Personal Democracy Forum

Former DC CTO Sivak discusses tenure, changing the culture of government

Bryan Sivak

Personal Democracy Forum’s TechPresident recently held an excellent PdF Network call with former Washington, DC, Chief Technology Officer Bryan Sivak titled Digital DC- How to Create a New Culture of Digital Government. Sivak discusses his time in office, ideas and challenges around changing the culture of government, and the politics of transition.


“My view of the job was to point the ship in a very specific direction and make course corrections along the way as things came up. The folks that are pulling the oars, the ones that are out there doing the work, are the ones I think have the best ideas about ways to make various processes and products more efficient and better. A big part of my job was to provide air cover if the ideas didn’t work out or needed to be tweaked if something went wrong. I really had to make it not only OK to fail but to celebrate rapid and cheap failure as successes as opposed to losses.”

With regards to his next career move, Sivak is currently reviewing options:

“My heart is probably on the entrepreneur side … because I love building things from scratch, creating new and interesting things out of whole cloth, but at the same time, there’s so much opportunity to do good in the public sector and bring some of these interesting ideas to the table. If you do find the right elected official work for, the world is your oyster. You can make a huge amount of difference in a short period of time.”

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Gov 2.0 guide to the Public Online Information Act (POIA)

The Public Online Information Act (POIA) of 2010, H.R.4858, was introduced on March 13 by Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) to put public information online in user-friendly formats in a timely fashion. The bill applies to Executive Branch agencies and is essentially a proactive approach to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act). Sunlight Foundation has launched Public=Online, a grassroots campaign to gain support for the legislation.


To establish an advisory committee to issue nonbinding government-wide guidelines on making public information available on the Internet, to require publicly available Government information held by the executive branch to be made available on the Internet, to express the sense of Congress that publicly available information held by the legislative and judicial branches should be available on the Internet, and for other purposes.

Video intro to POIA:

Press conference with Rep. Israel, Sunlight Foundation Executive Director Ellen Miller and Personal Democracy Forum Founder Andrew Rasiej announcing the bill:

Israel and Miller discuss POIA on MSNBC: