A few years ago, in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, a bar called The Taj opened. What was unusual about it was not so much the fact that it was the only bar in the eastern part of Afghanistan, but the method of payment: data. In brief, if Taj visitors had useful data like images, GPS plots, and so forth, this information could be traded for a beer.
Here’s a photo of the bar (and some data) from 2010.
Sometimes even well-meaning people need to be motivated in order to convene around a problem. Sure, it’s a bit of a “bribe,” but so what? In the end, something great gets done.
Beer-for-data in Jalalabad has inspired others to do similar things. One effort I know about (which I’m fairly certain has some of the same people involved) is Beer-for-Data: Arlington, VA (near Washington, DC), hosted at least in part by geo-expert Andrew Turner.
Now, a new twist on trading beer for favors, also from the Washington, DC area.
CEO of experiential and digital agency iStrategyLabs Peter Corbett recently announced Beers-for-Betas, in which guests (in this case, up to 20), volunteer to beta-test new apps from local Startups in exchange for beer. (No word yet on what brand(s) of beer there will be.)
On June 4th at their headquarters in Georgetown, the first startup to take part in Beers-for-Betas is Personal. See the iStrategyLabs blog for more details.
Dr. Mark Drapeau is the director of innovative engagement for Microsoft public sector, based in Washington, DC.
Images from Wikipedia and the blog geoiQ.