Software Development

Chris Alfano made it to Code for America’s National Advisory Council. What’s next?

Code for Philly's founder wants to give local brigades more decision-making power.

The Code for America crew.

(Courtesy photo)

Code for Philly founder and known hacktivist Chris Alfano landed that spot on Code for America’s National Advisory Council that we told you about last week.
Granted, his odds were pretty decent, as he’s earned recognition as one of the original members of CfA’s brigade program put in place four years ago by the national community of civic hackers.
Nevertheless, Alfano is again representing the Philly dev community at a national level. And this time he wants to shake things up, as he mentioned in his campaign platform.

“Traditionally they’ve tried to run us as a program,” the newly-elected board member told “This process will help [brigades] garner buy-in in whatever strategies are put in place.”
Though he warns it’s not exactly a face-off, the hacktivist has said there are different views within the organization on how objectives should be met: through traditional pitching and fundraising or good ol’ bootstrapping.
“I come from a very bootstrap-oriented background,” the Jarvus Innovations CTO said. “I feel a lot of people want to put together a pitch and go get funding, and I want to get away from that mindset. I will advocate for that as much as possible.”


The council model will also mean more potential for impact through interaction within brigades. The challenge, Alfano said, is trying to get the network to operate as such instead of following a hub-and-spoke model.
As for the next move, the whole community of hacktivists is coming together for a virtual meeting this month, leading up to the Code for America Summit — to be held in Oakland, Calif., Nov. 1-3.
“By no means are we finished with this process — we’re just getting started,” wrote Brigade program manager Christopher Whitaker in a Medium post announcing the results of the election on Monday.
And speaking of the group’s annual summit, how about Philly hosting it sometime?
“Everyone is going to be rooting for their own city, but I’d love to bring it to Philly,” Alfano said.

Companies: Code for America
People: Chris Alfano
Projects: Code for Philly
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