OpenAustin.Org [Why Didn't We Think Of This Sooner?]

If you came to Austin Tech Happy Hour last Thursday, you may have been able to catch a sneak peak of something pretty cool as part of Technology Spotlight. Whurley was showing the concept for in advance of its official launch today.

You may remember some of the discussion surrounding the City of Austin giving a contract worth between $700K – $1.5M to a web developer on California for the creation of the city’s new website. Given that Austin is full of people who are talented in the ways of the interweb, why would this need to go to California? would use crowdsourcing, open source, local talent, agile development methods, and displaced web workers to build the city’s website. It wouldn’t be the stagnant Web 1.0 style of most government websites, but a growing, living, community-based web portal. Brewster McCracken was also at happy hour, and I see that he is a member of the Facebook group. Tacit endorsement? We’re not really sure.

Stacey Higginbotham, who is a writer for GigaOm was at Austin Tech Happy Hour. She probably had no idea she was about to get the scoop on a great idea, and at 7:45am the next day created a blog posting about OpenAustin. Lyn over at GeekAustin also had a blog posting on Sunday.

Join the Facebook Group, or follow on Twitter (@openaustin).


About Bryan Menell

Bryan is the Managing Editor for AustinStartup and the CEO of Mahana. He is a co-founder of Capital Factory, an investor and advisor, and runs the popular Austin Tech Happy Hour with his wife.


  1. Now that everyone and their brother has been talking about the City of Austin website, I can’t imagine a more high-level and highly-scrutinized project. It’s destined to fail because everyone thinks they know what is right, when in truth a firm with experience building massive sites is the only way to go. It’s a HUGE job – lots of interaction and wants and needs – the wires alone will be staggering.

    So the idea of farming this job to out-of-work people doesn’t seem right. I’m sure many of the displaced are talented and likely lost their jobs because of client mismanagement by the upper echelon in their agency. But is that a risk worth taking?

    Thanks for starting this discussion and I love the idea of crowdsourcing new features for the site.

  2. “Brewster McCracked was also at happy hour, and I see that he is a member of the Facebook group.”

    Interesting spelling. ;) You might want to fix it.

  3. We’re crowdsourcing the spell checking of the blog now. Thanks for your contribution!