Who will be king of the Geeks?

Very soon the US will have its first chief technology officer. Whom should Obama appoint? Cringely shares some ideas.

Now that the election is finally over, all that's left are about a zillion new government appointments. But I know the denizens of Cringeville are particularly interested in one post above all: who the new administration will call to serve as the nation's first CTO.

Whoever it is, the job won't be pretty. CNET's Dan Farber lists some of the challenges facing any potential CTO, not least of which is coordinating all the other federal CTOs:

Just creating and implementing a coherent technology plan and policy for the numerous agencies under the Department of Homeland Security is an incredibly daunting task for a CTO. The DHS Directorate of Science and Technology, for example, has a budget of [US]$830 million. It has 250 projects in process and 50 percent of them are expected to fail, according to Jay Cohen, Under Secretary for Science and Technology for the DHS.

Only 50 percent? That's wildly optimistic, don't you think?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said no, thanks. He is already Master of the Universe, so it's hard to imagine him taking a demotion. At the Web 2.0 conference last week, VC doyenne John Doerr nominated Sun co-founder Bill Joy and AI maven Danny Hillis. I'm not sure I'd trust anything VCers say these days. BusinessWeek published its own speculative short list last month; it includes (God help us) Steve Ballmer, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Internet Deity Vint Cerf, and Princeton researcher/Freedom to Tinker blogger Ed Felten.

(Can you imagine Ballmer roaming the halls of the White House? I think the cost in office chairs alone would bankrupt us. I can't see Bezos leaving Amazon at this point; it's his baby and it's just barely old enough to qualify for a driver's permit. Ditto for Felten -- he's a brilliant guy, but like most gadflies, he seems to operate better outside the system, not mired at its center. Cerf seems like a better call, but his controversial stewardship of ICANN makes some folks a little wary.)

There are a few other obvious candidates, of course.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags cringelyctoBarack Obama

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert X. Cringely

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?