The Civic Commons: Code Sharing Between Cities

Bryan Sivak (Government of the District of Columbia), Nick Grossman (Union Square Ventures)
Empowering Citizens
Location: Independence Ballroom A
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 2 ratings)

Every city performs much the same functions for its citizens. Yet there is massive duplication of spending by cities as each builds its own applications and platforms. Code for America founder Jennifer Pahlka, Washington DC Chief Technology Officer Bryan Sivak, and Open Plans’ director Nick Grossman discuss their new cloud-based initiative for code-sharing between cities, states, and government agencies.

Photo of Bryan Sivak

Bryan Sivak

Government of the District of Columbia

Bryan Sivak was appointed by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on October 13, 2009 to the Cabinet post of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the District of Columbia. As CTO, Sivak leads the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), an organization of more than 500 staff that provides technology services and leadership for 86 agencies, 38,000 employees, residents, businesses and millions of visitors.

Sivak has over 15 years of experience in building software and internet technologies and organizations. In 2002, he founded and developed InQuira, Inc., a multi-national technology solutions company whose products are used at top private and public sector organizations including Bank of America, UK Ministry of Defence, Nokia and T-Mobile. During his tenure, he oversaw every aspect of the business from design and development of the product to sales, marketing and management activities relating to the overall execution of InQuira’s business plan and growth of the company. In 2005, he moved to London and opened the European office of the company, which he grew from zero to 30% of the company’s revenue in four years.

Prior to his work with InQira, Sivak founded Electric Knowledge LLC, which provided the world’s first Natural Language Search engine available on the web. The company’s customers included Bank of America and Fidelity Investments and several others. Electric Knowledge eventually merged with Answerfriend, which was the basis for the formation of InQuira.

Sivak holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Chicago.

Photo of Nick Grossman

Nick Grossman

Union Square Ventures

Nick is a General Manager at Union Square Ventures, where he invests in new web and mobile platforms, works with USV portfolio companies, and leads USV’s efforts on public policy and regulatory issues that impact open innovation the health of the web.

Previously, he led an incubator for technology and media businesses at OpenPlans, which, among other things, pioneered the open311 web standard, founded the largest open source project in the public transit space, and built NYC’s real-time bus data platform.

Nick has present and past academic affiliations at the Berkman Center for Internet Society at Harvard Law School and at the MIT Media Lab, and is on the advisory boards of the Data & Society Institute, the Data-Smart City Solutions initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Tumml urban ventures accelerator, Living Cities, and Code for America. He has a degree in Urban Studies from Stanford University and learned everything he knows about technology from people on the internet and by using view:source. He grew up in Brooklyn and now lives outside of Boston with his wife and two kids.

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