As the founding editor of software blog Lifehacker, Gina Trapani routinely found herself on the receiving end of hundreds of well-informed, useful comments and recommendations from the site's thriving community of tech-savvy readers. And the voices only multiplied when she joined Twitter in 2007. Needing a practical way to organize this ever-increasing feedback, Trapani created the software that would evolve into ThinkTank, a free, open-source Web application that culls replies to conversations from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
In February, Expert Labs, a nonprofit lab affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, partnered with ThinkTank and brought Trapani on as project director. Her first client? The White House, which will use ThinkTank to gather feedback from the public and the scientific and technological communities to create a list of grand challenges to be tackled in the coming years.
"It's at the same time absolutely wonderful and terrifying," says Trapani. Other recent projects include tackling Google Wave in a self-published user manual, The Complete Guide to Google Wave, and, yep, blogging regularly for FastCompany.com about smart work habits.