Huffpost San Francisco
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Ronald Conway Headshot

Sf.citi: Harnessing the Power of San Francisco's Tech Community to Create Jobs and Improve the City

Posted: Updated:

San Francisco's technology sector is thriving. Home to 1,539 tech companies employing more than 30,000 people, the city's tech industry will soon eclipse the record number of jobs reached more than a decade ago.

Yet surging job growth is far from the only direct benefit of San Francisco's new hi-tech economy. Struggling neighborhoods like Central Market and the Tenderloin are seeing a new infusion of investment, foot-traffic, arts and economic activity as tech companies relocate and become a vibrant part of established neighborhoods.

Leading technology entrepreneurs are planting roots locally, driving civic and philanthropic efforts that benefit all San Franciscans.

And as Mayor Ed Lee begins his new term in office, San Francisco's tech community is coming together to support the mayor's goal of turning our city into the innovation capital of the world.
To that end, I am leading a group of tech leaders to launch the San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology & Innovation (sf.citi), an organization designed to leverage the collective power of the technology sector into a lasting force for civic action. sf.citi will bring together our city's government and tech community with a mission to improve San Francisco, and our technology sector.

Mayor Ed Lee has outlined a 17-Point Roadmap to Good Jobs and Opportunity, and sf.citi will focus on strategic partnerships with the mayor and members of the Board of Supervisors to achieve the goals of job creation and growth in the tech industry.

Less than a month into the mayor's term, sf.citi has already embarked upon the first of what will be many exciting initiatives to improve San Francisco, both over the near and long term.
Working with local service organizations and elected officials, sf.citi member Zynga has identified a skills and experience gap that it will address with a training and placement program led by and tailored toward employment with local tech companies. Mark Pincus, Zynga and sf.citi are committed to programs that help Mayor Lee, the Board of Supervisors and the city address the challenge of jobs.

We also are working with Code for America (CFA) to partner with the City on an accelerator for startups that focus on civic issues, funded by Google and the Kauffman Foundation. CFA will also provide a platform for civic hackers to maintain and adapt open source code for the city, establish a fellowship assigning three bright minds to city government for a year to solve specific problems, and create a Civic Commons Marketplace for cities to share technology and collaborate on new technologies and applications.

With more than 30,000 tech jobs in San Francisco, we all have a vested interest in improving San Francisco and we are so fortunate to have a mayor and many members of the Board of Supervisors who understand the value that our industry brings to the community. The recent appointment of Jay Nath as San Francisco's first ever chief innovation officer further demonstrates the mayor's commitment to our community.

As Mayor Lee noted in his inaugural address, this is the year of the dragon -- the most powerful of all animals in the Chinese zodiac. Therefore, the year of the dragon is a time for confronting challenges, taking risks and encouraging innovation.

sf.citi is here to embrace that vision, and to make San Francisco the innovation capital of the world.

Ronald Conway was previously the director of the campaign committee to elect Ed Lee.