KC duo rocks Kickstarter data, invites others to do the same

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:00 am

There have been about 106,000 Kickstarter projects since 2009 when the site was established. That's a mountain of data to examine and sift through—an appealing challenge to data visualization specialists Nate Allen and Wes Mikel of Kansas City company 4 First Names.

"Our goal was to collect and visualize a data set more complex and popular than the ones we were getting from clients," said Allen on 4 First Names' blog. And because Kickstarter doesn't release data, he said he wrote a scraper to collect what he could.

Built on the video game engine Unity 3D, the Kickstarter Data Project can display everything from trends in number of backers, project success rates and geographic locations of projects. Allen and Mikel have been developing the Kickstarter project on the side for "a little over a year" but have since shifted focus to other ventures. Allen on Monday put out a call to action on the Startup KC Facebook group.

"We still believe in the idea, and I know there's so much more that could be done that I never would have thought of, so I'm opening the source and the data," said Allen.

The project displays data points as light dots—the brighter the area, the higher cluster of data points. For example, when viewing dollar amounts pledged by users, clear bright lines form around multiples of 10 because Kickstarter users won't generally donate $73. A person can control specifications using a standard video game controller—zooming in to view data at the micro level or out to examine larger trends.

But it's always more fun to see things in action. Here's a video of Nate Allen rocking out (using an Xbox guitar controller) to demonstrate the Kickstarter visual data design.


Credits: Logo, demo photo and video from 4 First Names.

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