Obama's CTO is Aneesh Chopra

In Monday's IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches President Obama finally get around to picking his CTO... Aneesh who?. Not to mention executive foreheads...

Previously in IT Blogwatch:


Amy Schatz says, "Obama Taps Aneesh Chopra for CTO":

Obama
It may not be the Cabinet-level post that some were hoping for, but President Obama finally named the U.S.’s first chief technology officer on Saturday morning during his weekly radio and Internet address.

Aneesh Chopra, currently Virginia’s secretary of technology, got the nod and will soon join his former colleague Vivek Kundra, the national chief information officer, on a team tasked with using technology to make government more efficient.
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Dana Blankenhorn likes the pick:

Chopra is not an open source executive. He’s not a programmer, either. And he has no political fingerprints on the open source-proprietary divide. What he has is practical experience shepherding projects through a government bureaucracy. He had been state technology officer for Virginia. He understands the buzzwords ... he is a genuine tech tech enthusiast.
...
Before taking the Virginia job, he got his ticket punched as a venture capitalist, as a manager of a tech incubator, and as an advocate for health IT. Perhaps Chopra’s most relevant experience to open source is his work on rural broadband under Virginia Governor (and now Democratic National Committee head) Tim Kaine.
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Jason Kincaid notes Chopra's not one of the usual suspects:

The choice comes after months of speculation, during which many of Silicon Valley’s most prominent figures, including Steve Ballmer, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Eric Schmidt (among many others) were named as possible candidates. Whether or not some of these people actually wanted the position is another story, but obviously President Obama chose a different route.
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Google's Alan Davidson is glad:

Some have said that the appointment should have gone to someone from Silicon Valley. We disagree. Chopra's record of being unafraid to experiment and push government to better serve citizens bodes well for his performance in facing difficult challenges and great opportunities.

It's easy to forget that the appointment of a Chief Information Officer -- Vivek Kundra -- and a Chief Technology Officer in the Administration are big steps forward in the federal government's efforts to make government more responsive to citizens. Vivek and Aneesh will be a strong, forward-looking team. .
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Tim O'Reilly, too, really:

Some in Silicon Valley have hoped for one of their own, a CTO with a deep technology pedigree and ties to the technology industry ... This is a narrow view.

I've been working for much of the past year to understand what many have been calling Government 2.0, and in that process, Chopra has been one of those who have taught me the most about how we can build a better government with the help of technology. He is an excellent choice as Federal CTO, for many reasons.
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So Micah L. Sifry eats crow:

Looks like instead of mocking Nancy Scola, we owe her kudos for predicting all the way back in November that Obama's pick for the nation's first Chief Technology Officer would be "someone out of the small but vibrant government CTO world, like Virginia's able Secretary of Technology Aneesh Chopra."
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And finally...


Previously in IT Blogwatch:


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Richi Jennings
is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 24 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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