CityDictionary.com is a Web site that dishes up local culture and language for various cities.Â Based in Madison, it allows users to define a city in their own words.Â The entries range from local slang and nicknames to events, restaurants, neighborhoods, food, people and more.Â Co-founder Thomas Carmona stopped by the WisconsinEye studios in Madison to talk with Business Profile host Jason Fischer. Carmona described how CityDictionary.com has become the place to find insider information that you won’t necessarily find in a tour book, on a map, or in the yellow pages.
How long have you been involved with City Dictionary and how would you describe your present role at the company?
I have been working on City Dictionary ever since late 2007 when I was developing the idea with my brother and my sister-in-law. At that point it was difficult to progress quickly because I was starting a full-time MBA program and my partners were already running a rapidly-growing e-commerce business of their own. Now my main role is to promote the Web site and pursue strategic partnerships with other media companies that operate in the local landscape. Meanwhile, I have gained a lot of insight from observing and working with my brother, John. He is an accomplished entrepreneur with a knack for knowing what works and what doesn’t. Some of that has rubbed off on me. (I hope.)
Broadcast Interactive Media (BIM) today unveiled a new partnership between Social Media Platform, YouNewsâ„¢ and hyper-local content provider City Dictionary (CityDictionary.com). The two Madison, WI-based companies have combined forces to provide users of the nearly 80 YouNews affiliates across the U.S. an opportunity to experience and contribute to a growing localized dictionary of community terms, slang, â€œismsâ€ and definitions.
City Dictionary, launched in May 2008, showcases the personality of individual cities through eccentricities of language and culture. The site relies on input from registered users, or â€œcitizensâ€ who contribute words or phrases and share information about attractions, events, restaurants, people and more. Case in point: a Milwaukee drinking fountain is called a â€œbubblerâ€ and â€œsluggingâ€ in DC is a form of hitchhiking that allows commuters to use the faster HOV lane. Information and little-known facts abound on City Dictionary, which earned the top prize in the 2009 G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition.
â€œWeâ€™re capturing the local subtleties of American cities that other resources might be missing,â€ says Thomas Carmona, co-founder of City Dictionary. â€œThe goal is to engage contributors from around the country and collect as many terms as possible â€” places, businesses, neighborhoods and slang â€” that become part of â€˜everyday speakâ€™ for various places.â€
YouNewsâ„¢ â€“ a social media platform where members of the community upload videos/photos to local media websites – now includes a City Dictionary channel with options to view existing content, add a word, add a definition and more. For example, visitors to KHOU.com in Houston, TX may navigate to the YouNews section of the site to learn the origin of the areaâ€™s many nicknames including: Space City, Bayou City, H-Town and Clutch City. If a favorite is missing, a new moniker can be added to the Houston Dictionary.
We will use the front page to post updates on our members and their progress as they operate their business and highlight entrepreneurial events in the Madison community.
One of the coolest entrepreneur resources in Madison is the Burrill Business Plan Competition, a competition put on by the Wisconsin School of Business. The Burrill invites teams from all across the UW campus to write a business plan and make a presentation to a top notch judges panel. Its a great experience for entrepreneurs who are just getting their start.
This year’s competition was one of the best and two of our own took home top prizes. Thomas Carmona of CityDictionary.com took the $10,000 first prize, while Corey Capasso of Add The Flavor took the $7,000 second prize.Â Congrats to both Thomas and Corey!