Community, Entrepreneurship, Technology

Technology / Government / Data

No, not that kind of technology. This week, the legislative committee I chair in Stamford kicked off what I hope will be an ongoing conversation about the use of technology and data in our government. It is very exciting to think about the opportunities that are available to not only improve the quality of life for many in the city, but also increase the operational efficiency of how the city operates. Stamford also has the potential to be on the leading edge of not just opening up data for viewing, but enabling the use of data through APIs. Our ability to make these long-term investments takes more than just a wish, and I look forward to working with local, state, and private officials to see Stamford become a true “smart city.”

It has been fantastic for me to view these opportunities from both a government and private sector perspective. I am very thankful for the opportunities I have been given to learn as much as I have. I hope it will serve me well in the future, as AOL co-founder Steve Case predicts. Too often, we see governments in the United States (and perhaps elsewhere) trying to shape technological solutions to their purported needs rather than being adaptive to the rapid evolution of available solutions. Part of the reason for this is the embedded process of these types of institutions (ie bureaucracy), but that doesn’t mean our governments can’t be a little more agile; it just takes some evolving of their own.

How would you like to see cities effectively use technology and data? Tweet at me with #SmartCity to let me know!

Community, Entrepreneurship

Ignite Stamford V.2

21699_555963527753715_98390566_n2013 was a great year for Ignite Stamford. We had some fantastic speaking events, action nights, and great engagement of the community. Bike Stamford, a bike-friendly initiative, is a great example of the organization’s success. We hope this success will continue in 2014 with the relaunch of our organization.

The evolution of Ignite Stamford is a testament to the dedication of its founders and the participation of the community. The organization has changed from a simple speaking outlet to a true platform for community engagement and action.

Our 2014 kickoff event will be taking place soon, so be sure to get your tickets ASAP. Follow Ignite Stamford on Twitter and Facebook. If you are interested in applying to speak, just fill out the application on the website. We hope to see you at the event!

Looking forward to attending Ignite? Tweet at me with #Ignite, and let me know!


In Pursuit of Progress

As you may or may not know, I was recently elected to serve on my city’s legislative board. It was truly humbling to receive the support of my neighbors. At our first meeting of the term, an organizational meeting, we assigned leadership and committee positions, and I was once again honored to be granted the confidence of my colleagues. My notable assignments include:

  • Chair, State & Commerce Committee
  • Member, Education Committee
  • Member, Operations Committee
  • Board Parliamentarian

I look forward to working with my colleagues in the coming years. More updates on activities to come.


Charging for Community Development

This evening I had a meeting with my colleagues from Ignite Stamford, an organization we are slowly formalizing, evolving, and relaunching as a unique brand (coming soon). The question came up as to whether we should continue to charge a nominal $10 fee per event attendee, or if it would be better to open up the event for free. There are advantages to each, of course. On one hand, charging money frees the organization from relying on sponsors to pay for things like food and drinks for events. On the other hand, free means that as long as someone can get to the event location, they are able to participate and partake. As you may have already been able to tell, I am leaning towards the former.

From an attendee point of view, $10 is not a lot of money for this event. Each person who attends is given more than their money’s worth in consumables, alone. Add in the value of the event itself, and the organization is significantly undervaluing its tickets. From an organizational point of view, we aren’t keeping any of the money as profit or paying ourselves, but we can use some of the income to fund cool community development projects. Seems like a greater community ROI to me.

What do you think? Should community development events like these be free or paid? Tweet at me (@BrienBuckman) with #IgniteOp and let me know!