“Making government work better.” That theme carried through my entire South by Southwest (#SXSW) 2016 experience last week. I’ve attended my fair share of SXSWs, and this year had the biggest buzz to date for improving government services and elevating the right technology to do it.
With such an energizing buzz around #civictech, it was twice as awesome to be participating in the inaugural U.S. Conference of Mayors and Code for America Tech Innovation Pitch, sponsored by Amazon Web Services. I had the opportunity to pitch PayIt’s story to a number of America’s most forward-thinking mayors and industry leaders from GM, Amazon and other top companies.
As one of 62 startups that applied and only 11 selected to pitch the panel of mayors and industry experts, I’m proud to say we were awarded third overall in the competition! The panel cited the practical-ness of PayIt’s mobile technology solutions and our ability to address and simplify such a wide variety of government services and citizen use cases.
In short, we help you and your citizens get stuff done, simply. A big part of this recognition is the rapid shift to mobile and the importance of connecting with citizens wherever, however and whenever they prefer. During a panel, Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento echoed that idea, calling for government to move toward a “paperless, wireless and cashless” mindset.
Clearly, mayors want to fundamentally change the way they provide services to their residents. It’s given rise to the Smart Cities initiative that’s taken root in so many U.S. metro areas.
“You can’t just do different things. You have to do things differently.” I love this sentiment! And we heard it a lot among the U.S. mayors in attendance.
And many agree that government can’t solve today’s problems alone but PayIt can help with on-demand solutions that drive a citizen-first experience in citations, utilities and public transit as noted by Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
President Obama’s remarks underscored the mobile gov buzz, both in getting people to raise their hands to help government, but also acknowledging that government must open its doors to the value private sector partners can provide.
#SXSW was a tremendous experience this year. It was amazing to share and get feedback from so many insightful people in the tech industry and public sector. The competition win was great! But the biggest prize was the feedback that will help us continue to shape and build smarter solutions that serve citizens and support local governments everywhere.
Hear more about Luke’s SXSW experience this Saturday, March 19 from 4 - 5 p.m. (CDT) on Grill Nation at Talk980AM or online at www.Talk980AM.com.