Getting the most out of #CFASummit 2015

The 2015 Code for America Summit is finally here! For a few days in Oakland, civic technologists, journalists, social-good focused venture firms, and hundreds of innovative government employees will share lessons and stories about building a smarter government.

With so much to offer, it’s natural to get a bit overwhelmed. We’ve got you covered with tips and tricks to get the most out of this year’s summit.

Download the 2015 Code for America Summit mobile app

2015 Code for America Summit Mobile Apps

2015 Code for America Summit Mobile Apps for iOS and Android

Available for both iOS and Android, the 2015 Code for America Summit mobile apps unlock a wealth of information about the conference. The basic attendance information is all there — attendees, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors — but that just scratches the surface.

Plan out your day

With multiple tracks, a hackathon, exhibitors, and hallway unconferences, it is easy to get overwhelmed and lose track of the day.

Stay on track by reviewing the talks ahead of time. You can bookmark talks right in the app to prevent last minute analysis paralysis.

Introduce yourself!

Message User in Code For America App

Reach out to other government innovators right from the app

The best part of conferences is meeting likeminded groups and individuals. Don’t be afraid to send a quick introduction within the app. As a bonus, you can quickly find out more information about attendees with links to their LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook profiles.

Editors note: Stephen Frost and Ryan Rundle from Seneca Systems are both at this year’s Code for America conference talking to local government leaders about constituent relations in the 21st century. If you want to learn more about Romulus, our CRM for local government, don’t hesitate to say hi!

Learn About Your Local Brigade

Representatives from fifty-two brigades from around the world attended this year’s pre-summit kick-off the night before the conference. From the local Oakland team to CodeForPakistan, it’s very likely at least one member of a local brigade is in attendance.

Want to learn more about what they are working on? Code for America maintains a public dashboard of ongoing projects. If you want to learn more about what CFA is doing as a whole, check out the “Our Work” section of their site!

Watch the LiveStream

Code For America Summit LiveStream

The Code For America Summit LiveStream. It’s kind of a big deal

Unable to make it to Oakland? Code for America has you covered. They’ll be livestreaming on the summit website all conference long.

Engage on Twitter

It’s no surprise that civic tech innovators are active on social media. Twitter is the perfect platform for live updates throughout the conference. There are many ways of getting involved in the conversation, but here are a few to help you narrow in on what’s happening:

  • #CFASummit — Stay plugged in by following the Code for America Summit hashtag. You can also enable live streaming of the hashtag here. Make sure to tag your tweets to share your story and insights along the way!
  • Follow @CodeForAmerica — This one’s a no-brainer. Code for America’s account is aggregating live updates from staff, journalists, brigade leaders, and attendees.
  • User Aggregated Lists — Twitter lists are a powerful, if underused, feature of the platform. Users like @imaginethatio have made lists of accounts relevant to #CFASummit 2015. Check out theirs here.

Have more tips on getting the most out of this year’s summit? We’d love to hear them! Share in the comments or on twitter @RomulusApp.


Pricing for Accountability in Local Government

Transparent Pricing Open Book

Purchasing should be an open book

When we founded Seneca Systems, we set out to unlock the tremendous human potential of 10.5 million local government employees. But we don’t want to just build a great business to serve government: we want to fundamentally change the way private sector sells to government. Accountability should not only be a value for civil servants, but for every business working to strengthen representative democracy.

The first step in making business accountable is transforming  the convoluted, expensive, and arduous process of purchasing. From the beginning, we’ve heard from investors that requests for proposal (RFPs) and legal fees would push our pricing out of the budget of small local governments—the very people who need our help the most. We don’t see this situation as an obstacle; we see an opportunity for dramatic change.

Contracts guarantee a business stable revenue, which is exactly the problem with the status quo. Once vendors win an RFP — which they often help to write — they have little incentive to deliver excellent service. The contract is signed and the cost, in time and money, of early termination means that money is all but guaranteed.

While government officials are guardians of tax dollars during negotiation, businesses are rarely held accountable for the services they provide after contracts are signed. Stewardship of our taxes ends at the dotted line.

That is wrong.

Companies selling into government should align their incentives with those of their customers. If we do not live up to our promises or if a better product becomes available, our customers should be free to switch. Rather than lock-in civil servants to long-term contracts, we should win your business every single month.

Today, we help local governments from Oakland to Chicago provide a better experience for hundreds of thousands of constituents. From their onboarding to their second, fifth, and twentieth month with us the product just gets better and better. Your first day with Romulus is the worst it will ever be, and we could not be prouder.