One of the great things about going to school at Oxford is the crazily large amount of activities going on at anytime. There is even a joke that Oxford students are tested on their ability to fit in a large amount of studying in between all the other activities such as interesting talks by speakers from every field of life, UK politicians and foreign presidents, social gatherings and BOPs, debates and quizzes, idea pitches and business plan competition.
So it was that as if I did not already have enough going on, I decided to get involved in the 2011 “ Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford” Appathon at the Said Business School.
Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK) is an annual event aimed at supporting pioneers of the most disruptive consumer internet and green technologies. The event involves a series of Appathons to be held at six universities including London, Cambridge and the University of Oxford. The idea is to build consumer-facing web and mobile applications, powered by government data.
The Appathon in Oxford was held on the 15th and 16th of October at Said Business School. There, I took part in a ‘coding competition’ on recently released government data sets in order to build applications using platforms supported by a diverse range of partners (Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple and Nokia). The aim is to produce high impact applications to unlock the power of public data to help “rewrite the rules of the Economy 2.0”.
Teams formed at the Appathon had until midnight of October 23rd in which to continue working on their apps and to submit them centrally to the SVC2UK National Appathon Competition.
Nine UK participants will win a trip to Silicon Valley, followed by a visit to SXSW in Austin. Ten regional winning teams will be invited to a TechCity gala dinner at Ravensbourne College as well as other events in London for Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Overall , it was an interesting experience, and at the end of the week, my team created the Uni2Jobs app which leverages government data to help guide students in making career decisions, especially understanding how their choice of course and university could affect their future earnings.
We may not end up winning, but it was fun to be part of the experience, and putting together the 5-minute video below. In all it also showed that a lot of great things can be achieved when you have DATA! (African governments, take note)