Update: You can vote for Flat World Knowledge here.
From Spring 2008 through the Winter of 2009, I consulted independently for a budding startup called Flat World Knowledge.
FWK is a website/web application that pays authors to write textbooks and makes those books available online for free for anyone to read. FWK also makes it possible to copy and then modify the textbooks, allowing people to create their own distinct, personalized version of a book. Books and study aids are produced via print on demand and can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of a typical textbook.
The end result is that textbooks are more financially and technically accessible to students, more personalized to specific classes, and the typical textbook market is disrupted.
It's been exciting to see FWK develop both in terms of the recognition they've been getting -- $8 million in new venture capitol this past fall -- and the many schools who are now using FWK for their classes.
I played several different roles throughout the project, doing module development, architecture, performance tuning, implementing wireframes in a Drupal-friendly way, and providing some education about different approaches with Drupal.
It was truly a pleasure working with Brad Felix, Flat World's CTO, and I was also very fortunate to work with well-known experts and contributors in the Drupal community including Ryan Szrama (Ubercart), Zivtech and FunnyMonkey.
Flat World is open-source friendly not only in their product, but also in they way the went about building it. Several Drupal modules were created as part of the project, including Vocabulary per-book, Ubercart Node Access, Ubercart Restrict Quantity, Book bridge and Vocabulary per-book.
I participated in building the site from concept to public Beta to their first official release, before transitioning from working independently to joining the Growing Venture Solutions team. It's been exciting to watch Zivtech run with the project since then.
I'm so thrilled to be able to play a part in disrupting the textbook and education market, and to see FWK taking off!