No one cares about your crappy (Gov 2.0) app

As I read Gov 2.0 retrospectives and predictions, I can’t help but think of iStrategyLabs CEO Peter Corbett’s ‘No One Cares About Your Crappy Web App’ Ignite talk from July, and what it means for 2010.

In 2010, the Gov 2.0 community needs to think harder about how this movement will bridge economic disparity. Open data, open source, social media, transparency and collaboration are great, but look around the room at the people it serves and ask yourself, ‘how is this bridging the digital divide?’

I’m not saying Gov 2.0 isn’t accomplishing this on some scale. I’m saying there needs to be more of a conscious effort to do so. There needs to be consideration as to how this is catering to more than just the iPhone-wielding, Twitter-tweeting community, or we risk further alienating those who need government most.

Is it Net neutrality? Free iPhones? $10 laptops? I don’t know, but I hope you do, and I hope you do something about it in 2010.

If you’re a developer, designer, marketing expert or aspiring social entrepreneur, think about what Peter has to say:

Follow your passion. If you do that, right, the money will accumulate. You don’t have to worry about that, but what you’re gonna do, is that you’re going to accumulate so much more social capital over time than you even know what to do with, and it will be so much more important than the money you’ve ever accumulated.

At the end of his talk, Peter asks the audience to raise their hands “to actually do things that matter, instead of stuff that’s just a crappy Web app that doesn’t do anything worth doing anyway.”

You raising your hand?

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh, co-founder/CEO of ProudCity and co-host of the podcast, The Government We Need. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at

4 Responses

  1. On the subject of being more inclusive with open gov / civic technology we can always put more emphasis on old school forms of communication: in person conversations and telephone calls. Technology is actually making it easier to bridge some of the capabilities of the web with more old-school familiar mediums and venues. One example of this is how normal phone calls are becoming increasingly easy to integrate with more sophisticated technology. Here’s a good overview of that:

  2. Peter’s talent and passion is so moving. No one can come close. He’s real and genuinely understands this niche more than anyone I have talked to. Two thumbs way up!!

  3. I share your views and recently posted on my blog about this. Amongst other things, I said “Social networks can play a key role in connecting individuals and organizations that, in turn, touch people in need. Be they citizens in a township, or an elderly citizen with cognitive impairments, the crux of the matter is how the people who are closest to them (a voluntary group, a relative) can be more effective at helping them”. So maybe we are not addressing (all) the right people.


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