Berto Jongman: Alexis C. Mardrigal on Obama’s Technical Team – Soul of a New [Chicago] Machine

Advanced Cyber/IO, Software
Berto Jongman

Extreme detail.

When the Nerds Go Marching In

Alexis C. Madrigal

The Atlantic, 16 November 2012


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“The real innovation in 2012 is that we had world-class technologists inside a campaign,” Slaby told me. “The traditional technology stuff inside campaigns had not been at the same level.” And yet the technologists, no matter how good they were, brought a different worldview, set of personalities, and expectations.

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‘We’ll hire these product managers who have campaign experience, then hire engineers who have technical experience — and these two worlds will magically come together.’ That failed,” Davidsen said. “Those two groups of people couldn’t talk to each other.”

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The outsider status that the team both adopted and had applied to them gave them the right to question previous practices.

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“That took some time. You have to develop new trust with people. It’s just change management. It’s not complicated; it’s just hard.”

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Read full article (two screens).

Phi Beta Iota:  This is an extraordinary and “must read” article at multiple levels, and particularly at the technical level.  The specific examples of products and methods woven in to a very well-told tale make this article a gold standard.  We have not seen anything this good since Tracy Kidder’s 1980’s classic (now in a new 2011 edition), The Soul of a New Machine.  We doubt Obama will carry the lessons over into government, but if he did, the place to do it is the Open Source Agency (OSA) where all of the opens could be nurtured and the star of the above article, Harper Reed, could be CTO for the World Brain and Global Game.

See Also:

Paperback:  THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth & Trust

Kindle:  THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth & Trust