackathon later this week or weekend. The purpose of the hackathons will be to get as many people as possible in one place to collaborate on different technical solutions that can be collaboratively developed together. Part of the work will be coding, but lots too will be coordination via Google Docs, social media, etc. I’ll post more details as they develop. 

Regarding the larger hackathon we’d like to do later this week, when things are hopefully a bit closer to some form of more normal, we’re thinking we will do that as a fundraiser as well. Essential idea is we’ll ask individuals and companies to “pledge” to developers. Instead of pledging, say, by the mile to a marathon runner raising money for a worthy cause, in this case we’d ask people to pledge a developer by the hour. So the more developers, and the more people/organizations pledging, the more solutions we’ll develop and the more money we’ll raise. The donations will likely be donated to a charity such as the American Red Cross; we may have a blood drive there as well.

Here’s how you can help:

  • If you have a location that could host 20-30 developers tomorrow, and/or 50+ later this week, let us know. For tomorrow, we’re thinking Prospect Heights/Park Slope area (high ground that has electricity). TBD on the weekend. We need a location that has Wi-Fi that is both high bandwidth and reliable.
  • If you’d like to volunteer to participate, sign up at http://bit.ly/hurricanetechvolunteers (being able to code is NOT a pre-requisite)
  • If you’d like to sponsor – either individual developers or the event itself, send Tony (tony@nwo.co) and/or myself (runderwood5@gmail.com) an e-mail.
  • If you are in another city (San Francisco, we’re looking at you) and would like to host a similar hackathon to raise money for Sandy relief and help us develop solutions to some of the technical challenges we’re facing let us know.