How To Avoid A $600mm Writeoff At Taxpayers’ Expense

My partner Brad has a fun post on the Union Square Ventures weblog talking about the $600mm failure of the Census Bureau’s effort to build a handheld census collection device. He suggests that they should think about leveraging the open source hardware and software movement the next time they think about something like this.

Brad says:

This is more than a technology problem. It’s a colossal screw up. But there is an underlying technology problem. There is no easy way to create a purpose built device and integrate it into a new or existing process

That’s what we are hoping to change with our investment in Bug Labs. The consumer electronics business works at scale for things like phones, music players, etc, but not very well for niche applications. We think the open source movement can help solve that problem.