Polis interviews Ben Berkowitz

Polis, a blog about cities around the world, recently featured an interview with SeeClickFix CEO Ben Berkowitz. A few highlights of the interview are below. To read the entire interview, go here.

When you first brought the idea of using SeeClickFix to local government, what kind of response did you receive?

I was not expecting it to go as smoothly as it did. I didn't expect issues to get fixed when we made them public. I suspected that local government wouldn't like us right away. But it works, and it turns out most local government officials actually do want to do their jobs. More and more governments are partnering with us and not trying to look the other way. Also, I was surprised that so many governments started using our software for managing internal data. I have lots of faith in the engineers on our team and we're building really good software, but I thought that "legacy software" was more entrenched in local government than it was.

When I started, I had a very "us vs them, citizens vs government" mentality, and now I have more of a "we" mentality. There are people on both sides who can be disruptive to the community, and people on both sides that can really make the community a positive place.

Do you think SeeClickFix has succeeded in helping residents and local government connect?

Definitely. People have gotten together to resolve things, people have gotten together to discuss things, people have gotten together to lobby things, people have helped each other. Here's my anecdote of the week: Users reported a desire for a dog park in a previously unused public space, and we helped fundraise for the dog park and got it put up. I just saw a report that a woman's purse had been found in front of the dog park and was posted to SeeClickFix. I'm not sure if she's gotten her purse back yet, but it's amazing to think that the incident might not have been reported if that park hadn't been there.