Personal Cloud Innovation – SXSW 2013 Gold Badge Contest

The Contest is now Over, we’ll be announcing the winners soon.  Thanks for your interest!

I’m giving away a SXSW 2013 Gold Badge! It’ll get you into Interactive and Film, and is worth $1,350.  All I’m asking for is the most innovative idea for personal use of cloud computing.  Enter as many times as you want, the contest closes at 11:59 PM Central Time, Sunday November 25th, 2012. I’ll be announcing the winner at, if you’d like to follow me.  All the entries will be posted here once the contest is over, with the hope that it’ll inspire developers to tackle these problems.

Enter The Contest

The Why

I’m presenting a panel at SXSW 2013, AI Netizens: The State of Agents Online. Before my panel was picked, I bought a Gold Badge, and since speakers attend for free, that leaves me with an extra.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how businesses and startups are using the cloud, but individuals end up just using services, don’t own their own data, and are left out in the cold if the services shut down. I think that’s bad, and I think we need to start working on enabling empowered use of the cloud (where you own the key software and you own the data) with desktop ease of use.  Hopefully this contest will generate some good ideas that will inspire developers.

The Who

The judging panel will be made up of me, Jeff Kramer, and my former compatriots at Polycot (we threw some great SXSW parties back in the day, so it seemed appropriate): Jon Lebkowsky (who runs a web development company, Polycot Associates) and Matt Sanders (who works on big data analytics at Librato).

The What

I’ll be transferring the Gold Badge I purchased to the winner.  SXSW Interactive and Film are March 8-16, 2013 in Austin, Texas, USA.  It’s only good for entry for one, and getting to Austin and finding a place to stay is up to you.  If you win you’ll get to see speakers like Elon Musk, Tim Berners-Lee, Joi Ito, Craig Newmark, Nate Silver, and a whole lot more, not to mention all the great movies and speakers at SXSW Film.  This contest isn’t endorsed by SXSW or any of the judges respective employers.  I paid for the badge out of my own pocket, and I’m giving it away.

The How

We’re looking for innovative ideas for how an individual could use the cloud.  We want to know how computing, storage and software could empower people in ways never before possible.  Some sample ideas:

1. Buy a sequencing of your genome, upload it into cloud storage and using open source software, compare it to general genomes from 1000 Genomes and search for common disease markers on a regular basis.

2. Using small wifi-enabled motion sensing light switches, create a daily/weekly/monthly heatmap of your home’s occupancy, and get regular emails suggesting ways to optimize energy usage based on past trends and upcoming weather underground or NWS weather forecasts.

3. Add a plugin wifi/gps data logger to your car’s cigarette lighter that logs your travel and travel time, and uploads the data to an anonymized storage container after every trip.  A self-discovery protocol (based on iterative DNS naming or some other distributed option) allows you to run a weekly mapreduce program that finds and aggregates similar drivers, sending you a weekly report of suggested route alternatives or departure timing adjustments.

Try to keep your entry to the point, feel free to enter as many times as you’d like (submit one idea per entry).  If the winning entry is similar to others, we’ll pick the earliest submission.

Enter The Contest


Answers to common questions go here, once there are some common questions.  If you have a question, ask in the comments.

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