The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Day: CTO for America!

by Affect Team on October 21, 2008

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Allow yourself to imagine just for a moment how much easier life would be if our government agencies had a legit technology infrastructure. Now say hello to this awesome idea I just read about in BusinessWeek. Should Obama win the presidency, he’s planning to hire the first ever — and cabinet-level to boot — Chief Technology Officer!

Barack Obama says that the U.S. is not doing nearly enough to create jobs through technology. Shortly after he launched his campaign, the Illinois Senator promised that if elected, he would create the first-ever Cabinet-level post of chief technology officer. The economic crisis has since made it certain that a White House CTO would become one of Obama’s most important advisers, should he triumph in November. “Obama sees greater broadband penetration as an enormous economic engine, much like the railroads were a century ago,” says Andrew D. Lipman, a veteran communications lawyer in Washington. “That is why the CTO will play such a critical role in any recovery plan.”

Steve Ballmer, Vint Cerf and Jeff Bezos are all on the short list. So is Lawrence Lessig, who claims not to be interested but would be my #1 pick. I wish FiveThirtyEight would run some stats on the prospects. [Ed.: I'm trying to work a John Perry Barlow joke into this post, but it's too early for that kind of cerebral humor around here.]

Who’d you like to see as America’s CTO?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Paul B 11.20.08 at 11:23 am

If the job is to champion technology, and be an ambassador for power of technology, including the adoption of standards (esp in healthcare), then the job might be worthwhile.

Conversely, if the job is about driving technology adoption into government agencies—Technology won’t be the savior. A process re-do and people evaluation would come first, with technology way, way after.

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