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The government is the new Google

a href=””>Jeff Jarvis led a discussion at PDF among 1,000 people about what government could learn from Google, and, more generally, what a bunch of techies would do to make government better. Jeff’s got this rare cross of skills as a writer, teacher, entertainer and provoker. If you haven’t seen him at work, you should grab the next opportunity. And, yes, Jeff is a friend, so I’m biased. But I’m also right.

So, here’s a way the government is becoming like Google. Remember how a few years ago, Google was grabbing the best and the brightest techies of every stripe? Every time you turned around, someone else you admired had moved there. Now the same thing is happening with the federal government. It’s the glamorous place many of the best and the brightest — including some from Google — want to work. The government is becoming a center of innovation. It may not be as wild as the garages of Silicon Valley and the Charles River, but it’s dreaming big and its heart is pure. These positions are being filled with the diametric opposites of lobbyists. It’s pretty amazing.

Note to self: Re-read The Best and the Brightest to see if there are lessons for the new federal techies.


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4 Responses to “The government is the new Google”

  1. Well,

    if you mean good employment and innovation, all is fine.

    But, honestly, the very idea of any government to have such power and such amount of data about us – as Google posses – scares me a bit…

    Maybe, here in Eastern Europe we still remember what can happen if governments have too much power, too much data, too much information about us….

  2. Would that mean they get 20% time to? :-)
    I noticed the BART developers mentioning their “BART one percent time.”

  3. Mirek, I was thinking of its hiring of the cream of the cream. But the gov’t already knows much more personal stuff about me than Google does, and can find out more far more easily.

    James, someone suggested the 20% time idea during Jeff’s session. Sounds like a good idea to me, at least once enough of the new infrastructure is in place. I don’t think Google gave 20% time off to developers until after Google was pretty well-established. Or maybe I’m wrong.

  4. Protections of liberty are strengthened by a constantly evolving societal respect for the privacy of individual rights. How do you envision a new, technocentrically innovated government will progress the evolution?

    “Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.”
    Ayn Rand

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