First Year of Kasabi

Posted on 12/16/2011 by


Around this time, it’s popular to look back over the year and reminisce about what’s happened, what’s changed, and point theatrically onwards to the new year ahead.

For Kasabi, this kind of look-back post can never again have the same meaning. In 2011, for the first time, we had the chance to show people what we’ve been building. We invited friends to see it, poke it—maybe break it once in a while—and allow a growing community to become that thing all software companies desire… users.

First HackdayI joined Kasabi in January, and the first priority was the launch of our private beta. In March, we invited around 20 people to our offices for a beta-launch hackday:

They’re putting the datasets and access tools through their paces, and are the first people to use the site itself (so they’re also helping us see which bits of the UI work, which don’t, and what’s needed to fuel the Beta development).

Over the following weeks, we slowly added people to help us learn what users want from a data marketplace. We started the developers’ network, and invited people to join in and point out what worked, what didn’t, and how Kasabi could be made better. I am extremely grateful for all the feedback and bug reports we received, and although this time must have looked quiet from the outside, Kasabi’s small team was hardly still.

ConcentrationIn June, the beta was moved out of the safe zone of the guest-list into the Public Beta:

“As a key milestone for the public beta, we’ve added the ability to create and publish your own datasets. Any registered user can now create and publish new datasets and APIs. Signing up to use an API on any dataset is a really simple click-through process.” – Leigh

Over the summer, we began to see users contributing their own datasets and experiments: Egon published a linked chemical dataset called ChEMBL RDF, and John Goodwin experimented with what can be done with linksets between different data sources. And Lin Clark showed how SPARQL Views could be used to pull data from Kasabi to feed a Drupal-powered site.

In July, we joined 20 people crowded into a rather cozy London room to explore and hack over open government data for the first Kasabi hackday open to anyone interested. Tim Davies used Kasabi to publish datasets centered around tracking international aid contributions with the IATI dataset, followed later in the year with the Global Hunger Index.

Autumn went by in a blur, through more events and more code. We hosted a new hackday focused on cultural data:

“The room soon broke into groups focused around ideas for apps, and I was able to move around and see what everyone was planning. As a bit of an experiment, we were joined on a Google+ Hangout by Daniel Koller, who had the distinction of being a disembodied head carried around to each planning table.”

Many of the team spoke at London’s SemTech conference, which was another first, as Kasabi were sponsors and invited people to join us at our very own trade stand to learn more about publishing data.

Last month, Kasabi took another new step beyond the public beta. The team grew, with additional support from Talis, acquiring new job titles and a mass printing of new business cards for the new CEO, CTO, Head of Customer Operations and a crew of engineers to work on Kasabi.

“For the past 18 months Talis has been incubating Kasabi, helping it to grow from an experimental project into a thriving service. This year we’ve taken the service first into private and then public beta, and are making great progress towards a full live release.

We’re now confident that it’s time for Kasabi to grow more rapidly and begin its journey towards becoming a fully-fledged global business. With that in mind Talis is increasing its investment in Kasabi enabling us to grow the team and step up our pace. This means that we’re making some changes to the Kasabi team.”

So, we’re in a good place to start 2012 with a larger team and more resources to work with. I am looking forward to new and better features, and to the development of Kasabi’s commercial marketplace. The rest of the team will have their own highlights from 2011, and will be looking forward their own interesting projects within Kasabi. We all agree, though, that the most important first was you.

From everyone at Kasabi, I’d like to thank you for joining with us in our long list of firsts. I wish you a happy Christmas, and look forward to meeting up and building new things next year!

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