May 14, 2009

Hack to the future

David Filo is an elusive guy. While his Yahoo! co-founder friend Jerry Yang went through the wringer as the public face of disgrace in recent times – we hear little of the other billionaire geek behind this once-mighty web property. But in fact, as this article in the Guardian shows, he has remained a champion of creativity and technical innovation within Yahoo! Appearing at the recent Open Hack Day in London he presided over a showcase of clever technological wizardry showing how there are still many new ways to creatively use data to surprise and wow us. One great example is Dan W who presented a mashup of Last.fm and Oyster Card (travel pass) data that shows listening habits on the London Underground. Check out his project here.

While this might be too technical for some people to grasp (I’m one of them) what this kind of event does is challenge developers to push the boundaries of the web. Social networking would not be the phenomenon it is today without the hard work of people like these guys who do magical things with data then turn it into something simple for the masses. Hard to get your brain around some of these innovations but worth the effort to see the future potential.