Omawho aims to "keep Omaha's creative community familiar"

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Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 12:00 am

In addition to the standard view (above), Omawho has a "quiz mode" in which names disappear off the page.

If you've ever struggled to recall the name of someone you recently met, then you can relate to Sumeet Jain, the co-creator of Omawho.

"When I moved to Omaha a couple years ago, I started meeting a lot of people—and I couldn't always remember their names. So I wanted a way to put faces to names," Jain (left) said in an email interview. "That's the first reason I had for building Omawho."

The second? It's a sign of his gratitude for what he calls the city's accessible and empowering community.

"I'm proud to be a part of such an active and close-knit community. I think a lot of us feel that way, so Omawho is a declaration of that pride," Jain said.

Launched in Febraury, Jain describes Omawho as a "face book" for Omaha's creative community, a gallery of the faces, names and biographies of the city's designers, developers, artists and others. The site is the work of Big Wheel Brigade, an Omaha-based software development company run by him and Rahul Gupta, who resides in San Francisco.

Jain said Omawho isn't modeled after a similar site elsewhere, but since he began the project, he's learned of others. He pointed to Portland, Maine, Portland, Ore., and Des Moines as good examples.

Omawho's inspired others, too.

After Jain open-sourced the code, someone in Sioux City, Iowa, launched Siouxwho. When former Omahan Gabe Kangas discovered the code, he didn't create a site for his new place of residence, San Francisco, instead he created a destination for those with a similar story, "I Lived in Omaha." There are sites in the works for Boulder, Colo., and Orange County, Calif., too, Jain said.

"It's energizing to see the code being used in other ways and places," he said, noting the individuals creating the sites also are providing feedback that has already improved the project's code.

On top of the faces, names and bios, Omawho has an events section where users can discover who will be at an event—see who's attending Big Omaha—and a quiz feature that removes names in order to give users like Jain another way to learn names.

The goal of Omawho, Jain said, is to "keep Omaha's creative community familiar." In the future, he hopes to make it easy for other communities to do the same.


Credits: Screenshot from Omawho. Sumeet Jain photo courtesy of Jain.

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