Brenda Cooper

Obama’s Search for a CTO

No, I don’t normally blog directly on technology and politics.  But I am a CIO (for the City of Kirkland, WA) and this discussion has fascinated me.  Here is how it has gone.

  • I first heard Obama was going to appoint a CIO after lunch with a friend who is a CIO for a major city, and could do the job well if picked.  This was before Obama was even elected.
  • Last week, I heard a call in talk show about it on NPR while I was driving to a meeting with other local CIO’s (mostly of big companies in the private sector, although a few of us with smaller jobs get to go learn from the big boys).  Part of the meeting topic – the ice-breaker question – was all about what the new CTO should do.  The answers were fascinating.  Half the group seemed hopeful, half not so much.  It will be a tough job.
  • It’s come up all over the technology blogs.  Technology pundits haven’t had so much fun in years.
  • There is at least one whole website devoted to it. 

I did go there and vote on priorities — I think there are clear priorities for this person, including network neutrality, broadband penetration and increased speed, and education.  I’ve had email from the Obama transition team, including some that just wanted my opinion – that weren’t even also pleas for money (good – it’s time for a break on that until he gets into office at least – let us go through the holidays plea-free).   These weren’t private emails – they were messages to his broad base of folks who engaged in the campaign on the iternet.  they were using technology to communicate.  Yeah!

But most importantly, I’m thrilled that the conversation has interested so many people.  Technology matters, ans science matters, and we apparently have an incoming administration that really gets it.

Now we need a Secretary of Science or some such title to show that we’ve come into a period where we can rationalize policy and the real world.