A Technologist Goes to Washington

Why I’m Going to Work at the White House

The White House

Soon I will be reporting to the White House, rolling up my sleeves, and getting to work. I’m going because I believe in the value of American democracy and the power of public services to make a real difference in the lives of real people. I’m going because I believe in building meaningful coalitions which include diverging viewpoints and are representative of all Americans.

America is a great country. While its history is not without blemish, our society was built by people. And though people are by nature imperfect, there is no denying we have much to be proud of. America has a functioning civil society, a government that works with a system of checks and balances, and a professional service economy which facilitates the timely exchange of goods and services. We have decent roads, running electricity, Internet access, and a literacy rate in the 90th percentile. We hold democratic elections regularly and peacefully transition power, on schedule, once the ballot box has spoken.

As a public servant, I believe firmly in my duty to provide the highest quality of service because my customers are taxpaying Americans. As a technologist, I have been frustrated, at almost every turn on my service path, by inefficiencies in how our government procures and deploys IT solutions. The same model used for buying helicopters should not be used to build a website or a mobile application. Technology has fundamentally changed every aspect of how Americans interact; economically and socially, professionally and personally. Yet many government interactions remain clunky and analog. This growing disparity is one we can no longer ignore. In 2018 every business requires a strong technology infrastructure and those unable to develop accordingly are destined for failure. Public service is no different.

The Executive Office of the President recognizes this incredible need and the urgency of rapidly modernizing the federal IT landscape. Starting with projects that provide the greatest impact to the greatest number of people in the greatest need, the US Digital Service is a three-year-old, lean startup within the federal government. Their first project was the rescue of healthcare.gov in the wake of its day zero disaster. Since then they have gone on to partner with a number of federal agencies, working to identify IT projects which pose significant risks to national security, increase access to government services, and streamline operations to save taxpayer dollars.

I am proud to be joining this team, proud to be representing the diversity I contribute to America, and eager to work side-by-side with some of the greatest minds in tech on the biggest problems facing federal IT and the American people. On this next chapter of my public service journey, I bear firmly in mind the experiences of where I come from and where I’ve been. I will never use my skills for evil, to discriminate, or to harm. I have taken an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States and am a stalwart steward of the public trust bestowed upon me. Thank you for your support and I look forward to continuing to serve America in the best way I can.

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