At SXSW, Todd Park Talks Startups

Kim Hart | Politico | March 11, 2012

The man tapped by President Barack Obama to be the White House’s next tech-expert-in-residence got rave reviews — and a standing ovation — from tech junkies here at South by Southwest. Todd Park, the chief technology officer at the Department of Health and Human Services, will become the next federal CTO, Obama announced Friday. Park, who replaces Aneesh Chopra, will be the second person to hold the position that Obama created when he came into office.

Park officially starts his new gig next Friday, and it seems the transition is well under way. Along with Macon Phillips, White House director of digital strategy, Park gave an energetic rundown of his HHS projects with the same oomph you’d expect from a new CEO pitching his startup to a room of investors. The federal government, he said, is chock-full of would-be entrepreneurs who just need a leader to give them permission to execute their ideas. The best entrepreneurs are driven by the “all the incredible excitement” about what they were building — not the stock options and fame.

“It turns out that in the federal government, there are a lot of innovators” driven by the same excitement, Park said in his first public appearance since his new appointment. “They’re certainly not there for the stock options.”...