Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Obama CTO this week? Maybe… or maybe not… and a Kundra WP profile

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The NYT is reporting that Team Obama will name the much-discussed Obama chief technology officer this week — Wednesday, to be exact. The Times reports that Obama will also name the much less discussed chief performance officer. (Italics are mine.)

Mr. Obama will use his public events this week to promise what one adviser called “radical reforms” to impose more control over the regular federal budget down the road. Among other areas, the president-elect will focus on changing Pentagon contracting and aid to corporate America, advisers said. He will also designate a chief performance officer and a chief technology officer Wednesday to help make government more efficient, they said.

NextGov’s TechInsider says… not so fast.

According to the Obama transition team, they have no plans to announce who may fill the CTO position on Wednesday. According to senior reporter Jill R. Aitoro:

“That report is wrong, there is no CTO announcement on Wednesday,” said Nick Shapiro, transition spokesman in an email correspondence with He confirmed also that the person would not be named tomorrow either. Beyond that, no details were provided about when the announcement might be made, and other members of the transition team did not respond to inquiries.


What do you think? Matthew Burton has set up a prediction market about who the Obama CTO will be. At last check, there was a tie among a whole host of people. See the current predictions here. (It’s just for fun — virtual money, not ‘real’ money.)

Meanwhile, one of the DorobekInsider recommendations for a good CTO — DC CTO Vivek Kundra — got a nice profile in the Washington Post this morning. (For the record, the other DorobekInsider recommendation is Andrew McAfee, an associate professor at the Harvard Business School who is widely credited with coining the term “enterprise 2.0.”)

From the WP piece:

Kundra has introduced popular consumer tools to bureaucratic processes, runs his office like a tech start-up and works by the mantra that citizens are “co-creators rather than subjects.”

His ideas have caught the eye of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team and landed him a role as a tech policy adviser to the new administration. His approach could serve as a model for how a federal chief technology officer, a new position Obama has pledged to appoint, might operate. Kundra has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the job.

The bidding process for city contracts is posted on YouTube, for example, and his employees use versions of Wikipedia and Twitter in the office. He wants to let drivers pay parking tickets and renew driver’s licenses on Facebook.

Read the full story here… and read Government Technology’s synopsys here.

Of course, there was a flurry of speculation that one of the reasons Steve Jobs was not going to be at MacWorld was because Jobs was going to be the Obama CTO. DorobekInsider survey says… BZZZZZZ

But the speculation may be coming to an end… we hope.

Written by cdorobek

January 5, 2009 at 8:16 PM

2 Responses

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  1. […] a comment » Despite the NYT reports that the Obama CTO would be named Wednesday, it was not to be. We’ll have to wait a bit longer for that one. Instead, there was word of […]

  2. […] the NYT report that the Obama CTO would be named Wednesday — to be fair, they did have word on the chief […]

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