Spot Parking is a startup out of Sydney, Australia with a unique approach to urban parking.
With a database of every parking space in a city, drivers could pay for parking with their cell phones, city officials could digitally regulate permit zones, and driverless cars could one day find their own empty spaces.
The problem: this data doesn't exist.
Previously, Spot had been hiring a couple part-time college students to capture the photo and geo-location of every single parking sign in the city over the course of several weeks.
With success in Sydney and Melbourne, Spot wanted to expand to the United States and asked me to manage the operation in Colorado.
Instead, I proposed Gold Rush, a single-day competitive event in which 5 - 15 teams-of-two race around the city and compete to capture parking signs for cash prizes. Contestants earned a base pay of $20/hr and the fastest teams competed for $600 in bonuses.
Gold Rush was designed to be lightweight and scalable, able to be replicated in any US city regardless of size and managed by a team of just two or three. Because of it's crowdsourced nature, it can even be deployed remotely or in several cities at once.
We ran the pilot Gold Rush Boulder on August 6th, then proved its scalability in Denver on September 3rd. Both Gold Rush events were resounding successes.
Using a finely-targeted social media campaign, we generated 67,000 impressions and nearly 2,000 unique web visitors in one week.
In total, 20 teams applied to participate in the Denver Gold Rush.
We selected ten teams to compete, and on September 3rd, we cataloged every parking space in Downtown Denver and its surrounding neighborhoods.
In just eight hours, our contestants covered 2,100 acres, capturing the information and geo-location of 8,700 parking signs.
Previously, the City of Denver had been quoted a price for parking info in the CBD.
We captured twice as much data for just 2% of the cost.
(and had a whole lot of fun doing it)