Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We've launched 9facts.com

I'm happy to announce the launch of alpha version of 9facts.com - a new and pretty risky project I started nearly 6 months ago (see my blog post about this). 9facts is a social service for sharing and comparing facts related to you, your friends, and people you know.

Xtensive was involved in its creation as co-investor, together with Leonid Volkov.

Home page of 9facts.com displays the topmost
 achievements in your country, city,
and groups you're in, including your friends' group.
The service is focused on local fact rankings: nearly any group of people there has its own fact ranking (top facts). This feature allow users to compare and highlight their own skills in a group of people they belong to (city, country, college, school, company, etc.). On contrary, most of rankings available on the web are global, so 9facts is designed to change this.

Never compare your inside with somebody else's outside. Your true value depends entirely on what you are compared with.
– Bob Wells

The problems we're trying to address:
  • There is no single place on the web, where you can compare yourself with other people by the whole set of metrics that are relevant to you. We are talking about nearly any metrics - e.g. your birth date, height, the number of hours you spent at work during this month, the highest place you've ever visited, the deepest dive you've made, the number of miles you run this week, your reputation on Stack Overflow and so on.
  • Most of the ratings on the web are global, but local ratings seem more important in our life. E.g. what a reputation on Stack Overflow says about a person in general? Almost nothing. But being compared with reputation among developers in his city or in his company it becomes more meaningful. The same can be stated about nearly any metric: almost no one remembers his position in global rating on Stack Overflow, but you'd definitely remember you're #1 (#2, #3) on Stack Overflow in your city or company. 
  • If we're able to compare an arbitrary set of such metrics for arbitrary groups of people in real time (e.g. your productivity measured by RescueTime + the number of LOCs you committed + the number of tasks closed in issue tracker), we bring Google Analytics to the world of achievements and productivity of people. This must be a precious tool for business and it is attractive for people as well, since they can identify and highlight their local or global successes (e.g. attach them to a CV). Moreover, people will use such a tool to compare and fix achievements of their kids.
  • If we're able to fix nearly any facts, we can identify the most popular facts in a particular group of people. And this set of facts nicely describes what's common for this group. E.g. if it's a group of bodybuilders, most of them publish the weight they push, muscle size, etc.; if it's a group of developers, they compare their reputation on Stack Overflow, number of committed lines of code, lists of technologies they use, etc. Travelers might count the number of countries they visited, driving fans - the horsepower of their cars, and so on. Imagine, you're visiting some event and instantly see the most popular activities and achievements for the whole group of people there. IMO, that's cool!
So that's what 9facts should finally evolve to: a tool allowing you to share and compare arbitrary (but mainly measurable) facts about your own and about other people. Currently we're just in the beginning - "About 9facts" page describes the current state of the project. The limitations it has now include:
  • Absence of an API allowing third-party apps to push facts with measurable data to it, although there are few integrated data providers grabbing some facts from Facebook, Twitter, Stack Overflow and RescueTime. Also, you can enter the facts manually there - our presentation explains what's so unique in this part.
  • Logging of facts with data sequences (i.e. data change charts) is not yet implemented.
  • Some of essential social features aren't added yet - e.g. there is no messages, notifications about your high positions in tops and so on.
  • UI/UX certainly needs to be improved as well - some actions and implied results there are far from being obvious.
The good news is that the service already works, and you already can compare yourself with the people nearby you (or in your city, country and so on). This can be done in 3 simple steps:
We'd highly appreciate if you share your impression with us by sending an email to info@9facts.com or leave a feature request @ UserVoice.

What makes 9facts attractive for developers right now, and why we announce it here? 9facts allows you to create a single page containing the most important information about you, and a significant part of this information can be gathered and updated automatically:
  • The time you spend working, as well as your productivity measured by RescueTime
  • Your reputation on Stack Overflow
  • The number of recommendations on LinkedIn you have
  • Upcoming: your VCS statistics, the list of technologies and tools you're actually using, etc. - as you may find, software developers is one of groups we'd like to attract first. 
So 9facts allows you to create your online profile showing how you're compared with other people by each metric that is relevant to you. Also, it's a nice way to know something new about people around you - e.g. you can find out who in your city has the largest number of friends on Facebook (enable Facebook fact provider), or made the highest parachute jump (add this fact). Take a look at top facts for "Yekaterinburg" keyword to get the imagination of this. 

9facts already won a competition for being presented to Steve Blank at Start-up Rocket - we were among 8 Russian startups selected by PwC, StartupPoint and i-Accelerator for this event. More information about our progress can be found in 9facts blog.