Company: The OpenGov Foundation
Role: Executive Director & Co-Founder
Getting in Touch: Seamus@opengovfoundation.org, @SeamusKraft, @OpenGovFdn
Q. Which Member of Congress is most tech savvy?
A. I'm biased here since he's my co-founder, but Darrell Issa is hands-down the most tech-savvy Member of Congress. He is not only a personal technolophile and gadget-lover extraordinaire, he knows tech policy, open government, open source software, procurement, data and tech hardware better than any elected official I've met--and brings it all together fluently, pointedly and with a serious sense of humor. You'll be hard pressed to find a better friend of the open Internet, innovation and smart tech policy the House or Senate.
One of the joys of my time on the Hill and with The OpenGov Foundation is watching Issa question witnesses on tech issues. 99% of Members read whatever surface-level talking points are in front of them. Issa skips the b.s., goes into full engineer mode and blows your mind. Witnesses go all deer-in-the-headlights. Hilarity ensues. For tech and tech policy geeks, you could sell tickets to see that.
Q. Best advice you’ve received?
A. "Remember that everyone coming up in the world had a lot of help from people older, wiser and more experienced. When you're in a position to help a young person, remember this and pay it forward." - President George W Bush's Undersecretary of State for Democracy Paula Dobrianski. Paula gave me that advice in early 2008. I've done my best to live it since. Ask for help and advice. Establish good mentor relationships, and maintain them. Pay it forward when you're in a position to help young people just getting into the game, because karma is real and everyone has a karma bank account.
Q. Favorite under the radar company?
A. The Internet Archive. They do such cool, important work and are so unique. Who thinks of capturing everything on the Internet every day for posterity? Who actually creates a kick-ass company full of genius technologists and digital archivists that actually pulls it off? Who keeps a company like that evolving and expanding for 20 years? Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive do. Plus, they deliver online pretty much all of the Grateful Dead's music (and so much more) to the world for free. So like Bill Graham said of the Grateful Dead, "They're not just the best at what they do, They're the only ones that do what they do." Something to which every company should aspire.
Q. Job advice in three words?
A. Just. Be. Yourself.