The energy at SXSW is electric, a perpetually active circuit of mind-expanding panels, day parties and impromptu conversations. Shareable publisher Neal Gorenflo and I met managers of coworking spaces from around the world, chatted with entrepreneurs motivated as much by social good as profit, and enjoyed plenty of opportunities to talk shop over BBQ and cocktails about the future of collaborative consciousness. Simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating, we came away with a stack of leads on Shareable stories to cover in the weeks and months ahead. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the cool new stuff I came across while at SXSW but couldn’t fit into our liveblogs, all of which can be found at the #SXSW2011 tag.

OpenGovernment is an online clearinghouse for open government data, aggregating information on bills in currently in public legislature, profiles for all the members of a given state’s senate and house, a tagged list of legislated issue areas, and campaign contributions listed by source. This is all public information, never before presented through such a clean, user-friendly interface. A project of the Participatory Politics Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation, the folks behind OpenCongress, the service (which currently serves California, Louisiana, Maryland, Texas and Wisconsin,) is a significant step towards more accessible public data.

Acts of Sharing is an new service for sharing items you own with your community. Taking inspiration from Acts 4:32 from the Bible, “all the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had”, the service takes a unique approach to item-sharing and was a community finalist at SXSW.

One of the most notable presentations at this year’s SXSW was Matt Haughey’s speech about the lessons he’s learned about running online communities over the past 11 years of running Metafilter, one of the most diverse and spirited communities on the web. Generously, he recorded the talk and released it on Vimeo for all to see. It’s a must-watch for anyone who’s interested in what it takes to build a respectful yet vibrant online community.

Congratulations to the fine folks at Neighborgoods, which won the Best Bootstrapped Startup Award in the Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator competition. They were also picked by Advertising Age as one of the “eight startups to love” from SXSW, and are half way to completing their fundraising goal on Kickstarter.

And in case you missed it, be sure to check out the liveblog of our New Sharing Economy panel, featuring Neal, Dori Graff of Itizen, Punsri Abeywickrema Rentalic, Kim Gaskins of Latitude Research, and John Zimmer of Zimride.

Hope to see you next year!

Paul M. Davis


Paul M. Davis

Paul M. Davis tells stories online and off, exploring the spaces where data, art, and civics intersect. I currently work with a number of organizations including Pivotal and

Things I share: Knowledge, technology, reusable resources, goodwill.