{ random thoughts about startups, social media, and technology }

Dull thoughts in a sharp world.

This is Water

Via Rahmin:

User interfaces designed to trick people


Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight

Steven Johnson on Innovation

Startup Lessons Learned by Drew Houston

My foursquare checkins embedded

Eric Wu’s Foursquare by WeePlaces.com.

The visualization of noise

hangingspics1234IMG_0291IMG_0572IMG_0572Noise Complaints are the
Noise Complaints are the
“No.1 quality
“No.1 quality-
-life issue
life issue
for New  York residents”for New  York residents”

Noise complaints are the “No. 1 quality-of-life issue for New York residents”.

For the the past few months, we’ve interviewed home buyers, renters, and movers to identify the important factors when deciding on where to live.  We knew of the obvious ones, safety, commute, price, and social.  But in our initial brainstorm, we missed a pretty obvious factor… noise.

Interview after interview, movers expressed concern about the noise of freeways, cable cars, bars and restaurants, etc.

So at Movity.com, we decided to take on noise as a data set we would own.

At first, we explored different modeling avenues and complex software.  But we decided for the v1 to “streetview” it, collect the data ourselves, and get feedback based on data for one neighborhood… the Tenderloin.

The Setup


In the first test, we had a few recorders stolen (they are $200 a piece).  So we took precautions and on each recorder, clearly stating, “Device is being tracked by the SFPD”.

The Hangings


In a partnership with Arup and Stamen Design, we contributed and worked on the noise project for the CityCentered Festival. We hung decibel readers at major intersections in the Tenderloin and gather data over a weekend and weekday.

After being questions by the police three times,  and harassed by local business owners, bums, and the occasional drug dealer, we gathered decibel readings at 13 intersections, resulting in 1.6 million data points.

Our v.1 of the visualization at Tendernoise.Movity.com. Sha literaly built this is 1.5 days.

Our Vision


Moving into a bad area can greatly affect one’s quality of life.  Our goal at Movity is to give home buyers and renters the data and content they want before making a massive financial commitment. We hope a clear understanding of noise is one of those data points.

From this initial data set, we can draw quite a few conclusions on how much noise is generated from bars, munis, cable cars, fire trucks, and people hanging out.  We’ll share our findings soon.

Up Next for Us

1.  Improvements to make the data consumable, comparable, and rankable.  Ie, answer the questions: which intersections are the loudest, what times is it the loudest, how does this compare to other neighborhoods in the city, how does this affect the quality of life?

2.  Gather data in the rest of the city.

3.  Build out a sustainable process for recollecting data and ensuring accuracy and granularity.

We just started and need feedback!  Do you care about noise?  How would you want it visualized?  What other factors influence your next home?  Please email me at eric@movity.com.

Shout out to Andrew Kitchell at 30words and Sha Hwang for making this project happen so quickly.


Two hardest parts of running a business – Marc Andreessen

Forward to 25:50 – 26:16

1. Recruiting

2. Talking people out of quitting.

The future of UI

About Me

I'm a twenty something entrepreneur living in San Francisco. Current Founder of Movity.com, previously founded RentWiki.com, and a real estate investment trust. I've spoken at NMHC, AIM conference, Harvard Entrepreneurship Conference, and Multi-housing World, and was named one of BusinessWeek's Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25. I enjoy great design, all relevant and irrelevant technology, reading, and good people.

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