D.C. CTO Vivek Kundra Gets Federal Nod

February 7, 2009

6:59 pm

The news about Washington DC’s CTO Vivek Kundra being tapped for a high federal position in the Obama administration met me with mixed feelings yesterday.  On one hand I was really hoping he got the nod for the Federal technology leadership position, and I am also a bit sad to see him go even though it is a great accomplishment for him and I am glad he is being recognized.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Kundra in his office one morning to discuss technology and innovation in the DC area.  I cannot stress how impressed I was with him.  Contrary to how we “think” bureaucrats are supposed to be, Vivek was the polar opposite.  He grasped the issues at hand for his local government and wanted to make changes.  He knew that status quo was not the answer and was looking to open up opportunities for small business to really infuse innovation into the system.  He saw fit to make big changes, saving the local government large amounts of taxpayer money.  He signed deals with Google and Apple.  He introduced Google Applications into the system, replacing almost arcane exchange servers.  He used Google Earth to track volumes of data.  Everything from IT trouble tickets in the school system to issues with trash collection.  He GOT IT and it was a refreshing change.

A couple of months back he took a big step and partnered with a local interactive design agency, iStrategyLabs and its founder Peter Corbett, to launch what they called Apps for Democracy.  It was

contest where talented technologists and creatives battled it out to see who could create the most useful applications from DC’s Data Catalog — a resource that has tons of open data feeds including most recent roadkill pickups! Sweet!

Just one more example of the vision and foresight Mr. Kundra brought to the local area.  So on one hand I am sad to see him go, he was accessible and we saw him around.  On the other I am hoping he can go and infuse some of his vision into an organization that is sorely in need of innovation.  I do think his road will be a tough one though.  The difference between driving change on a local level compared to the federal level is immense.  Nothing moves fast in the federal, and getting innovation wedged into the cracks between the big old school boys on the block is going to be hard to come by.  But I hope he can do it, if nothing more than something small.

Good Luck Vivek, we will be rooting for you!

TECH cocktail Community Contributed Knowledge

Jimmy Gardner is the founder of MyDropBin and 2Plus11 Technology. He works in the technology field as a government contractor. He also blogs at East Cost Blogging. He can be reached at [email protected]. Or add Jimmy as a friend in the TECH cocktail COMMUNITY.

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Jimmy Gardner is a Senior Unix/Windows Engineer, a lover of technology and photography. Follow him online at @jjgardner3 and enjoy his portfolio at jjg3photo.com/.

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