Farmington High School grad wants to build a sports community online
There's no shortage of ways to get Minnesota Vikings scores as the touchdowns happen, and major college sports get exhaustive coverage. But Josh Pierce has sporting events on a smaller scale in mind with the business he's trying to launch.
Pierce, a 2006 graduate of Farmington High School, wants to build a system that could eventually allow people to get instant updates on every game at every level.
Called Scoreburner, the business Pierce is building with his wife and a friend is a little bit like a cross between Facebook and the local sports page. A user who's at a game can create a feed and provide score updates to any other user who chooses to follow that feed. It's a setup Pierce believes is particularly useful for high school sports, which don't always get the same kind of immediate coverage as larger events.
The advantage Scoreburner has over other social networking sites is you don't have to know somebody at the game to find out what's going on.
"If you were a high school student you could share the scores of the high school volleyball game as it happens," said Pierce, who said the idea for Scoreburner came to him as he was looking for updates on FHS baseball games. "It's always been one of my passions, the whole open information aspect of the Web."
Pierce has been an avid user of other social media sites. He's active on Facebook and contributes frequently to online encyclopedia Wikipedia. He posts videos on YouTube and loves sharing links to information he thinks other people will find interesting.
He sees Scoreburner as a logical extension of that passion for information sharing.
Pierce attended Brown College after graduating from FHS. He recently moved back to Farmington and works as a software developer. He estimates he and a friend each put in 30 to 40 hours per week on Scoreburner in addition to their day jobs. They've paid for expenses out of their own pockets.
They've already got a basic site up and running. Users can sign up for accounts and see what everything's about. Pierce hopes to have a more polished site available by early 2012. He hopes eventually the direction of the site will be inspired by the users and how they take to it.
"That's one of our ultimate goals, is to make the site a user-formed site," he said. "It's not necessarily for us. It's for the people, and we want people to use it the way they use it. We want it to work the way they want it to work."
To help get things up and running Pierce and his partners are soliciting donations through Kickstarter, an online fundraising clearninghouse designed to help young businesses build support. People who donate get bonuses like custom icons and t-shirts depending on how much they give. As of Tuesday afternoon, the project had collected $305 toward its goal of $10,000. For more information visit the project's Kickstarter page.
Pierce said they need the money to pay for web hosting, which can be expensive for a site that anticipates the kind of social interaction Pierce hopes to see.
There have already been some tests of the system with NFL games, but Pierce has his sights sent on lower levels, at least to start. He sees plenty of room for the site to grow later.
"Eventually we'd like this to be the place people go to share sports," he said. "We're obviously dreaming big as far as that goes. We figure if you keep your goals high it motivates you even more."