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About

Code for San Francisco is a group of people, first and foremost. We also call ourselves technologists, planners, designers, doers, thinkers, and activists. Each week, we actively work together to improve the City and County of San Francisco, often using technology to support our efforts. By connecting people, organizations, resources, tools, and networks to build for San Francisco, we will all thrive.

Code for San Francisco is a safe space for experimentation, learning and practicing skills, taking chances, and asking questions, all to affect and encourage positive change. Whenever possible, we proactively reach out to those who are left out, excluded, ignored, or discriminated against. Those people, in our opinion, represent our most desirable source for experiences, knowledge, and thoughts. We fail without their involvement.

What happens at a hack night?

Code for San Francisco starts every Wednesday at 6 PM at Code for America's HQ. The event is free, and the invitation is open to anyone, especially folks who are not programmers.

Here's what happens at Code for San Francisco every week (see event page for each week for details):

6:00pm – Socializing and food

As people arrive, we gather on the first floor of Code for America's offices.

Because we’re meeting during the dinner hour, food is always provided, usually pizza. We want to make sure people are happy and fed, and eating together is a great way to break the ice and bond with other attendees. This is time for everyone to get to know each other.

6:30pm – Welcoming remarks

We get started around 6:30pm with a brief welcome and introduction to the event.

Next, we hold an open floor for announcements for civic tech and open government related things. This could be plugging other events, mentioning newsworthy articles, and job announcements in the government and civic tech space.

Following this present projects are encouraged to give a short 30 second pitch to share: project background for new members, any updates, and specific needs they have for the evening.

Short presentations (< 5 minutes) also happen during this section. Often times these are projects presenting their work, but could be on anything civic tech related. These are not always scheduled ahead of time, but we do encourage you to reach out to us before the event to ensure we have time for everyone interested.

We record these announcements in our weekly meeting notes and agenda Google Doc. Here’s an example from our 11/1/2017 hack night.

Annoucement at Hack Night
Jason Lally announces inception of our resiliency working group

7:00pm – Presentation with Q&A

Occasionally we will have longer form presentations that range from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, with an open question & answer (Q&A) session after.

Presenters can be any government agency, non-profit, company or group who've made use of open government data or built a civic technology application. Anyone can propose a talk, and we often reach out to presenters who would be a good fit. For every speaker, we provide some clear speaker guidelines.

Presentation at Hack Night
Josh Staples reports on decibel levels in BART

~7:30pm - 9:30pm – Hack time

Once the opening wraps up, the format of the event opens up to allow people to get together and:

  • Work on projects
  • Start something new
  • Discuss civic tech in the bay area and at large

Anyone is welcome to start a new project. The only requirement is that you take ownership of the group and make an honest attempt to keep showing up every week.

Hacking at Hack Night
Projects hacking away

When 9:30pm rolls around, we all head home and do it all over again next week.

Everyone is welcome!

Not a techie? That's ok! We encourage non-technical folks to pair up and learn from our community's designers and developers. We've seen time and time again, the most successful projects come from teams with a diverse background.

Remember, there's much more to making a great project than just coding. Not the least of which, there is also:

  • User research
  • Product management
  • Project management
  • Community engagement
  • Promotion
And much more!

How are you organized?

Code for San Francisco is led by a team of volunteer organizers.

Leadership Council

Every month, we hold an open Leadership Council Meeting to discuss new ideas and ways to make the hack night better. Anyone is welcome to join! More info »

Finances

Code for San Francisco is hosted at Code for America and supported by our amazing sponsors.

Our Partners

Code for San Francisco partners with San Francisco government and Bay Area non-profits to make our city work better. Here’s some of the organizations we work with: