Since President Obama said he’d name a “federal CTO,” I’ve been watching with interest to see who he’d pick. A lot of people expected that he’d pick a big name industry figure, but he went another direction and chose Aneesh Chopra, the Secretary of Technology for the state of Virginia. Chopra’s name is not one I’d heard before, but Tim O’Reilly makes a compelling argument for why he’s a good choice.
Chopra’s experience is specifically in driving technological advancement in government. I agree with O’Reilly that picking someone who’s never worked in government would limit what can be achieved, because learning how things work in a government setting takes time. Chopra is not going to need to get up to speed.
What I’d like to see is Chopra writing a blog himself, or at least Tweeting. If the federal government is doing interesting things on the IT front (and I expect it will be), part of the value he can provide is teaching states and municipalities what they could be doing as well. I hope he takes the outreach part of the job seriously.