I wanted to draw your attention to an organization that I and Yahoo! have been supporting that you might want to support, too -- NetSquared. The goal of NetSquared is simple: to help hundreds of thousands of non-profit organizations (NPOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) successfully utilize the empowering capabilities of the Internet to increase their impact and achieve social change.
The NetSquared Mashup Challenge: Hacking for Social Change
For the first time, NetSquared is running a really cool program called the Mashup Challenge in which they are matching up ideas from non-profits and NGOs involved in all sorts of social change to people like you (i.e. developers, product managers, and designers) who have the skills to implement them. I have been helping NetSquared promote the Mashup Challenge (see their recent YDN Theater video) because I think it's a very practical roll-up-your-sleeves way of getting people to work together across many boundaries (company, international, etc) to produce something exciting and useful that benefits the world at large. It's very much in the spirit of our own Yahoo! Hack Day.
The community around NetSquared has already submitted dozens of ideas for theMashup Challenge and the NetSquared community voted for the top 20, which are listed here (there are 21 since there was a tie!). You can see ALL of the ideas here.
How to Participate
I'm working with Billy Bicket, NetSquared's organizer, to recruit Project Leads interested in participating in a 4-week sprint leading up to NetSquared's conference, happening on May 27-28 at Cisco in San Jose, CA.
By contributing to NetSquared in the capacity of Project Lead, participants will be working with a leading social innovator working on a range of challenges including:
1. refining some of their ideas about how the data they are using could be rendered in mashups; and
2. in some cases, building mashups using a variety of APIs, products, or coming up with creative technical solutions to particular problems they are facing.
Project Leads will receive access to all NetSquared Hack Days. The next invite-only event is happening on May 4 at Moscone Center in San Francisco and is hosted by Sun and NetSquared. Project leads will also receive two free tickets to this year's NetSquared Conference.
Here is a quick run-down of the role and expectations for Project Leads and here are the simple next steps if you would like to participate:
1. Scroll through the list of 21 Featured Projects
2. Send Billy Bicket (billybicket -at- yahoo.com) an email with your favorite three (3) featured projects, and confirm your interest in participating by Wednesday, April 30 at noon.
4. Once you send Billy an email, he'll send easy next steps (including link to conference registration) and details about engaging with featured projects for expedient approach and execution.
Bringing It Together: The NetSquared Conference
The Mashup Challenge will culminate in the annual NetSquared Conference on May 27-28 in San Jose. At the conference, project teams will have an opportunity to display and discuss their mashups and attendees will vote to select the top three (this is only several weeks away and some of the ideas are complex, so the projects don't have to be 100% done, just underway). All 20 projects at the conference will receive a share of $100,000 in prize money. The share will be determined by voting at the conference.
It's a good cause, a great opportunity to meet new people, and an even better opportunity to use your various web superpowers. Join a project today!