Aneesh Chopra steps down as US CTO after major contributions

Aneesh, Joacquin, CraigHey, I’ve worked with Aneesh for a coupla years, and bear witness that he’s the real deal, and has done a lot for the country, serving citizens well and providing a good return for the taxpayer dollar.

Here you see him, on the left, with Joaquin Alvarado from American Public Media, and myself, on January 25th at the White House. (Photo by Jay Rosen from NYU.) We were discussing how to use government data to help people, including improved customer service, along with some others smart regarding new tech.

People who’ve worked with Aneesh have nothing but praise for his effort, well deserved, for real. You might check out Seven Videos That Best Highlight Chopra’s Work.

President Obama said, “As the federal government’s first Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra did groundbreaking work to bring our government into the 21st century.  Aneesh found countless ways to engage the American people using technology, from electronic health records for veterans, to expanding access to broadband for rural communities, to modernizing government records. His legacy of leadership and innovation will benefit Americans for years to come, and I thank him for his outstanding service.”

Here’s a little of what he’s accomplished .

1)      He championed policies to build 21st century infrastructure – from the President’s National Wireless Initiative, including the much-needed nationwide public safety broadband network, to the Policy Framework for a 21st Century Grid that led to the green button movement empowering 6+ million households to download energy usage data in human and computer-friendly form, that even caught the attention of famed venture capitalist, Fred Wilson. His recent TEDMED lecture framed how health IT will lead to a higher quality, lower-cost health system.

2)      He helped establish a set of Internet Policy Principles that have been endorsed by 34 countries and were visible in the Administration’s response on SOPA/PIPA including a call for voluntary measures reduce online piracy. More broadly, he embraced open Internet standards in areas like health IT through the DIRECT project, a simple, secure method to send authenticated, encrypted health information directly to known, trusted recipients over the Internet.

3)      Most importantly, he has defined a new “Open Innovation” culture that builds upon the President’s National Action Plan for Open Government and Strategy for American Innovation. He has opened data for entrepreneurs, from the fast growing “blue button” to the recently launched Open Education Data Initiative; led as an “impatient convener” in an area of great importance to me – the “Apps for Heroes” showcase; launched prizes, challenges and competitions in healthcare, energy, and education; and established a new model of attracting entrepreneurs to join the government in solving problems, even invoking “lean startup” principles.


In sum, he’s helped connect entrepreneurs to our government in a spirit that makes you feel like we can invent our way out of our nation’s biggest challenges.

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