By Alan W. Silberberg, Founder of Gov20LA
As the founder of Gov20LA — looking back at the 5th Annual Gov20LA Open Government Conference in 2014; I can’t help but to express humbleness and gratitude to the brilliant people who spoke, and those who interacted with us from around the world on Twitter. For the 5th year in a row, I come away so impressed with the hard working, innovative people who present their knowledge to you.
We heard from such amazing people, and will be releasing videos with their presentations in mid-2014. Topics ranging from Privacy and Internet Security to Mapping, Veracity of Comments and how Social Media is used in Emergencies, to a roadmap for social engagement. Each speaker took us on an exploration of the mind blowing mixture of technology, government, people and ideas. With in-depth deep dives about real world examples, with interactions from Twitter from around the world and questioning from the audience – each speaker opened a whole world of discussions.
Gov20LA had participation in both our live-stream and on twitter from over 10 countries. Thousands of people were engaged with the small conference on the beach. Every year we have participation and engagement from public figures in multiple countries at the Federal, State and Local levels and foreign equivalents. We hear back from many of these agencies later in the year and many of the lessons and technology discussed at each Gov20LA becomes the basis for training materials for other governments as we have kept all our videos of speakers free and easy to access.
U.S. Federal Agencies have been long engaged with Gov20LA, we would like to thank the State Department, NASA, DATA.GOV, The White House, The Defense Department, Small Business Administration, Commerce Department; and others for lending their brilliant people to speak. Foreign Countries like Great Britain, Canada, Israel, and their representatives have been great speakers and guests, we deeply appreciate the interactions and engagements with all the above. It speaks volumes about the success of this event, and the results globally.
When governments can use technology openly to engage their citizens in a transparent dialogue that is genuinely two way, we all see massive changes happen. When budgets and records are open, and easily accessible by the people, suddenly light is cast upon the darkness. What was chaotic and possibly corrupt can now be viewed by all. This makes each one of us powerful. Add that to the phone you carry around in your pocket and how it multiplies and magnifies your messages instantly, globally. As I said in my opening remarks; we all carry around in our pockets the power to create change. The decision is up to us whether we do so, and how we act on that.
This conference has been a project of mine since 2009, when I was running You2Gov. Every year we have had a 50/50 split between men and women speakers. In 2014 we made the speaker ratio over 3:2 in favor of women over men. There are very few other conferences who can state the same or something close. I challenge other tech founders, conferences and the media to start addressing the gap that usually exists at conferences. There are so many brilliant women who are founders, who have created world changing technologies, hold patents on intellectual property or run organizations that are changing how our world works. There is no excuse any more in 2014 or later years not to be making every conference 50/50 at least.
Thank you to everyone who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the event a success, year after year. Thank you to everyone around the world for the interaction through various forms on the Internet.