CTO stands for Chief Technology Officer.
CIO stands for Chief Information Officer.
CSC stands for Cyber Security Czar.

I own Motorola stock. The reason this disclosure is important will become obvious below.

Dear Mr. President:

Welcome to your new stature as the nation’s Number One Temporary Employee.

Business Week reports that you have two executives in mind for your newly minted position of federal Chief Technology Officer, one from Cisco Systems and one from the Washington, D.C., government.

Padmasree Warrior was CTO at Motorola before joining Crisco. She directed research for the Motorola “semiconductor unit and ran its energy systems group before being appointed CTO in 2003—when she was placed in charge of a 4,600-person R&D lab.”

She has impressive qualifications on paper. The facts on the ground look a bit different. During her tenure at MOT, the number of innovative products dwindled, the stock price tumbled, and the company slashed employment including reportedly more than half the R&D staff. Motorola employees are … wary … of Ms. Warrior. And I have lost thousands of dollars on Motorola stock. On paper.

Ms. Warrior “could sing and dance ably, but her words and ideas were empty,” one Motorolan told me.

Mr. Kundra looks just as good on paper. He has served as a technology officer for Virginia and, in D.C., runs “his 600-person staff like a startup, experimenting in … cutting-edge technologies.” He already advises you on technology issues.

Common sense suggests we need people in government who innovate and build. Due diligence means we need people who look even better on the ground than they do on paper.

Be very wary; the bright and shiny object you want may be a mylar balloon filled with hot air. Please choose wisely.

President Barack Obama is the first geek to become president; we real life geeks and nerds certainly applaud his personal knowledge of the Internet and his hands-on skill with the Barackberry (even I don’t have a smartphone). The only other politicians who come close may be Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and former DNC Chair Howard Dean.Mr. Obama will focus heavily on technology early in his new administration. That’s a good thing. He intends to create a Chief Technology Officer (and the accompanying Chief Technology Office) to complement the federal Chief Information Officer (and her accompanying Chief Information Office) and the equally new federal Cyber-Security Czar (and the accompanying Cyber-Security Office). That may not be a good thing.

“The President-elect clearly recognizes the importance of technology,” Technology Association of America’s Jeff Lande told BusinessWeek, “and is elevating them to the appropriate level of importance in his Administration.”


Why does the Federal government need so many high level people to build empires that do pretty much the same job?

I may be a bear of very little brain but I have some trouble finding enough honey in the tree to keep all these offices out of each others’ hair.

If it were my job, I’d form a committee to create an office to consider the problem of studying the offices. No. Scratch that. If it were my job, I would spend 30 or 40 seconds of Deep Thought (>==note big blue pun) and realize that I can handle only so many direct reports. I would decide that the Cyber Czaring is a Homeland Security issue. I would determine that the Information Office and Technology Office are complementary bodies that need a single head.

OK, I’m done. I may not have solved all of the problems of the Federal Gummint but I have whittled them down a little.

2 thoughts on “CTO-I & II

  1. One of the rules of liberalism is to hold in high esteem those of that ideology who have failed. Watch any Sunday mainstream media talking heads show and see who the pundits call upon for opinion and enlightenment. Most are democrat losers of election campaigns or hastily discharged military men with axes to grind against whichever republican administration happens to be the one which gave them the boot.

    Failure is a badge of honor among liberals because each can share the other’s victimhood status.

    So, the biggest losers get the biggest applause.

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