Archive | January, 2015

Hello, 18F!

As of next month, I’ll be a proud employee of the U.S. government.

In February I join the ranks of 18F, a digital startup-like team embedded in the federal government. Just shy of a year old, 18F collaborates with federal agencies to make digital products that serve the people. For so many reasons, this is a logical next career step:

  • 18F is mission-driven.
  • After organizing Hack for Western Mass for two years, this is a chance to be a professional civic hacker.
  • Some scary smart people from all over the country work at 18F.
  • I’ll get to work from Western Mass and maintain my outside-the-Beltway perspective.

At National Priorities Project (NPP), I championed the cause of better data about our government’s spending, and 18F is working with the Treasury Department on that. NPP uses several federal APIs in its apps, and 18F is helping to grow these services. NPP is a proponent of government transparency, and 18F works in the open.

In other words, this is an extraordinary opportunity to move from advocacy to execution. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to take the leap, and hello to 18F. I can’t wait to join you.

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Goodbye, NPP

NPP Lunch, by ED and photographer Doug Hall

The NPP Dream Team by ED and photographer Doug Hall

Last month I left my role as Director of Data and Technology at National Priorities Project.

For more than 30 years, this small non-profit has made the complex U.S. budget understandable to ordinary people. As someone who likes breaking down barriers to entry, that mission resonated.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute to NPP and proud of the work I did there, from open-sourcing data on the cost of tax breaks to tracking budget dollars in the states to advocating for better federal spending information. And I’m grateful that NPP supported my involvement in Western Mass data community projects like Hack for Western Mass and the Five College DataFest.

I highly recommend working on a small, mission-driven team at least once in your career—it’s life-changing. When the success or failure of your projects have a direct, meaningful impact on your organization, it’s a whole different ballgame. When you not only have to deliver the work but sell it too, you learn some skills. When generous people from around the country send money to support what you do every day, it’s humbling. Oh, and being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize is also very cool.

Everything I learned at NPP led to the next logical, exciting step. I haven’t said anything publicly because it won’t be official until the background check is done, but if everything goes as planned, I’ll continue working for a better U.S.

Thanks, NPP, for four great years and for the invaluable work you do. See you at the next anniversary party!

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