A lot has happened since I posted that "We Bought a House!", and a lot of it has been pretty exciting, so I thought I would write this update to share the story.
One of the reasons I wrote that post was because of all the interest I was getting in my "Neighbourhoods" spreadsheet from friends and colleagues that I mentioned it to. Many people had requested a version of the spreadsheet that they could use themselves to help them determine where to buy their own house. Unfortunately, the spreadsheet wasn't the most user-friendly tool. One of my hopes in writing the blog post was that, in reading about my method, interested people might be able to create their own customized analysis. I'm not sure how many people ended up doing so, but the post definitely brought a lot more attention to my project than I was expecting (well beyond friends and family)!
Where @whiverwill deconstructs #yeg & ranks each 'hood, through the smart application of #opendata:http://t.co/Wg99wbhDIq@SpacingEdmonton— matt dance (@mattdance) December 8, 2014
This is so nerdy and pretty awesome. I want Trevor to help me buy a house! http://t.co/Gb7hbjIMoH #yegre— Jarrett Campbell (@jarrettcam) December 9, 2014
Big data, excel and real estate. Purchasing a house in #yeg based on a formula of values. http://t.co/d1QWydRzvQ (via @jarrettcam)— Dave Onishenko (@onishenko) December 9, 2014
@whiverwill Nice Work. Now factor in the influencers and you'll see how we are about to enter a Buyer's market for a short period— Don R. Campbell (@DonRCampbell) December 8, 2014
This broader interest led to big name Edmonton open data guru, David Rauch, contacting me and inviting me to present about my neighbourhood ranking spreadsheet at an Open Edmonton event (now called BetaCity YEG).
Presentation by @whiverwill at out first #2015 meeting of Open Edmonton. So excited pic.twitter.com/F9Pv7SDWZJ— BetaCityYEG (@BetaCityYEG) January 22, 2015
This event was a great way to discover what was happening in the open data community locally and to connect with other people with similar aspirations! At this meet-up, I was also encouraged to attend the annual Open Data Day Hackathon hosted by EPL.
Who wants to build a customizable neighbourhood ranking site based on http://t.co/sfEhI7nGg6 at the #hackathon tomorrow at @EPLdotCA? #yeg— Trevor Prentice (@whiverwill) February 21, 2015
All this interest and encouragement was definitely leading me to consider more seriously the prospect of building a web-app aimed at making it easy for anyone to do a similar neighbourhood ranking analysis based on their own personal priorities. Not being a professional coder, I thought the Open Data Day Hackathon would be a great way to connect with a few people who were. Not to mention the opportunity to further gauge the market for this type of application.
Eleven people ended up joining my team and contributing in some way to the project on the day of the hackathon! By the end of the day I had great insight into tools that would help me take the idea to the next level, and was convinced it was worthwhile. We had created many things related to my proposal, in nearly as many different directions as there were people on the team.
Trevor talks with coders about making a tool for choosing neighbourhood to live in based on various data. #odd2015 pic.twitter.com/ZUKtARi1GK— City of Edmonton (@CityofEdmonton) February 21, 2015
After the hackathon it was necessary for me to re-focus on my specific vision, and build an interactive web-application from scratch, using some of the tools I had learned about. It wasn’t long before ‘Hood Rank, the site I had created, was featured on CTV News (twice), CBC Radio and CBC News, among others:
How would your home rank according to criteria important to your family? See how it works at 6. @ctvedmonton pic.twitter.com/iZObxC7fWS— Desiree Melenka (@DezMelenkaCTV) April 6, 2015
Later that year, I came across a new startup company with a tool similar to ‘Hood Rank. I had an opportunity to chat with a couple of their lead people (at Startup Edmonton’s Launch Party) and discovered that their goals and aspirations were very closely aligned with mine: helping people use data and science to determine where to live in Edmonton based on their specific personal preferences. This company also had many of the resources and expertise I was aiming to build into ‘Hood Rank, such as a successful real estate agent (Elisse Moreno, of RE/Max Excellence) and a team of people.
After a few months and meetings, I’m happy to announce that Home Tribe has officially purchased ‘Hood Rank! The Home Tribe Match function is a great tool that uses answers to a series of simple questions to help people to not only find their ideal neighbourhood but also their perfect home. I’m also happy to be working with Home Tribe on an ongoing basis to help bring even more attention to all sorts of cool data and the exciting insights we can glean from it!