John Klossner

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Klossner: The CTO tryout

 

Before I write about the federal chief technology officer, I have to make one cheap joke.

I'm hoping that Larry Summers isn't being considered for the fed CTO position. Everyone knows that former presidents of Harvard are innately bad at science, that's why you see so few of them in technology positions.

Thank you for your time.

I know it's late in the CTO naming game, but a couple thoughts have occurred to me.

I'm curious about the skill levels of upper management technology positions. These people make decisions affecting the technology uses for the rest of us, but they are management, after all. Should a chief financial officer or CTO be able to write code? Build a Web site? If a CIO were left on a deserted isle, would they be able to write their blog entries without help? Should a CTO be chosen based on how many friends they have on Facebook? Should we expect a CTO-qualified candidate to be able to provide Google Maps directions to all other Cabinet members when they are attending a luncheon? Can a CTO get those people to stop sending me links to supposed Angelina Jolie videos?

Maybe we should have a highly transparent skill-based contest for the CTO position. I suggest the following tasks:

  • Tape, edit and upload to the 'Net their personal interview for the position of Fed CTO. Bonus points if it goes viral.
  • Create a Wikipedia entry for the position of fed CTO. The contestant whose entry stays unedited the longest gets additional points.
  • Create a "PC vs. Mac" ad, with President-elect Barack Obama getting to be the Mac guy.
  • Without Googling it, name three agency CIOs.
  • Have each candidate enter a room which has an (unknown to them) unplugged computer. Tell them it isn't working. See how long it takes them to figure out the problem.
  • Navigate the local telephone supplier's voice mail system in order to ask a question about their bill. Time them.
  • Make their iPod playlists available to the public.
  • Take a phishing test (link: http://www.sonicwall.com/phishing/). Any incorrect answers immediately eliminate the candidate.
  • Have a BlackBerry Thumb war with the president-elect.

Posted by John Klossner on Dec 18, 2008 at 12:18 PM


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