Team Echo spent the weekend in New York City, where we met up with our designer and developer in a picturesque start-up-y setting: a giant, open, randomly furnitured office loft in Dumbo. (Thank you, News Groper, for lending a Saturday afternoon perch!)

We spent most of the day Saturday working out some tough questions from our developer Adam about the structure of the Echo database, and how the various pieces of data will flow between the web and phone systems. We also talked through the hierarchies of location data and organizational structures we need to give our stories. Like, what happens when themes begin to emerge among stories and across neighborhoods?  We’ll want to add in some new categories and connectors for, say, a civil war bike tour or a map of tales involving barbeque, on the fly without having to rework the database.

Basically we need to balance the competing needs of an organic, user-generated system with some bigger, flexible principles that will bind the pieces together in some meaningful way. Nothing bigger than the problems the great minds who built the Web in first place are still trying to solve, right? No wonder we wrestled so mightily through the afternoon.

We also got a peek at logo sketches from Ronnie, our designer, offered some direction on finishing them, and topped the evening off with a delicious dinner with the whole crew at a restaurant called, appropriately, Superfine. (Try the pork chop, it’s amazing.)

Sunday we spent mostly walking and talking through lower Manhattan, building lists of to-dos for the next two weeks (meet with our accountant, get wireframes to Ronnie and the first batch of stories and metadata to Adam) and feeling genuinely ecstatic that it’s really coming together.