In final days in office, Obama's White House uses words of Steve Jobs to woo techies

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2017
As the Obama administration leaves the White House this week, one piece of the outgoing president's legacy -- the U.S. Digital Service -- is attempting to woo Silicon Valley techies to work for government agencies. Their recruitment strategy: Using the words of Apple's iconic late cofounder, Steve Jobs.




The U.S. Digital Service is a branch of the White House that seeks to improve and expand the federal government's various online services. It was formed by President Obama in the second term of his presidency, in 2014.

The service launched a new marketing plan this week that includes the words of Apple's Jobs, attempting to bring fresh IT workers to government service. The executive branch's agency chose a clip from a 1994 TV interview, in which Jobs explained his worldview of breaking the mold and upsetting the status quo.

The clip from Steve Jobs comes from a 1994 TV that explains his worldview of breaking the mold and the status quo.



"Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you," Jobs said in the clip used by the U.S. Digital Service. "And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that people can use."

The USDS was founded after the Healthcare.gov crash and refers often to itself as a startup within the White House. So far, the agency has revamped the Veteran Affairs application process, started to digitize the immigration system, and has strengthened Pentagon cybersecurity.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,332member
    Steve Jobs was a great man. 
    coolfactormonstrositybuzdotsksecargonaut
  • Reply 2 of 22
    And these people, who are no smarter than you, write policies that bind you, limit you, restrict you, and punish you for any infraction for how you do you job. These policies are now a primary defining method of monitoring you perform your job, and they are inflexible. In Gov't, you sacrifice economic growth potential, for job security. You sacrifice freedom of defining your career path, the way you define your job, how you do your job, for security. You are now a cog, in a very large, slow moving and inflexible system.
    williamhrezwitsdesignrargonautjony0
  • Reply 3 of 22
    Hodar0 said:
    And these people, who are no smarter than you, write policies that bind you, limit you, restrict you, and punish you for any infraction for how you do you job. These policies are now a primary defining method of monitoring you perform your job, and they are inflexible. In Gov't, you sacrifice economic growth potential, for job security. You sacrifice freedom of defining your career path, the way you define your job, how you do your job, for security. You are now a cog, in a very large, slow moving and inflexible system.

    None of the above needs to be true!  The agency is part of the Administration which is lead by the POTUS -- the only person in Government who is answerable to all the people of the United States.
    jSnivelyblastdoor2old4funronnroundaboutnow
  • Reply 4 of 22
    How odd.  I'm sure other IT folks in the federal bureaucracy are thrilled when the US Digital Service comes sticking their noses into whatever IT project they are working on.  This is a unit "of the White House" but surely they work somewhere else.  I've poked around their website and I can't find any answers about who runs the show, but it looks bigger than I expected (at least from the group photo). https://www.usds.gov

    edited January 2017
  • Reply 5 of 22

    "Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you,"

    I don't believe that.  Do you think Steve Jobs actually believed that?  A great many of the things that make up what we call life are the product of one-in-a-million geniuses.  Yes, plenty of regular people contributed too, but without people "smarter than you" we wouldn't have electricity let alone computers and the internet, for example.

  • Reply 6 of 22
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,332member
    How odd.  I'm sure other IT folks in the federal bureaucracy are thrilled when the US Digital Service comes sticking their noses into whatever IT project they are working on.  This is a unit "of the White House" but surely they work somewhere else.  I've poked around their website and I can't find any answers about who runs the show, but it looks bigger than I expected (at least from the group photo). https://www.usds.gov

    Oh, I don't know about that. In fact, I could imagine that in many cases they might appreciate the attention and help in overcoming obstacles that are beyond their control.
    edited January 2017 StrangeDays
  • Reply 7 of 22
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,236member
    Hodar0 said:
    And these people, who are no smarter than you, write policies that bind you, limit you, restrict you, and punish you for any infraction for how you do you job. These policies are now a primary defining method of monitoring you perform your job, and they are inflexible. In Gov't, you sacrifice economic growth potential, for job security. You sacrifice freedom of defining your career path, the way you define your job, how you do your job, for security. You are now a cog, in a very large, slow moving and inflexible system.
    If you see things that way, and resign yourself to accepting it as being just the way things are, then it'll be the same no matter what organization you work for.  That's pretty much the whole point of what Steve was saying.

  • Reply 8 of 22
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,332member
    Hodar0 said:
    And these people, who are no smarter than you, write policies that bind you, limit you, restrict you, and punish you for any infraction for how you do you job. These policies are now a primary defining method of monitoring you perform your job, and they are inflexible. In Gov't, you sacrifice economic growth potential, for job security. You sacrifice freedom of defining your career path, the way you define your job, how you do your job, for security. You are now a cog, in a very large, slow moving and inflexible system.

    None of the above needs to be true!  The agency is part of the Administration which is lead by the POTUS -- the only person in Government who is answerable to all the people of the United States.
    None of it needs to be true regardless of agency. 

    I interact with federal employees on a fairly regular basis, both those near the top of the bureaucracy and occasionally with political appointees. Some are great, some are terrible, and there are plenty in between. The thing that they all face -- and which may skew the distribution more in the direction of "terrible" than we might like as taxpayers -- is that one of the two major parties in the US is as opposed to the existence of the federal government as some of our nation's worst enemies. Imagine working for a company where a majority of the board of directors hates the company and wants to shut it down. Probably kind of demoralizing, don't you think?
    edited January 2017 ronnapple jockeyroundaboutnowcpsroanomeargonaut
  • Reply 9 of 22
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,665member

    "Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you,"

    I don't believe that.  Do you think Steve Jobs actually believed that?  A great many of the things that make up what we call life are the product of one-in-a-million geniuses.  Yes, plenty of regular people contributed too, but without people "smarter than you" we wouldn't have electricity let alone computers and the internet, for example.

    A genius visionary is only a that without all the other people, so yeah, I am sure he believed it. Genius is relative.
    edited January 2017 coolfactor
  • Reply 10 of 22
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,789member

    "Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you,"

    I don't believe that.  Do you think Steve Jobs actually believed that?  A great many of the things that make up what we call life are the product of one-in-a-million geniuses.  Yes, plenty of regular people contributed too, but without people "smarter than you" we wouldn't have electricity let alone computers and the internet, for example.


    He didn't say "people just like you", but people that are "no smarter" than you. The only difference is how sharp those smarts are. That takes practice. That takes commitment. Smarts is nothing more than tools that we can use to our advantage. Problem is that too many people don't out of laziness or other reasons. That's why those that do are considered "geniuses". And yes, there are also real geniuses that are smarter than the rest of us, but that doesn't make Steve's comment incorrect.
  • Reply 11 of 22
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,789member
    I miss Steve. The world is a better place because he wanted it to be.
    monstrosityblastdoor
  • Reply 12 of 22
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,203member
    How odd.  I'm sure other IT folks in the federal bureaucracy are thrilled when the US Digital Service comes sticking their noses into whatever IT project they are working on.  This is a unit "of the White House" but surely they work somewhere else.  I've poked around their website and I can't find any answers about who runs the show, but it looks bigger than I expected (at least from the group photo). https://www.usds.gov

    If you mean the behemoth firms in DC who suck up millions in gov contracts and may or may not even finish the job (often not), yeah they're not thrilled when gov hires more effective people internally. But you should be.

    They work in a few buildings in and around the WH complex. They're not anything big or fancy by any means, quite the opposite actually. 
    anome
  • Reply 13 of 22
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,426member
    Hodar0 said:
    And these people, who are no smarter than you, write policies that bind you, limit you, restrict you, and punish you for any infraction for how you do you job. These policies are now a primary defining method of monitoring you perform your job, and they are inflexible. In Gov't, you sacrifice economic growth potential, for job security. You sacrifice freedom of defining your career path, the way you define your job, how you do your job, for security. You are now a cog, in a very large, slow moving and inflexible system.
    we are all cogs, just being alive on the planet Earth connects us to each other regardless is you can see it or not. government is not made up of people from another species, they are human and somehow all of them convinced enough of us to send them there. 
    StrangeDaysAppleInsider
  • Reply 14 of 22
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,029member
    blastdoor said:
    Steve Jobs was a great man. 
    And an asshole. These aren't mutually exclusive designations.
  • Reply 15 of 22
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,052member
    How odd.  I'm sure other IT folks in the federal bureaucracy are thrilled when the US Digital Service comes sticking their noses into whatever IT project they are working on.  This is a unit "of the White House" but surely they work somewhere else.  I've poked around their website and I can't find any answers about who runs the show, but it looks bigger than I expected (at least from the group photo). https://www.usds.gov

     My current contract is working on retirement benefits management applications in the federal bureaucracy. I would love it if the USDS could stick their nose into our sponsoring org and streamline it. The current software development cycle is incredibly slow moving. 
    AppleInsider
  • Reply 16 of 22
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,895member
    How odd.  I'm sure other IT folks in the federal bureaucracy are thrilled when the US Digital Service comes sticking their noses into whatever IT project they are working on.  This is a unit "of the White House" but surely they work somewhere else.  I've poked around their website and I can't find any answers about who runs the show, but it looks bigger than I expected (at least from the group photo). https://www.usds.gov


    There is a TED talk on this subject. Think of it this way, it is peace core for IT techies. They are send to various department within the government to help solve their IT problems. The interesting part is exactly what Job said these folks come with clear minds no predetermine notions of how things should be on government websites. Since their job is not defined, they can come and go as they like and help departments fix things. Their big splash was the Obama Care website. The government paid contractors 100's of million to setup the website who did not have any experience doing it since they were government contractors not large ecommerce company who success and failure depends on their websites working. Obama recruited people from the commercial IT world who has experience with big B2B and B2C websites to fix the issue. We all know the outcome they solved the problem quickly.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 17 of 22
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,017member

    "Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you,"

    I don't believe that.  Do you think Steve Jobs actually believed that?  A great many of the things that make up what we call life are the product of one-in-a-million geniuses.  Yes, plenty of regular people contributed too, but without people "smarter than you" we wouldn't have electricity let alone computers and the internet, for example.

    Wrong! Sooner or later someone would discover these. Those may not actually smarter than you. Statement is still true.
  • Reply 18 of 22
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,029member

    "Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you,"

    I don't believe that.  Do you think Steve Jobs actually believed that?  A great many of the things that make up what we call life are the product of one-in-a-million geniuses.  Yes, plenty of regular people contributed too, but without people "smarter than you" we wouldn't have electricity let alone computers and the internet, for example.

    I do think Jobs believed that. While I may not be the best at understanding physics, you bring me any physicist and I'm sure there are other aspects of my intelligence that will exceed their abilities in some way. Intelligence isn't all-or-nothing, and smarter is a very loose word.

    That said, his statement also isn't absolute because if you have a below-average IQ from birth, a disease, an accident, or whatever, you then get a situation where the average is smarter.
  • Reply 19 of 22
    blastdoor said:
    Hodar0 said:
    And these people, who are no smarter than you, write policies that bind you, limit you, restrict you, and punish you for any infraction for how you do you job. These policies are now a primary defining method of monitoring you perform your job, and they are inflexible. In Gov't, you sacrifice economic growth potential, for job security. You sacrifice freedom of defining your career path, the way you define your job, how you do your job, for security. You are now a cog, in a very large, slow moving and inflexible system.

    None of the above needs to be true!  The agency is part of the Administration which is lead by the POTUS -- the only person in Government who is answerable to all the people of the United States.
    None of it needs to be true regardless of agency. 

    I interact with federal employees on a fairly regular basis, both those near the top of the bureaucracy and occasionally with political appointees. Some are great, some are terrible, and there are plenty in between. The thing that they all face -- and which may skew the distribution more in the direction of "terrible" than we might like as taxpayers -- is that one of the two major parties in the US is as opposed to the existence of the federal government as some of our nation's worst enemies. Imagine working for a company where a majority of the board of directors hates the company and wants to shut it down. Probably kind of demoralizing, don't you think?
    (bolded for emphasis mine)

    The Federal government exists because of an agreement between the states and it should only continue to exist if it adheres to the limits placed on it by our Constitution. It was never meant to be one of the biggest employers in the US, riddled with corruption and answerable to no one.
    edited January 2017
  • Reply 20 of 22
    ksecksec Posts: 1,567member
    FFS, it took us YEARS to let go of Steve, and remembering him less. Now we have to start over again. 
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