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Facebook's Miller named first White House product director

Josh Miller, the first product director of the White House.

Josh Miller, the White House's first product director, was a Senate intern in 2009. (Josh Miller)

Facebook veteran Josh Miller is joining the Obama administration as the White House’s first director of product.

“I’m as giddy, wide-eyed, and determined as ever,” Miller wrote in a blog post announcing his move.

He said Sept. 1 was his first day on the job.

Miller is young (he noted that 2008 was the first election for which he was old enough to vote) and has focused on the social web during his nascent career. He dropped out of Princeton to dedicate himself to conversation startup Branch, then joined Facebook when the social giant acquired Branch in January 2014.

He indicated that he plans to bring that tech-powered-communication focus to his White House role.

“Wouldn’t it be great if your government had a conversation with you instead of just talking at you?” he asked. “Imagine if talking to the government was as easy as talking to your friends on social networks?”

He pointed to online petitions and Twitter engagement as examples of “amazing” government progress, and promised more to come.

As Quartz noted, Miller was mentored by Twitter veteran Jason Goldman, who became the White House's first chief digital officer in March. Miller will report to Goldman in his new post, a White House spokesperson said.

“As the White House's first director of product, his focus will be on prioritizing the experience of our users -- the American people -- across our platforms of engagement,” the White House said in an emailed statement. “He'll also draw on his background building a company and in industry to infuse an entrepreneurial perspective into our processes and approach to work.”

Miller, Goldman and former Google executive Megan Smith are just a few of the techies who have made the jump from big private tech firms to Uncle Sam’s digital team recently.

Miller may be new to the role, but he’s not new to Washington; he noted that he served as a Senate intern in 2009.

Posted by Zach Noble on Sep 01, 2015 at 11:28 AM


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