Wednesday, May 25, 2011

App Contest

by Wolf Schneider

Beverly Buchanan outside Santa Fe Complex

BACKSTORY Santa Fe, the app I co-created, just won the Santa Fe App Jam competition in the Freestyle-Crowdsourced category! It’s part of the Mobile Apps Development Challenge going until July from the city of Santa Fe, MIX, and the NM Technology Council.

BACKSTORY Santa Fe had humble beginnings. Two weeks ago, I lunched at New York Deli with a unit publicist friend. What to do until we get onto our next movies? Could we leverage our knowledge about movie and TV production, publishing, popular culture, and Santa Fe into an app? Would others want to know that they lowered the Rio Grande for “All the Pretty Horses” and where that biker bar was in “Wild Hogs”? Did anybody else wonder how mystery novelist Stuart Woods got so well acquainted with Santa Fe Airport?

When we arrived at the App Jam at Santa Fe Complex (a cool hub for techno-entrepreneurs), we hoped we were not destined to be like the twins in “The Social Network” – – the ones who had the initial idea for what became Facebook and found themselves eating Mark Zuckerberg’s dust. Our competitors ranged from 12 to sixtysomething. We got some quick cred when keynote speaker Andrew Stone joked not to rule out the movie publicists. I identified four guys as the primo programmers. Darn, the Gang of Four formed a team together. I tried to interest them in BACKSTORY, but they declined, proffering a frappuccino as they huddled over their laptops. My team (myself, Louise Spencer, Beverly Buchanan, Brooks Walch) took a chattier tact. We brainstormed revenue sources, added an audio component, and our IA mapped out hardwire specs for our pop culture-themed tourism app.

Six teams made it to the end for final presentations to the judges (who included Eric Renz-Whitmore of NM Technology Council and Zane Fischer of MIX), and while nobody cried like Meatloaf, it was pretty intense fielding their questions about populating, user interface, and Layar. BACKSTORY won! Next step: finding a coder.

Santa Fe-based Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, editor of Living West, and consulting editor of Southwest Art. She also blogs at

Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in Artist Studio: Gregory Lomayesva

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