In 2007 VentureBeat.com reported that if elected, Barack Obama would be the first president to appoint a cabinet-level Chief Technology Officer (CTO). At the time, the President-elect had already drafted an ambitious technology plan with two of the main initiatives being the creation of a more transparent government and the stimulation of job growth (mostly through the development of broadband networks).
Regardless of whether it’s a national broadband buildout to create jobs, increased cybersecurity initiatives or the implementation of an enterprise architecture system to streamline the way agencies handle their day to day business, someone with brains and clout is needed to fill what will be one the most important jobs in government over the next 50 years.
Rather than provide my misguided ideas about who would excel in the position, I’ll leave it to folks who are smarter than the above average PR guy. Several notable bloggers and writers have created lists of potential candidates, some of which are highlighted below.
Dan Tynan – Blogger/Freelance Writer – Who will be king of the geeks? – “Al Gore. Sure, he invented the Internet, but can he get the White House email system to work properly? Even if he were qualified he wouldn’t want the job; he’s too busy saving the planet one polar bear at a time.”
Tom Lowry of BusinessWeek – The Short List for U.S. technology Officer – Quoting Ed Felten, a U.S. CTO candidate and professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University, “First, the CTO could act as the cybersecurity czar, ensuring that reliability of the government infrastructure is protected. And much like the role of presidential science adviser, the CTO could offer advice to the president on all areas of technology. The role could be a catalyst to push us closer to being a more entrepreneurial, high-tech country.”
Jason Hiner of ZDnet.com – 10 Candidates who could become Obama’s CTO – On Julius Genachowski, founder of LaunchBox Digital, “Genachowski went to Harvard Law School with Obama and served as an advisor to the Obama campaign on technology issues, even helping to draft Obama’s technology platform. He previously served as chief of business operations at InterActive Corp, was an FCC advisor during the Clinton administration, and founded his own company, LaunchBox Digital, to help tech startups. Since the election, Obama has named Genachowski to his transition team. It’s likely that he will have a role in the Obama administration, either as the first CTO or, more likely, as head of the FCC.”
Robert Scoble – Tech Evangelist/Blogger for Scobelizer.com – Who Should Be U.S. CTO? – Posted a video interview on Fast Company’s site with Larry Lessig, founder of Creative Commons and professor of law at Stanford University. Consequently, Mr. Lessig is not interested in the position but his description of the CTO’s role as well as Robert Scoble’s suggestions and all of the reader comments make this worth a visit.
Posted by: Nick