(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)
This list was compiled by me based on my experiences in #dctech over 2016. As the recent Technical.ly Stakeholders Meeting showed us, #dctech operates in an often siloed way. I am always interested in ways to open up my silo — tweet me @SirJessTheBrave for groups, events and people to follow. I’m around to speak, attend and help promote your event or group or work to the groups I help to organize: DC Tech Meetup, DCFemTech, and Women Who Code DC!
Hey there #dctech,
2016 — What a year.
If you are anything like me, 2016 has left you exhausted, angry and scared. Bring it in, let’s hug this out. It is easy in the midst of the last few months to forget all the awesome stuff that happened in D.C.’s tech circles this year, so let’s stave off 2017 for just a moment, and reflect on the good from 2016.
First off, according to my Google calendar invites, on Jan. 11 I met Tajha for the first time! #fangirling. But wait, there’s so much more:
D.C. knows how to throw an event, and local #dctech has capitalized on that fact hosting hackathons, summits, conferences, panels and more. Here are some of the standouts from my 2016 calendar:
- Women in Tech Summit
- Diversity in Computing Summit UMD
- Open Data Day
- Women Who Code DC Hackathon
- Tech Lady Hackathon
- Hack For Good
- Thriving Cities Innovation Showcase + Hackathon
- Vision Zero Hackathon
- Tour De Code
This list is only about half of the events I wanted to put on here! D.C. is drowning in events. So find your people and find your cause — there is a place for you in #dctech.
No one ever said we were humble! I would love to get a comparison of the winners, and a few other data points — Twitter activity or media coverage — Kate Rabinowitz I’m lookin’ at you!
- DCFemTech Awards (Technical.ly article)
- DC Inno’s 50 on Fire
- Technical.ly’s DC Innovation Awards
- Timmy Awards
- DC Fest Coolest Companies
— Seth Puckett (@sethpuckett) December 2, 2016
From 18F to the U.S. Digital Service, open data innovation to a celebration like South by South Lawn — President Barack Obama’s government has been all about tech. Anyone else nervous about what will happen in govtech in 2017? Regardless of what happens at the federal level, though, it seems like Mayor Muriel Bowser and new D.C. CTO Archana Vemulapalli are committed to local open data for the city.
Here are some of the cool govtech things, both federal and local, that happened in 2016:
- White House LGBTQ Tech and Innovation Summit
- South by South Lawn
- Hack the Pay Gap
- New D.C. CTO — Archana Vemulapalli
- D.C. Open Government Advisory Group
- D.C.’s first tech inclusion report — Pathways to Inclusion
People I’m Watching in 2017
- Joy M Whitt — D.C. Mayor’s Office: open data, activism and city government.
- Kate Rabinowitz — DataLensDC: activism and open data.
- Aaron Saunders — Luma Lab and Clearly Innovative: activism, diversity and inclusive innovation.
- Leslie Tita — IO Spaces: community, diversity, inclusion, innovation and coworking.
- Veni Kunchi — Code with Veni: tech education, women in tech and global tech communities.
Looking forward, I am really excited to see what tech comes out of the Luma Lab incubator and tech space focused on “inclusion, innovation and incubation.” Aaron Saunders has been pouring sweat, tears and innovation into the space in collaboration with the D.C. Mayor’s office. Positioned on the Howard University campus, In3 will provide much-needed support to Black techies in the DMV area who are often overlooked in #dctech and VC funding.
Kate Rabinowitz of DataLensDC is a woman to watch in 2017! Her in-depth look at gender breakdown of groups in #dctech, prompted the creation of wespeaktoo.org to help promote women speakers — reach out to these amazing tech leaders for your next event! Rabinowitz recently announced she is moving to do DataLensDC full time, and I am awaiting the data she compiles eagerly.
? just gave notice at my job so in 2017 I can take @datalensdc full time, meaning more: open data, data journalism, civic tech & advocacy ?
— Kate Rabinowitz (@DataLensDC) December 27, 2016
I also have my eye on two new meetup groups, Black Code Collective and Pride+Tech, serving Black techies and the LGBTQ+ community. D.C. has seen major work with women in tech over the last few years with DCFemTech, Women Who Code, DC Web Women, WIT, and Lesbians Who Tech to name just a few. With the new federal administration, we in #dctech need to band together and put our collective power, innovation and activism behind those who are not receiving support and recognition in tech.
Looking back at the events, award winners and people who were killing it in 2016, all the passion, activism and progress gives me hope for 2017. Let’s make sure we get it right.