Over on the Sunlight Foundation blog, Ellen Miller asks White House: Where is the CTO?. Pardon my bluntness, Ellen, but what are you smoking? Don't you think there are higher priorities right now?

It seems to me that Obama and his administration have their hands more than full working on the economic problems we're facing along with rebuilding some of our important international relationships. I'm as much of a technology geek as the next guy, but it really won't bother me if the punt on the whole CTO thing for a few months while some of the bigger fish are fried.

I can't say quite why, but this call for immediate action on a CTO feels like a bit of headline grabbing and irresponsibility at the same time. Sure, they could come out and name a CTO tomorrow and I'd applaud the move. But I really hope they're keeping their priorities in check. Part of being a good leader is deciding what can wait and what cannot. Appointing a CTO can wait. Fixing our economy cannot.

Update: It looks like Kara has jumped on this too.

Posted by jzawodn at February 11, 2009 07:01 AM

Reader Comments
# Matt McCllean said:

Absolutely. Let's make sure our "CFO" is getting things done before worrying too much about a CTO.

on February 11, 2009 07:11 AM
# Charles said:

The US Government already has a CTO position: the Director of the National Science Foundation. That position is appointed by the President and confirmed by Congress.

on February 11, 2009 07:23 AM
# Chris said:

He issued the memo late in January, well into the financial crisis. Leaders with integrity follow through on their promises or they simply don't make the promise.

How can you ever trust someone who doesn't follow through on promises? Ah that's right, faith and hope.

on February 11, 2009 07:32 AM
# BenC said:

But what if having a CTO could be part of the solution?

Rebuilding infrastructure seems to be the way our governments (I'm from Canada) want to get us out of this. But something that I'm earing more and more is, why not also count technological infrastructure in this? Concrete is nice, but fiber and silicon too.

An official CTO would make full sense then.

on February 11, 2009 08:56 AM
# Steve Friedl said:

You're proposing a serial solution to problem-solving, while naming a CTO would turn it into parallel problem-solving. Mr. Obama would appoint a CTO, give him broad marching orders, then turn his attention back to the financial mess while the CTO worked on tech stuff.

Unless you're suggesting that the President shouldn't delegate in the big picture?

on February 25, 2009 06:04 AM
# Joseph Hunkins said:

A good basic priority point but I think I'm with Steve F. on this one - the CTO is going to bring skills and innovation to the table others can't match, and solutions spring from innovation.

My vote for USA CTO? Craig Newmark:

on February 27, 2009 07:08 AM
# Pies said:

I think naming a CTO would be a nice step towards helping your economy, assuming the nomination would be generally accepted.

So maybe it should wait indeed.

on March 5, 2009 07:20 AM
# Pies said:

Generally speaking I don't think politics works better or faster when you add more politicians.

on March 5, 2009 07:24 AM
# watzabatza said:


Exactly, that would be a great idea.

on March 30, 2009 04:15 AM
# netsurfer said:

Nice one, I've just found your blog.
@ Charles - Hmm, I've never new that

on June 12, 2009 05:13 AM
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