Having grown up outside of the city, I can easily appreciate the endless potential of San Francisco, where practically every corner shows remarkable signs of innovation, often powered by technology. As a foreigner, I can also sympathize with those who feel alienated from certain parts of San Francisco, including its technology community. And that is why I was so excited to join sf.citi, which blends my enthusiasm for the power of technology with a commitment to serving all sectors of the city’s population.
Drawing inspiration from two of San Francisco’s most iconic architectural feats—the newly reconstructed Bay Bridge and the historic Golden Gate—I have made it my mission at sf.citi to bridge the gaps between the city’s tech, political, and nonprofit communities, here in San Francisco and beyond.
In 2017, sf.citi launched its Lunch and Learn series to strengthen connections between sf.citi members and San Francisco (and California) elected officials and candidates. Hosted at different member headquarters throughout the city, these intimate gatherings present a unique opportunity for tech companies and policymakers to speak candidly with one another on policy issues. More importantly, sf.citi Lunch and Learn sessions are a space for constructive collaboration to help tech workers and policymakers develop joint solutions that both encourage innovation and respond to city needs.
Recognizing that our members operate well beyond San Francisco city limits, sf.citi also began forging partnerships with other regional tech hubs. Last year, we hosted two high-level roundtable discussions with Mayor de Blasio of New York and Mayor Garcetti of Los Angeles. From Mayor de Blasio, we learned about New York’s novel approach to emerging technology while Mayor Garcetti explained the opportunities available for tech in the rapidly-expanding Silicon Beach. While we are a San Francisco-born organization, it is our mission to grow the tech sector, both from within our city and throughout other areas where opportunities may appear. We plan to continue this the trend of cross-regional dialogue with city leaders both in and outside of the United States.
And amid buzz of talk about potentially introducing a “robot tax” to local legislation, sf.citi released its very first white paper on automation and the the future of work in San Francisco. Titled “Taxing Innovation: The Challenge of Regulating Job Automation,” the paper compiled the latest research on how automation is likely to affect employment in the years ahead. Our findings and suggestions were then reviewed by 25 experts from the tech, nonprofit, and public sectors. A hint about our conclusion? Robots will certainly change the way we work, but they can’t replace us.
The first of many more white papers to come, the goal of this new stream of work aligns with the overarching mission of sf.citi: to deepen collaboration between San Francisco legislators, the private sector, and other stakeholders in order to create the most informed decisions for our community.
Many people ask what sf.citi does. To answer this question, I return to my original metaphor. sf.citi is the bridge that connects tech, policy, and community. And just as with our real-life bridges, sf.citi has become a fundamental part of San Francisco’s architecture, especially as we look to future horizons beyond our 7×7 city.