By Anne Armstrong
The protocol for announcing a new top executive is that you send out a press release on the day the person starts. The new social media options have undercut that etiquette. Now people announce on Facebook what their new job will be. The reporter in me loves that. Everyone trying to manage a message hates it. So I’m trying a middle ground—the blog. Formal press release will follow.
I’m really pleased to announce the addition of a key partner at 1105 GIG. Jennifer Weiss, currently Vice President and Group Publisher at SourceMedia’s Investment Advisor Group, will join our team as VP and Group Publisher of the print and online properties in August.
Jennifer has spent more than 20 years in the business to business and consumer advertising space. She has worked on technology publications such as Digital News and Review and was a district manager and later national sales director for Government Computer News State and Local in the mid to late 1990s.
Since 2002, she has managed business publications such as Insurance Networking News and most recently was group publisher for three publications in the financial advisory market -- Financial Planning, On Wall Street and Bank Investment Consultant.
In addition to the core GIG properties, Jennifer will also have responsibility for the print and online sales of our regulatory and environmental products, including Security Products, Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection and Water and Wastewater News.
She understands that the government market is a community. She understands this market. She will be based in the DC area.
I’m looking forward to introducing her to you all.
Posted on Jul 27, 2009 at 6:59 PM0 comments
Some very interesting discussions around governance down at the OGI conference
- Aneesh Chopra, the CTO, has been described as Mr. Outside the government.
- Vivek Kundra, the CIO, will be Mr. Inside.
Security cuts across all of the above so not certain how the new White House cyber chief interacts.
I asked one official about how they would work together since each reports up different chains, and he just laughed at me. “You are so old school,” he said. “That’s the command-and-control world. They all work on their own and take responsibility for letting each other know what is going on.”
I learned Facebook. I guess I can learn about this leaderless organization theory.
Also some questions about what to read into the jobs that are still open:
- DOD CIO. I haven’t even heard rumors. Dave Wennergren, the deputy CIO (and deputy assistant secretary) at DOD, is a very capable career man, but it seems strange that the top job, which has very high visibility, hasn’t been filled. If you have heard of some candidates, let me know.
- Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. Again there is a very capable deputy in place (Leslie Field, who also has the acting administrator title), so no perceived rush. But some people are saying it means that procurement is not a priority for this administration. Yesterday Vivek Kundra mentioned the need to tackle procurement reform. He focused in on Paperwork Reduction Act and cookies policy, but I think this is one the first times I have ever heard procurement reform mentioned by Obama people — fixed price contract rules don’t count.
- Cybersecurity czar. This is a tough one as everyone has heard of someone who has been offered the job and said no. Concerns seem to be this is a thankless job that will inevitably have some intrusion or incident and no one wants to be person trying to explain that. Names still floating include Melissa Hathaway and former Congressman Tom Davis. When asked, Davis said the right things about wanting to stay at Deloitte, but it’s hard to turn down the president. So will be interesting to see if the administration wants him enough to have the president make the call.
Posted on Jul 22, 2009 at 6:59 PM0 comments
On the first day of the Open Government and Innovations Conference down at the Convention Center, there was a remarkable amount of energy and excitement about the discussions over transparency and innovation. Since this was a conference the 1105 Government Information Group put on with the help of nearly a dozen partners, let me acknowledge I have a vested interest and move on to some of the takeaways.
There were interesting questions raised about the current acquisition environment and how the speed and agility the Administration is proposing fit into that structure. Vivek Kundra, the federal CIO, acknowledged that it is time to look again at procurement reform and emphasized that a building should not be acquired the same way as technology. True, but the current rules do not offer acquisition professionals that distinction. It is pretty clear that the White House is looking at policies they can change quickly—Paperwork Reduction Act, cookies policy and others.
If they get into full scale procurement reform, it could take years, with it getting backed up behind the other Obama initiatives.
Another new initiative is a DOD policy for the use of social media. Debra Filippi, director of Commercial Technology and Acquisition Portfolio Management and Enterprise Infrastructure at DOD and Tamie Lyles-Santiago, Senior Special Assistant to the DOD Deputy CIO, are working on getting the public’s views as a first step.
There are some approvals still in the wings, but the pair expects to be able to roll out a blog introducing the subject in the next several weeks. They will break the subject into several manageable parts and ask the citizens what they think is reasonable in the use of these new social networking technologies.
Based on the input they receive, they will then put together a draft policy for consideration by the powers that be. Should be a really interesting process to watch. Right now, lots of component commands have their own rules and policies, but there is not uniform guidance from the top.
The most fascinating part of the discussion today was the questions which were raised. More on that later.
Posted on Jul 22, 2009 at 6:59 PM0 comments
I spent some time on vacation last week, but couldn’t escape the painful exegesis of the whole Washington Post salon series episode.
For those of you just returning to DC, the short version is the publisher of the Washington Post decided to host a series of dinners bringing together editors and reporters from the newsroom, policy makers from Capitol Hill, officials from the Obama administration for a series of off the record conversations. The first was going to be on health care, certainly a hot topic. Oh, and there would be an industry sponsor who would receive some kind of special access.
It was painful for a lot of reasons. First, it’s hard to believe that anyone who has been in this market for as long as the Post has would not know better or have better controls. The Post has spent many years pointing out the shortcomings of others, and there are many who are delighted to return the favor.
Painful, also, because I’m sure we are all going to pay for this mistake. The White House just this afternoon reminded all members of government of the rules for attending events sponsored by non-government entities. I am confident there will be more guidance and tighter rules.
I actually think we need more conversations and dinners between government and industry, not fewer. But that might be a hard sell for a while.
The last time I remember a similar controversy was the whole CISO Exchange issue. It also involved policy makers, government officials and industry executives who paid a fee to attend. Despite some very high level participants, the plan collapsed when the details of industry participation, which was characterized as pay-to-play came out.
To be fair, this is a variation of a model called the “hosted event,” which is common in industry. Gartner does a version of it, as does Marcus Evans. Companies pay a fee -- anywhere from $35,000 to $75,000 -- for a sponsorship and are guaranteed a certain number of interviews with the targeted audience. In this market, that doesn’t work because you may have a government executive sit down for a conversation with a company bidding on a contract in his/her agency.
IRMCO, ELC and our own Government Leadership Summit have multiple sponsors precisely to avoid the appearance of preferred access.
The Fishbowl DC Web site notes that in the wake of the Washington Post incident, David Bradley, owner of Atlantic Media, decided to send a memo to his employees defending the company’s practice of sponsored dinners. You can read that here.
So, while I think we need more openness, conversation and access, I’m guessing that we are going to find it difficult in the near future. Episodes like Salon-gate always lead to tightening of the rules and nervousness on the part of government folk who are concerned they could end up the target of an ambitious member of the House.
Full disclosure—Washington Technology does a dinner series, in which the editor and I lead a discussion with industry executives on topics of interest. There are no Hill or government people present, and it is designed to improve our coverage of the issues in the SI community.
Posted on Jul 07, 2009 at 6:59 PM0 comments
So I heard from a reliable source last week that the U.S. government was doing a real time COOP exercise this past Wednesday. Classified threat. Real exercise.
But, of course, didn’t hear anything about it afterwards. So, did anyone hear how it went?
Posted on Jun 23, 2009 at 6:59 PM2 comments