next steps

The biggest challenge is whether enough developers/designers would generate enough great visualization apps.

The increasing openness of many platforms and API's provides access and opportunity to many developers. And data visualization is being embraced more and more as an innovative form of communicating otherwise 'invisible' information. This network of 'datavizers' is slightly underground but emerging fast. See www.visualcomplexity.com, www.flowingdata.com, www.informationisbeautiful.net and a bunch more bookmarks.

Whatsmore, a generous revenue sharing model (eg, Apple Store offers developers 70%) would provide a strong financial incentive to write and submit apps.

The fact that people can get 'free' images from the apps (buying products is optional) builds in a strong word of mouth component as many people will share their 'digital currency' via their blogs and the like.

It is planned to develop a 'developer beta' platform of lluminance to test the concept. This entails writing the core of an API that saves developers time and effort by providing shortcuts to extracting the social media data they want. They can then focus squarely on the visualization aspects. It is expected that the first cut of the API would be for Flash (later Processing and others), and support Twitter and Facebook data (later digg, delicious, last.fm etc). Once the 'developer beta' is done, it is planned to source a small fixed number of developers/apps (ie 10-15) to trial the developer platform offering.

We could the open up a 'consumer beta' to test how people respond to the concept. At this stage we could also ask people how willing they would be to share/buy the images. A more in-depth next stage of the trial would involve adding printed product e-commerce and distribution to understand paid conversion rates. It would be preferable to establish a partnership for the product distribution (at least initially) with someone like Imagekind, RedBubble or Moo.

That's the plan for August-October 2009. Get in touch if you want to chat further. I'm in London, online at juzmcmuz.com and can be contacted at juzmcmuz AT gmail.com.