July 22, 2013

By: Jordan Kranzler

On June 14th, SF Mayor Ed Lee and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that San Francisco has been selected for the second annual Bloomberg Technology Summit. Two sessions of the summit will be held – one in New York City on September 30 and one in San Francisco in early 2014. The two sessions have been called “digital cities” summits and will focus on the use of technology to solve issues. The announcement was made at the headquarters of Square, a San Francisco-based mobile payments company.

Issues expected to be addressed include immigration, workforce education, infrastructure, startup funding and office space and housing. Politicians, business leaders and technology leaders are expected to be in attendance. In addition, there will be some focus on how to fix damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

A Peer City for Tech

Over the past decade, many have noticed a tech rivalry in between San Francisco, which has the highest tech-jobs growth rate in the nation, and New York, which recently had the most growth in startup funding Chris O’Brien of the LA Times joked, “Over the years, San Francisco and New York City have feuded over a wide variety of critical issues. Who has the better bagels? Is the Brooklyn or Golden Gate the better bridge? And don’t even get us started on that NFC Championship game a couple of years ago where the 49ers totally would have beaten the Giants if it weren’t for a couple of botched punt returns. But tech has increasingly become the focus of hostility.”

Indeed, New York City has had recent accomplishments as Mayor Bloomberg seeks to make New York the “No. 1 digital city in both the public and private sectors.” In 2011, Mayor Bloomberg held a competition for $100 million for an established university to start a technology-focused graduate school – dubbed a “genius” school by Bloomberg – in New York City. Cornell University in Ithaca, NY won out after Stanford University, a Bay Area institution, dropped out.

In 2011, the two cities released official plans to attract tech business, reform government IT systems, and reach open data. NYC’s was called “Road Map for the Digital City: Achieving New York City’s Digital Future,” while San Francisco’s was titled “Information, Communications and Technology Plan: Moving from Vision to Results.”

By cooperating and sharing ideas, Lee and Bloomberg seek to further government 2.0, which should be a consistent goal of this summit.