Hallrank: Simplifying and Quantifying Market Research

While churning through startup ideas and moving some down the field, I find myself having countless decision points along the way. Decisions that are very market-dependent. I can often make a call, but some things I would ideally want input from my potential customers or trusted advisors. I wanted a way to poll individuals, making the process painless for them and capture the data in such a way that I could easily distill the answers to my questions. Hallrank is the set of tools I’ve built to help me along the way.

Hallrank has a number of tools that can be used to solve your problems. One common task I encounter is choosing a name or selecting an ideal graphic. I’m not necessarily looking for a choice that wins me over, but rather resonates well with my users. One popular method I use with Hallrank is condorcet voting or instant run-off voting (IRV), which are voting strategies where individuals rank-order their preference and an “optimal” candidate is chosen not just a simple majority rule. There is also a paired comparison strategy offered in Hallrank, where users decide their preference between two options based on some declared criterion. After a series of comparisons detailed quantitative results are able to be generated. Regardless of the outcome, I’m not just interested in consensus and Hallrank offers other benefits beyond consensus building.

Design by committee is terrible. I am usually not just interested in finding the highest ranked or averaged selection. There are many other facets to consider including whose opinion I’m considering. Hallrank allows you to tag your respondents according to specific demographic or user groups for later data analysis. So, Group A prefers item X and hates item Y, while Group B prefers Y. Hallrank also allows you to identify highly contentious items as well as those selections that are safe and boring–no one hates them, but no one particularly loves them.

I’ve found the tool to be extremely helpful and I want to be able to offer it to others and see how they are able to use it in their work. Check it out at:


[imported from hallrank blog ]
[Updated Hallrank URL]

Django in the Triangle

Jacob Kaplan-Moss recently wrote about the growing size of the Django community. It seems as though we are starting to feel some Django-related growing pains here in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. Given recent developments on the Triangle Zope & Python User Group (TriZPUG) mailing list I thought I would take some time to discuss the current state of Django in the Triangle, who’s using it, and what is in the pipeline.

Django’s growing popularity

First off, it’s important to note that Django adoption is growing nationwide. The included chart shows the number of posted “Django” jobs found on Indeed.com over the past few years. Notice a trend? Jacob Kaplan-Moss estimates the Django community may have grown somewhere on the order of 2-3x from 2007 to 2009. I definitely believe it and wouldn’t be surprised if it were higher. Between the volume of phone calls from recruiters and the number of people I run into using or talking about Django its popularity is definitely on the rise in the Triangle.

Django jobs graph

Django in Action

Here’s a short list of shops in the Triangle who use Django in their day-to-day development:

I know there are other closeted folks out there using Django without full corporate blessing or knowledge. If there are other groups out there who would like to make this list please let me know.

A Triangle Django Users Group?

A new Google Group TriDjUG (twitter: @TriDjUG) was recently created in order to help foster a healthy Django community. At the same time some good discussion erupted from the TriZPUG mailing list. Why bother splitting our local Python community? While the intention was never to split away, some good cases were made for operating under the umbrella of TriZPUG. Strengthen the Python community. One exciting sentiment that came from TriZPUG members was that non-Django Python users were interested in Django and wanted to learn more during regular TriZPUG meetings. That would give us a captive audience at an already catered and organized event. Sounds good.

Surely there is some Django-specific fun to be had… For starters, we’re looking to sponsor local Django-related sprints maybe including one for the upcoming Django 1.2 release. For our community building/growing merit badges a couple of us are developing a Django Bootcamp; let’s continue to grow.

So it sounds like it’s up to us local Djangonauts to step up, participate in TriZPUG, and build greater awareness. People want to hear about our technologies, so let’s share. If you have other ideas we’ld love to hear them. If you haven’t yet introduced yourself swing by the mailing list or irc (#trizpug) and say hello.