Creating San Francisco’s Most Useful Apps

Shawn Allen (Stamen Design), Andreas Weigend (Stanford University), Jon Walton (City and County of San Francisco), Jennifer Pahlka (Code for America)
Big Ideas 2002
Average rating: **...
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The City of San Francisco has incredibly useful information about every mode of transportation, restaurant, building, park, business, crime committed, recycling opportunity, health information, pollution, dog license, and tree, among other data sets, stored in databases scattered among City departments. We have challenged other organizations to set this information free. So far, over 60 downloadable apps and websites that make people’s lives easier have been developed. We are hoping to involve more organizations developers to create more apps over the next year.

In this session, Jon Walton, CIO City of San Francisco will discuss why they’re allowing public access to data and the ability to configure information within and outside of government. He’ll present a take-no-prisoners interview with people who have worked on city-data apps to reveal the good, the bad and the very ugly truth about this process, and the kick-ass apps now available to the public on our smart phones. This session is non-technical and will provide info for anyone interested in apps based on city data.

Photo of Shawn Allen

Shawn Allen

Stamen Design

Shawn is a partner and design director at Stamen, a San Francisco studio specializing in data visualization and mapping.

As Design Director, he takes an active role in both the design of interactive information interfaces and the development of the underlying technologies that drive them. Since 2000 he has created numerous tools on the web for discovering real-time and historical data from transportation systems, social networks, live cultural and sporting events, public advocacy organizations, and the news media.

Shawn also advocates for open data and consults journalists, policymakers, and the public sector on strategies for making digital information relevant, accessible, and desirable.

Photo of Andreas Weigend

Andreas Weigend

Stanford University

Dr. Andreas Weigend studies the ongoing revolution in social data. He directs the Social Data Lab and teaches at Stanford University. Previously, as the chief scientist of, he focused on building the customer-centric and measurement-focused culture that has been central to Amazon’s success.

Andreas works with innovative startups and global companies alike, helping them understand and leverage the irreversible changes in how consumers express themselves, make purchasing and lifestyle decisions, and relate to each other. His goal is to guide his clients through the evolving landscape of consumer behavior and unprecedented data to identify new business opportunities.

Through corporate seminars, brainstorming sessions, workshops, and individual mentoring, he works with clients to define relevant metrics, design experiments, build predictive models, and invent incentives that inspire users to participate and share data which results in new products and business models. His clients include Alibaba, Allstate, Lufthansa, Nokia, Priceline, SAP, Symantec, Thomson Reuters, Visa, and the World Economic Forum.

Andreas speaks at top conferences around the globe. In September 2011, he will address the General Assembly of the United Nations and share his vision on the future of data, mobile and social technologies. Andreas is known to challenge the minds of his audience, in order to help them understand the Social Data Revolution.

Andreas is currently an advisor or board member of ApeSnap, eCommera, FirstRetail, Peerius, Mu-Sigma, RocketFuel, Savored, Shopilly, Skout, and Uniqlick (Beijing), as well as a limited partner at Founders Fund. Startups he co-founded or advised include Moodlogic (music crowdsourcing, acquired by All Media Guide, then Macrovision), Cleverset (recommendation technology, acquired by ATG, then Oracle), (travel and hotel reservations, acquired by Priceline), Xiaonei (China’s largest Facebook clone, acquired by Ren Ren), and (behavioral targeting, acquired by Deutsche Post).

Andreas studied in Germany and Cambridge (UK), and received his Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University. His career as a data scientist combined with his deep industry and startup experience allows him to successfully bridge the gap between academia and industry. He lives in San Francisco, Shanghai and on

Jon Walton

City and County of San Francisco

Jon Walton has the honor of serving as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City & County of San Francisco, a role that carries the additional title of Chairman of the Committee on Information Technology (COIT).

As CIO, Mr. Walton oversees the delivery of technology services to the citizens of San Francisco and internal support to 23,000 City employees. Under Mr. Walton’s leadership the Department of Technology provides enterprise email, network, security, public safety radio, data center, virtualization, telecommunications, web, government television, customer support, and social media. As Chairman of COIT, Mr. Walton is responsible for citywide Information and Communications Technology strategy plan, multi-year fiscal planning, enterprise wide performance oversight, and citywide technology enterprise architecture.

Prior to working for the City of San Francisco Mr. Walton has served as the CIO for the City of San Jose and Sr. Practice Manager for Unisys Government Service. He has been a speaker at the Nikkei Internet Awards, VMWorld, Government Technology Conferences, and Forbes Technology Forum.

Photo of Jennifer Pahlka

Jennifer Pahlka

Code for America

Jennifer Pahlka is the founder and executive director of Code for
America, which is dedicated to the idea that government can work for
the people, by the people, in the 21st century. She is an Ashoka
fellow, and received the Internet and Society Award from the Oxford
Internet Institute in 2012. Government Technology named her one of
2011’s Doers, Dreamers and Drivers in Public Sector Innovation and the
Huffington Post named her the top Game Changer in Business and
Technology the same year. She is known for her TED talk, Coding a
Better Government, and is a frequent speaker. Previously, she ran the
Web 2.0 and Gov 2.0 events for TechWeb, in conjunction with O’Reilly
Media, and co-chaired the successful Web 2.0 Expo. She is a graduate
of Yale University and lives in Oakland, Calif. with her daughter and
eight chickens.

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Ally Parker

Kaitlin Pike
(415) 947-6306

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