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San Francisco

Jennifer Pahlka: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age

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Government at all levels has limped into the digital age, widening the gap between the policy outcomes we intend and what we get.

Jennifer Pahlka served as President Barack Obama’s former deputy chief technology officer. Join us for an in-depth talk as she offers a bold reexamination of how our government operates and the improvements that she says need to be made to end bureaucratic dysfunction.

It’s not more money or more tech we need; Pahlka calls for "recoding" American government to reclaim it for the people it is supposed to serve.


This program has 2 types of tickets available: In-person and online-only. Please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

Safety Protocols for in-person attendance:

  • We follow best practices laid out by the CDC and state and local guidelines.
  • We strongly recommend vaccination for guests, staff, and volunteers.
  • Masks are strongly encouraged while indoors (if you do not have one and would like one, inquire at our front desk for a complimentary mask).
  • We reserve the right to require different rules for specific events as necessary.

Our LEED Gold-certified building is designed to cool with outside air, using digitally controlled moveable windows and large ceiling fans. We are deploying additional HEPA filters inside to scrub the air. This is all in addition to increased cleaning of surfaces throughout the building.

We welcome donations made during registration to support the production of our online programming.

This program is presented in collaboration with the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future.


And it is supported by the Ken & Jaclyn Broad Family Fund. All in-person attendees will receive a copy of Recoding America, compliments of the Ken & Jaclyn Broad Family Fund.

Ken and Jaclyn Broad Family Fund

Photo by Andrea Dunlap.

All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable.

Thu, Jun 22 / 6:00 pm PDT

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Jennifer Pahlka

Jennifer Pahlka

Former Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States; Founder, Code for America; Author, Recoding America: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better; Twitter @ pahlkadot

Image - DJ Patil

In Conversation with DJ Patil

Former U.S. Chief Data Scientist; General Partner, GreatPoint Ventures; Member, The Commonwealth Club Board of Governors; Twitter@dpatil


5:30 p.m. doors open & check-in
6–7 p.m. program
7 p.m. book signing
(all times PDT)


$15 members
$25 nonmembers
Free for members
$10 nonmembers
$32 members with a book
$42 nonmembers with a book