A few weeks ago TechCrunch published an article describing the Government IT market and the cartel associated with it.
Grupo Reforma, an important media outlet in Mexico, made public this week that the Political Coordination Board of the Mexican Congress signed the contract number DGAJ-001/2003 to develop a smartphone app for internal use that provides information about what’s going on at the congress: initiatives, context, statements from fellow congress men or women, media analysis and other (oxymoron warning ahead) legislative intelligence.
According to an article published today by @MaricarmenNava, the congress has around 8 different internal institutions that are already generating that info (I will not bore you with mexican acronyms here but if you want to know more about that, you’ll find them below). So up to here, an app that our Mexican representatives can carry around in their pockets that is aggregating all the info the congress is already producing is actually a good idea. However, that app will cost them 115 million mexican pesos, approximately US$ 10,000,000.00, yep that’s ten million dollars for an app that aggregates info they already have!
Unfortunately that is not another joke from our lovely surreal Mexico, it is cinism taken to the extreme. Ten million dollars is a LOT of money but if you still need references, it is more money than what the three most active VCs funds invested in Mexican startups in 2011 AND 2012. It is buying a taco to 11,500,000 mexicans, it is paying the anual scholarship support to 306,667 students, broadband access for a year to 17,500 families, what a team of developers would charge you to develop Angry Birds 77 times…you get the point by now.
And because of all that I’ve described above and we like to walk the talk, today we’re launching #app115, a challenge and an opportunity to everyone out there to take action. Create an awesome, simple and useful open source congress app for the Mexican citizens, make some money out of it and show how technology can bridge the gap between citizens and their representatives, not amplify it.
When the geeks go marching in good stuff can happen but if everyone joins real change can take place. So tweet, share, code, raise your voice…help in any way you can. Together we can go beyond angry tweeting and fixing the world on a Saturday night over some tequilas.
If you’re still shocked by the $10M dollars and want to know more while practicing your spanish, help yourself with the following links:
Reference in spanish by Grupo Reforma
Another one in spanish but this time you don’t need a suscription
More reference in spanish by @MaricarmenNava
All the acronyms I mentioned above are:
1. Centro de Estudios de Finanzas Públicas
2. Centro de Estudios de Derecho e Investigación Parlamentaria
3. Centro de Estudios Sociales y de Opinión Pública
4. Centro de Estudios para el Adelanto de las Mujeres y la Equidad de Género
5. Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Rural Sustentable y la Soberanía Alimentaria
6. Dirección General de Servicios de Documentación, Información y Análisis (no website)
7. Servicio de Investigación y Análisis
8. Servicio de Información para la Estadística Parlamentaria