His DIYcity initiative challenges tech whizzes, futurists and even regular Facebookers to take transportation, and other antiquated city services, into their own hands by using modern technology-from geospatial tracking devices to social media platforms like Twitter to government data and stats.
Note whom DIYcity does not challenge: John Geraci. Geraci has a history of dabbling in changing the world through technology, but never quite seeing a project through to transformative fruition:
DIYcity IS THE culmination of six years of Mr. Geraci's work to improve cities with the Web. A Bay Area native, Mr. Geraci graduated from N.Y.U.'s Interactive Telecommunications Program, an incubator for some of the city's brightest tech brains, in 2005. In May 2004, he launched Neighbornode, a project that took the local community corkboard online-encouraging neighbors to set up their own wireless hot spots and create connections through electronic bulletin boards. The next year he created Grafedia, which connected graffiti in the streets to the online world. His thesis project, Foundcity, took inspiration from bookmarking site del.icio.us and photo-sharing site Flickr, and asked users to "bookmark" real-world locations and sites by text or picture message and "tag" them with descriptive words.
In February 2007, Mr. Geraci co-founded (with Everything Bad Is Good for You author Steven Johnson) Outside.in, a site that scrapes information from local blogs, event listings and other online media so people can see what's happening locally. Mr. Geraci recently reduced his responsibilities as head product developer for Outside.in and is only working part time to devote himself to fund-raising and advocacy efforts for DIYcity.
Somehow, we're supposed to see this flitting from project to project as the ever-building narrative of a genius at work. What it actually looks like: A 38-year-old guy who still hasn't learned to finish what he starts.