TECH OPTIMISM & INNOVATION DURING COVID-19
On May 7, Box CEO, Aaron Levie, TaskRabbit President and Chief Product Officer, Sarah Rose, and a suite of other tech executives spoke at The Race to Respond: Tech’s Leadership on COVID-19, hosted by sf.citi, sea.citi, and Protocol.
During this two-hour conversation, we gleaned a lot of inside information about how the tech industry has responded to COVID-19. In a matter of days, Box, Cloudflare, and Slack, had to transition thousands of employees to remote work. Businesses like TaskRabbit and Postmates became essential lifelines to millions of Americans sheltering in place. And people have increasingly turned to Twitter for real time, reliable health information about COVID-19.
Strikingly, the industry has risen to each of the challenges presented by COVID-19 in typical tech fashion—with rapid innovation and ingenuity. In Seattle, Managing Partner of Madrona Venture Group, Tom Alberg, described how tech leaders quickly bootstrapped a $27 million COVID-19 relief initiative called All In Seattle. TaskRabbit President and Chief Product Officer, Sarah Rose, discussed Tasks for Good, a volunteer program connecting Taskers with vulnerable individuals impacted by COVID-19. And Head of People at Cloudflare, Janet Van Huysse, explained how COVID-19 has not changed Cloudflare’s company culture at all, but rather amplified it.
Even in the face of this global pandemic, the pervading theme of the evening, eloquently expressed by Box CEO, Aaron Levie, was hope for a better future. Read more about what we learned during The Race to Respond in our recap below.
THE COVID-19 EFFECT ON SAN FRANCISCO’S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
In our latest policy piece, sf.citi explores how COVID-19 is rapidly changing San Francisco’s transportation system and the challenges these pandemic-induced transportation trends pose for San Francisco’s future.
Like cities around the world, shelter in place orders completely upended normal traffic patterns and transportation habits here in San Francisco and throughout the greater Bay Area. Daily ridership across all of San Francisco’s public transportation has plummeted. In response, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) shut down a majority of bus lines and closed the light-rail indefinitely. And BART is operating at 7 percent of its normal ridership.
As San Francisco and other cities start to reopen and people slowly make their way back to the office, the limits of our public transit agencies and transportation infrastructure will be put to the test. Our local transit organizers will have to perform a balancing act of safely increasing ridership while facing a swelling deficit. And as they seek to regain the trust of San Francisco residents, we could see the rise of alternative modes of transportation. Will COVID-19 prompt San Francisco to enhance its investment in safer and more accessible bike paths? Will employers commit to telecommuting indefinitely? Learn about all this and more in our latest policy piece below.
TRANSPORTATION DEEP DIVE WITH SFMTA DIRECTOR JEFFREY TUMLIN
On May 27, join sf.citi Executive Director, Jennifer Stojkovic, and San Francisco Director of Transportation, Jeffrey Tumlin, for an in-depth discussion about the impact of COVID-19 on San Francisco’s transportation system.
After you’ve read our piece about COVID-19 and San Francisco’s transportation system, come prepared with questions for our conversation on May 27 with SFMTA Director of Transportation, Jeffrey Tumlin. Appointed by Mayor Breed in November 2019, Tumlin has certainly faced no shortage of challenges as he guides the SFMTA through a pandemic that is draining municipal transit agencies across the country. We’ll discuss how the SFMTA has adapted to new transportation patterns caused by COVID-19 and how the agency is preparing for the City’s eventual reopening. Make sure to register below.
sf.citi’s discussion with Director Tumlin is one in a series of virtual events sf.citi is hosting to explore the effects of COVID-19 on San Francisco’s future. Earlier this week, we chatted with San Francisco Planning Director, Rich Hillis, to learn about the consequences of COVID-19 on the City’s office space market. You can watch (or rewatch) that conversation here.
OAKLAND WORKS TO CLOSE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
sf.citi and our members had an enriching conversation with Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf to learn how our East Bay neighbor—where many sf.citi members also live and work—is responding to the COVID-19 crisis and what we can do to help.
The City of Oakland has pioneered many innovative programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. 10 percent of the city’s roadways have been closed to through traffic for its Slow Streets Program, one of the first programs in the country to close streets to cars to ease physical distancing. Oakland has also partnered with local nonprofit Tech Exchange to wipe and distribute used computers to families in need and close the digital divide.
In fact, Mayor Schaaf and the Superintendent of Oakland Unified School District are looking to fundraise $2.5 million to ensure that students have access to distance learning resources for the rest of the school year and summer. The City of Oakland has a long-term goal of raising $12.5 million, which would ensure that every Oakland student and family has permanent access to a computer and internet connection. You can help Oakland close the digital divide by making a donation. And if you or your company would like to make a more significant investment, contact David Silver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DID YOU KNOW?
Bartering is back, y’all. COVID-19 has inspired San Franciscans to revert to an old-timey form of exchange for goods: bartering. But they’re utilizing modern technology, including social media sites like Facebook, Nextdoor, and Twitter, to do it. According to The Washington Post, bartering is a common side effect of economic hardship, even in modern times. Read more on that here.
BUZZ | #MEMBERNEWS
- Twitter & Square exec Jack Dorsey gives $15 million to SF’s virus-relief fund (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Coronavirus: Twitter tells employees they can work from home ‘forever’ (The Mercury News)
- Nonprofit fuels S.F. restaurants with $1 million of business, self-driving delivery (San Francisco Business Times)