Mark Drapeau on “Government 2.0: The Midlife Crisis”

My buddy Mark Drapeau has got a pretty solid article in ReadWrite Web entitled “Government 2.0: The Midlife Crisis.”

Government 2.0 has reached its midlife crisis. Despite some leadership from influential individuals on using social software in government, there is still in many cases a disconnect between authorities issuing directives and ground troops carrying them out. In some corridors of Washington, this impervious middle section of government is jokingly referred to as “the clay layer,” the layer through which no light shall pass. Resistant to change and adhering strictly to doctrine even when nonsensical, people in the clay layer can halt progress. Despite their intentions and being in a strategic position, they often stop the progress being called for.


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Congrats to DC’s Vivek Kundra on Being Named the Federal CIO

Wanted to send a hearty congrats to DC’s very own Vivek Kundra. He’s been named by President Obama to the post of Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO).

He also will be charged with using technology to lower the cost of government operations and making government data more accessible to citizens, two things he championed as the District’s chief technology officer.

Definitely wish him the best of luck!!!!  Hopefully he’ll really be able to cut through the BS and get some stuff done.


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WaPo on Road Bumps for the White House Tech Team

Interesting story yesterday in the Washington Post about some of the road bumps that the White House Tech team was facing…

The team that ran the most technologically advanced presidential campaign in modern history is finding it difficult to adapt that model to government. WhiteHouse.gov, envisioned as the primary vehicle for President Obama to communicate with the online masses, has been overwhelmed by challenges that staffers did not foresee and technological problems they have yet to solve.

Obama, for example, would like to send out mass e-mail updates on presidential initiatives, but the White House does not have the technology in place to do so. The same goes for text messaging, another campaign staple.

Beyond the technological upgrades needed to enable text broadcasts, there are security and privacy rules to sort out involving the collection of cellphone numbers, according to Obama aides, who acknowledge being caught off guard by the strictures of government bureaucracy.


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TransparencyCamp – My Thoughts The Day Before…

So… tomorrow, I’m attending TransparencyCamp here in Washington, DC. It’s going to be a convening of the tribe of people who’re interested in sharing “knowledge on how to use new technologies to make our government transparent and meaningfully accessible to the public.”

Now more then ever our federal government needs Transparency. Yesterday, President Barack Obama presented us with his $3.55 trillion dollar spending plan for 2010. *gulps* That’s a lot of money. Thats an incomprehensible amount of money.

If we’re going to be forced to accept this radical increase in the size of government then bureaucrats need to go out of their way to forge a new relationship of trust with the American people. If they’re going to ask for all this money, they need be reporting back to me on a regular basis about what they’re doing with it and what kind of return we’re getting.

These are the discussions that I’m hoping will be had this weekend at TransparencyCamp. I hope that the organizers are able to attract more then just the advocates and the thought leaders. They need to bring the decision makers to the table. That’s the only way we’re going to get change. Let’s get some people to lay it on the line and start making and announcements and commitments to making this happen, otherwise it’s just an intellectual exercise.

Will you be at TransparencyCamp this weekend? If so, drop me an e-mail. I’d love to meet up. – justin@clearspring.com


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WaPo Columnist Dana Milbank Compares Twittering Congressmen to High School Kids

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank published a column this morning slamming congressman for using Twitter and Qik to give color commentary and play by play  last night during President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress.

In the column he says…

President Obama spoke of economic calamity and war last night in that solemn rite of democracy, the address to the joint session of Congress. And lawmakers watched him with the dignity Americans have come to expect of their leaders: They whipped out their BlackBerrys and began sending text messages like high school kids bored in math class.

This column seems very telling to the extent which many members of the old guard just don’t get where the world is going.

I don’t want to be communicated to by politics in page long press releases or newspaper op-eds that are full of buzz words and empty rhetoric.  I want to to get the unfettered access.  I want to hear their unfiltered thoughts and I want to be able to hold conversation with them about these thoughts.

Twitter and Qik are great tools for this transparency… for this level of access and conversation.

It is our government.  These politicians represent us and thus should do anything and everything they can to connect and form relationships with us their constituents.


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Washington, DC Coffee Baristas Are Some of the Best!

For a long time now, I’ve been saying that DC has been blessed with some of the best baristas in the business. They can be found at Murky Coffee and Peregrine Espresso. Well to prove it, 2 baristas from each of those establishments grabbed up the top four spots at the Mid Atlantic Regional Barista Competition. Read more about it at We Love DC.


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Just Kidding… The Georgetown Apple Store Wasn’t Approved

I guess there was one more hoop that Apple had to jump through to get a retail store into Washington DC’s neighborhood Georgetown: the Old Georgetown Board.   Apparently, Apple’s proposals have been rejected.

DCist is reporting:

The Washington Post’s Paul Schwartzman reports from the Old Georgetown Board meeting today, and says that the board has indeed rejected Apple’s storefront design for a fourth time. While insisting they are eager for the store to open on Wisconsin Ave., the board expressed frustration with Apple for again submitting a design that included a wide, all-glass entryway. Deputy mayor for planning and economic development Neil Albert didn’t mince words: “We’re extremely disappointed with today’s decision.” For it’s part, Apple says it is still committed to making the Georgetown location work and will once again go back to the drawing board.

This sucks.


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Come to the Washington DC Twestival Next Thursday!

Next Thursday, Washington DC is going to be host to it’s very first Twestival.

Your first question is going to be what the hell is a Twestival.  Well I’m glad you asked.   It’s a charity event that’s getting held in 185 cities all across the world all on the same night. The event is being organized and promoted using Twitter and social media.

Our’s in DC is going to be next Thursday at 5:30 pm at the club/restaurant Local 16 up on U St.  It costs $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Proceeds are going to Charity:Water.  They help bring clean water to developing nations.


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This is an awesome excuse to party (which we know DC loves to do)  and do some good in the process.  So come on out!!!

Washington, DC Apple Store Design Approved… Yay!

The dcist is reporting that the Georgetown advisory neighborhood commission has FINALLY approved the design for the upcoming Apple store in their neighborhood.  It may be here as soon as the end of the year.  Yay!

The approved design reportedly has a more Georgetown-friendly brick emphasis and the “Apple logo greatly diminished in size.” Apple retail news web site ifoAppleStore says the store could be open as early as late 2009.

LaunchBox Digital Announces Their Summer ’09 Program

The Washington, DC, early stage investment firm LaunchBox Digital has recently announced their Summer ’09 program.  This is a 12 week program where the LaunchBox team and their advisors work with entrepreneurs to help them build their companies and refine their ideas.  It’s really pretty phenomenal.   I’ve gotten to know some of the LaunchBox team and they’re great!  If you’re interested in their summer program, make sure that you apply today.