What we’ll be watching in 2015 [ Podcast]

Fewer comparisons with Silicon Valley and more involvement in civic tech projects.

2014 is so old. But not as old as the DCDino, which this reporter hopes will be making a comeback soon.

(Photo by Lalita Clozel)

While you were all clutching your cocktails during the busy, busy holiday party season, we were taping a podcast.
Reporters from our five East Coast markets — Philly, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Delaware and D.C. — shared insights on the tech scenes there, and what they saw on the horizon for 2015.
It got heated when we broached the issue of competitiveness, and the urge many tech hubs have to compare themselves to their more established siblings in the West.
Former mayor Vincent Gray’s habit of directly comparing D.C. tech to Silicon Valley exasperated our editorial director Christopher Wink. “I want to slay this dragon of comparison with any other city,” he said. “Be better versions of yourself.”
Perhaps the tone of the administration, now led by new mayor Muriel Bowser, is set to change. She’s nominated Rashad Young, a rather technologically-inclined official who used to work in Alexandria, as city administrator. He already has plans to open up the budget process and publish more government performance data.
Then, there is also the very recent growth of Crystal City as a local tech hub. In the last month of 2014, the Arlington neighborhood saw the official launch of government contracting incubator the Eastern Foundry, while Paul Singh’s $50 million Crystal Tech Fund, just created in April, doubled in size.
And for Angie Fox, the president and CEO of the Crystal City Business Improvement District, “the biggest thing that’s coming to tech is WeWork’s move into the residential space.”
Back to the District: We can’t wait to see whether Laurenellen McCann’s #CivicTech manifesto will be taken up by local technologists. Show us how it’s done, D.C. civic hackers!


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