Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Your 01.09.08 Federal CTO reader: No official word yet, so let’s speculate

with 2 comments

The CTO 'market' as of Jan. 9, 8a ET

The CTO 'market' as of Jan. 9, 8a ET

Despite the NYT report that the Obama CTO would be named Wednesday — to be fair, they did have word on the chief performance officer — but word on the CTO was not to be. We’ll have to wait a bit longer for that one, it seems. (No buzz that we’ll hear anything today, and I’m guessing that there will be some buzz before the announcement.)

Most people are focused on the who. The leading names right now are DC CTO Vivek Kundra — who would be on the CJD short list — but the other name that keeps coming up is one that is only somewhat known in the government IT community — Julius Genachowski. Out in Las Vegas this week at CES Government 2009, according to one of the people I ‘follow’ on Twitter, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) predicted that the CTO would be Genachowski. Of course, in Twitter’s 140 characters, you don’t get much nuance. All the tweet said was, “Jim Moran on. He said Julius Janikowski(sp) [sic] will probably be the the federal CTO.”

The DorobekInsider told you earlier that Genachowski is a senior guy on the transition team focusing particularly on technology issues. The Industry Standard, in its list of 10 CTO condenders from last November, said:

One of Obama’s former colleagues from the Harvard Law Review, Genachowski advised two FCC chairmen during the Clinton administration. In recent years, he founded a startup incubator and has helped the president-elect formulate technology policy as a senator. Genachowski now advises the transition team on the CTO decision.

CNet reported on Nov. 6, 2008 that Genachowski chaired the group that helped shape Obama’s Tech and Innovation Plan, in which Obama calls for a CTO.

I have read that Genachowski is also very interested in the issues that the FCC faces, where he used to work, and that he might be interested in serving there. From the people I know who either know Genachowski or have met him, they all have good things to say, so… wherever he ends up, I’m sure it will be interesting.

But it also seems that Kundra — and how DC Mayor Andrian Fente has positioned that position — could be a model that Team Obama is using. The DC CTO has the ear of the mayor — as Obama has said that the Federal CTO will have the ear of the President. And the goals of the DC CTO office — also a newly created position — are similar to the goals of a Federal CTO: A more strategic use of technology.

Among the Obama CTO items out there:

* Checking the CTO ‘markets’: I mentioned earlier about that Matthew Burton has set up a prediction market about who the Obama CTO will be. You can see the most current results here — and participate for yourself — no real money changing hands, it’s all for fun. But there have been changes. The leader had been “Field” — essentially a none of the above category — but DC CTO Vivek Kundra has been making gains. “Field” had led by double digit margins, but “field” is now in second behind Kundra. Again, check it out for yourself — and event chime in yourself. (Registration required.) An aside, we had Burton on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris Tuesday talking about this — but also about his recent post on commenting on the Industry Advisory Council’s innovation agenda transition paper. (You can read that transition paper and find links to our conversations with IAC officials here.) You can hear our conversation with Burton here.

* McAfee on PBS’s Charlie Rose: One of the other people who is on the CJD CTO list is Harvard Busienss School Prof. Andrew McAfee. He would be very different from Kundra or Genachowski — McAfee is an academic — but he is very smart and a very innovative thinker. (We had him on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris talking about his thoughts on the CTO job.) And I was thrilled to see him on PBS’s Charlie Rose show — a CJD-fav — earlier this week talking about the role of technology. You can see that interview here.

* Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales and Andrea Weckerle on government technology: One other must read is a CNN column by Wales and Weckerle about what should be on the CTO’s to-do list.

The incoming Obama administration’s plan to appoint the first national chief technology officer unequivocally emphasizes the new team’s belief that technology isn’t ancillary or extraneous to governance, and instead that it’s an integral part of the effective running of a democratic superpower.

It’s no wonder that the online world nearly burst with excitement upon hearing the news. But to fully and effectively implement its mission, the CTO position must be nonpolitical and, at least initially, internally focused.

Read the full post here.

Written by cdorobek

January 9, 2009 at 9:22 AM

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] and rising health care costs to the flagging economy and national security threats. Who will Obama appoint? While we await his announcement, we should all applaud him for making the decision to appoint the […]

  2. […] winnowed — one of the big names is taking another job. Julius Genachowski, who has been a senior technology adviser — in fact, the man credited with Obama’s technology agneda, including the CTO post […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: