Only a few weeks old, NOLADex.org has become New Orleans’ top image-rich, digital rolodex of the many talented people in New Orleans creative, startup, and tech communities. NOLADex launched at BarCamp NOLA and was created as the conference’s Hack Day Project. We sat down with two of NOLADex’s creators, Matthew Shwery and Matt Tritico, to get some more info.
SBN: Who how did you come up the idea for Noladex?
Shwery: I moved here in April and saw a huge creative community that I never could have spotted easily online. From the 2010 US Census data, New Orleans is one of the fastest growing cities in America, and that growing population is largely made up of us: the Creative class. For a city full of tradition and community, there’s no digital representation of the many talents in New Orleans. [NOLAdex] is an answer to that. A simple tool to inspire connectivity and reflect the talent of a growing city digitally. Noladex spawned out of the creativity of everyone at Barcamp4, really; but the inspiration for the idea came from seeing sites like Prtlnd.com and DesMob.com and wanting to replicate and build upon that idea of showcasing the huge talent in New Orleans. Matt Tritico heard the idea and thought it would be perfect for a community event like Barcamp to build it. For the community, by the community.
SBN: What is the goal? What do you hope to accomplish?
Shwery: The goal was to add to those inspirational sites. We wanted to do something unique or add functionality. So we built it from scratch. Even though it would have been easier to build off of Tumblr or WordPress or some other CMS as a framework, but we jumped in and made it with Ruby on Rails. This year’s goal was to make something inspirational for the creative community.
Tritico: Like Matt said, I hope the project inspires people to get involved. It’s a showcase of all the creative people we have in New Orleans, and once you add yourself, you’re part of the community.
SBN: How did the project come together?
Tritico: This was the main project of this year’s barcampnola second day hack project. We have added this second day project to the typical barcamp formula here in New Orleans because we feel if we have all these talented people all in one place at the same time, it would be a shame not to get them all working together exchanging ideas and creating something new. Every year we attempt to launch a project in a single day. The project is chosen by the barcampnola organizers and must meet the criteria of being: 1. feel good: something we can all work on together and be proud of having contributed to; 2: non-political: we all have different world views and this shouldn’t get in the way of the community effort; 3: maintainability: we cant just create some huge code base and hand it off to some non-profit or other organization and have the barcampnola volunteers disperse after the second day leaving them with nothing. and the most challenging number; and 4: it has to be possible in a single day.
SBN: Where do you take it from here?
Tritico: Matt S, and the creators of the original Prtlnd.com felit it should be kept it simple. and I hope that KISS principle maintains. As Matt S. has often said: its beautiful the way it is. That being said, as mentioned the site was created in one day by a group of about 50 volunteers and it’s not done. It’s got bugs, unimplemented features, and people are suggesting new things everyday. Not to mention, it simply needs to be maintained in order to survive. So, we wanted to make sure the maintainability and sustainability issues were covered and we all decided that the group gnocode, organized by Barrett Conrad, should/could/and would take the project into the future. I am indeed a member, but regardless, it’s a group of talented software developers that love getting together sharing ideas about our scene and working on common projects. So the project is open source, hosted on github and we encourage anyone and everyone to join the effort either on github or in person at gnocode meetings.