Through my consulting firm, New Amsterdam Ideas, I am working on a range of projects that aim to connect open-source and open government efforts across multiple political geographies, accelerate public access to government data, and increase operational efficiency within government. As in my former life as a public official, the mantra remains “transparency, efficiency, participation.”
From January 2009 – January 2011, I served as the first ever Chief Information Officer for the New York State Senate, executing a mission to dramatically improve government transparency, citizen participation, and operational efficiency for the Senate through technology. The CIO’s Office works in three main realms: opening up the Senate’s legislative and administrative data for public access (for transparency), overhauling the Senate’s internal communications and collaboration infrastructure (for efficiency), and launching new Web 2.0 / social media technologies for the Senate (public participation). The new NYSenate.gov website, launched in May, has been heralded as a leading example of the use of “Web 2.0″ technologies by a legislature, inviting citizens to become creators of content on the site as well as consumers of content, and including interactive websites for every Senator and every Committee of the Senate. I was also elected by my peers to serve on the New York State CIO Leadership Council, was selected by GovTech as the 2010 New York State Public Sector CIO of the Year, and named to the “Government CIO 50” by Information Week.
I frequently present about open government, open-source, and community process at events and venues such as the Personal Democracy Forum, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, PSFK, Drupalcon, and O’Reilly’s Gov 2.0 Expo.
Previously, I co-founded and helped to manage the NASA CoLab at NASA Ames Research Center, which aims to increase efficiency and transparency at NASA by building new partnerships between NASA and external communities of practice such as the entrepreneurial technology community, the global open-source software movement, and constituents in the virtual world of “Second Life.” CoLab was extensively covered in the media by CNET, WIRED, MSNBC, Seed Magazine, the BBC, Federal Computing Week, and many other outlets.
As an entrepreneur, I co-founded and directed business development for GoodStorm (now Zazzle), a progressive eCommerce venture that helps organizations raise money to support themselves, Trellon, a leading open-source software consulting firm for online community building, and Moonfront, an aerospace design consulting firm. I also directed business strategy for CivicSpace Labs, a developer of software and communities for online organizing and advocacy, and, as a consultant, executed marketing campaigns for leading technology startups such as mobile messaging provider Jaiku (now Google) and online geographic data provider N Space Labs. I have also served as an online strategy consultant to leading technology-driven non-profit organizations such as the Craigslist Foundation, represented the Space Generation Advisory Council at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) in New York, and served on the Australian’s government’s International Reference Group for Government 2.0 strategy and the Boards of the Space Generation Foundation and Netroots Nation.
As a grassroots political organizer, in 2003, I founded the largest local group in the Draft Clark movement, New York for Clark, and later joined the Wesley Clark for President campaign staff to help manage the campaign’s voter data and the nation’s first open-source campaign software volunteer program. I also co-created the “RootsCamp” political meeting series in Second Life in 2006, and the Yearly Kos “virtual convention” in Second Life in 2007.
I’m a graduate of the NASA Academy and the International Space University, and hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brown University, magna cum laude with honors, and Berkeley, in Planetary Sciences and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, respectively.