How GSA got code for $1

As an experiment in micro purchasing, the General Services Administration’s 18F digital services development group set out to test whether it could buy chunks of code – rather than a full application – for less than $3,500.

Using GSA’s Contract-Award Labor Category tool, 18F asked for bids on loading labor category data from the Schedule 70 into CALC. With the reverse auction starting at $3,499, 18F hoped to test the viability of micro purchasing, plus encourage open source solutions from companies new to the government market.

18F got much more — or less – than it bargained for. The winning bid came in at $1.

Brendan Sudol, the $1 bidder, met the requirements and even loaded the data a few days ahead of the deadline. His code had “100 percent test coverage, an A grade from Code Climate, and included some new functionality to boot.” 18F’s David Zvenyach explained in a Nov. 6 blog post.

But why the $1 bid?

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