Some of you may remember my previous business, Verifiable.com, which was a cloud service that enabled users to upload data and turn it into pictures.
Verifiable.com has been running in read-only mode since I pivoted the business in February of 2010 to start SaneBox. My theory was that so long as the data on Verifable was useful and didn’t require support staff, I would leave it. And remarkably the system has run unattended for all this time; answering questions about unemployment, housing, pollution, prices, concrete production, etc…
For those interested in why I chose to pivot the business - here is my original write up on the mistakes made in that passionate car crash.
Well… in that time I have gotten 2 nibbles for the software. Both required documentation and staff to close and I couldn’t see allocating scarce infrastructure to that **small** sale when those resources were better served building SaneBox. Ahhh the joy of a small team and a laser beam focus.
But, the water shed moment has arrived.
Today, I put a ticket into our system to close down http://verifiable.com except for the homepage. We are updating all software instances to the latest version of Ubuntu and it is just too hard to worry about Verifiable anymore. Updating unique gems and such is simply a distraction that we can’t afford right now.
I’m sad. Creating Verifiable required a **lot** of passion and money and time and effort. But, it wasn’t as good an idea as SaneBox ( a pay service that saves you time by filtering your email). For the record, pivoting was the right thing to do, having a business that has lots of active users who pay for the service is way more fun.
Everyone is now talking about big data, big data, big data. So, my timing might have been a little early. But, I still don’t see the insightful visualizations that would make big data meaningful to the universe. And it was those visualizations that we wanted to bring to the universe. And those visualizations still require more skill and more experience and better tools than most people have. Each NYTimes graphic is still being generated as a one-off by highly, highly, highly skilled professionals with access to extremely expensive and proprietary data that has been laboriously cleaned.
And finally, in a world where most major Republican presidential candidates are running successfully against “science”, I find it hard to believe that the tide has changed in favor of big data or little data in any kind of mass market way.
I will try to find a quiet couple of hours to upload the Verifiable software to github. I’m not sure that anyone will find it useful, but if you want a turn-key, graphic generating, data massaging engine you will find it there.
And here is my last verifiable.com wish, that all of you within the sound of my keystrokes go and find the actual data behind some societal issue and develop a scientific opinion on it. Especially those who would vote for a presidential candidate that doesn’t believe in climate change and doesn’t believe in evolution.
And run don’t walk to http://sanebox.com - we save the average user 2 hours per week. Don’t you have something better to do than spend all that time on your email?