It's late. Probably much later than you would prefer to be working. Or maybe it is a weekend afternoon. Perhaps your friends or family are watching football or a jai alai match. Maybe there are beverages to be served and fun to be had. You however, are doing none of these things. You are staring at a Word document, littered with editorial graffiti and wordlessly vague comments, all the while staring at seconds ticking toward a rapidly approaching deadline. While this pile of jargon you are massaging is probably called a "proposal", the likelihood of resulting lifelong happiness is pretty slim. In a word, terrible.
I spent a decent chunk of time working as a government contractor and this scene was an all too often reality. Usually, even at the point of near completion, there were questions surrounding the opportunity itself. Seemingly important questions like, who was the actual competition? What sort of approach were they going to take? Do we have the right (or any) partners? Do we have a bottle of bourbon's chance at a corporate team building event of winning this thing? One of my favorite parts about these questions were the so called data sources often used to inform the purported answers. People who may be referred to as luminaries or rainmakers would wax professorial as they opined about the supposed truth. Sure, they usually had experience but at the end of the (Sun)day, they were still just giving an opinion.
How did we get to this point? Where did the process go so goofy that in the era of open government data we are solely relying on anecdote, hearsay, and people's feelings to inform the decision-making process? Why are we still staffing, constructing, and submitting proposals like it's 1986? Why is there a full-time resource whose job is to monitor FBO and send mass emails? Well...GovTribe has an idea. Simply put, we have been underserved by technology. Wait a minute...that actually might be a bit too kind. Let me try this again. We have been bludgeoned to near cardiac arrest by horribly constructed, overly misused, and just plain bad technology.
Strangely, there is a ton of data out there. Seriously, if you weigh all of the ones and zeroes making up the data relevant to government contracting, it is close to 1 metric ton. The problem at hand however is not a lack of data, it is teasing out the pood's worth of relevant signal from the noise. Due to either poorly designed or a complete lack of effective and targeted technologies, this problem persists. The data continues to appear as a mountain, and we continue to roll the boulder up it the only way we know how. Over the coming weeks, months, and years GovTribe will release products that seek to address these issues. We will also continue to write about why and how we built them. Our products will be designed to serve you, the person - not them, your company. We want you to have a choice as to what tools you need to do your job. After all, it is your weekend.