Where I did not want to be spending my weekends. (Source: Google Street View)

Late last year, on a beautiful fall Sunday morning, I found myself in a windowless conference room in a run down DC office building pouring over a 900 page report and wondering where my life had gone wrong.

I was reviewing the technical evaluation results for the Department of Homeland Security’s procurement for agile software development, and preparing to make a decision on which companies would be awarded spots on the $1.5 Billion contract. Deciding billion dollar government contracts sounds like it should be glamorous, with high powered negotiations over fancy meals and Congressmen calling about jobs in their districts…

Two and a half years ago, I dialed in to a videoconference from my office at Google DC for what I thought would be a routine meeting. A colleague and I were talking to Mikey Dickerson, a Google engineer who had just returned from helping lead the Healthcare.gov rescue effort. I managed civic products for Google at the time, and I was hoping I could get Mikey’s advice on our roadmap and maybe even convince him to join our team.

I was apparently the world’s worst recruiter, because before I could get more than a few sentences into my pitch…

Keynote at Open Knowledge Festival 2014

This is the text of my keynote at Open Knowledge Festival 2014 in Berlin. You can see the slides here.

Imagine you were a student at Cambridge University in 17th century England. Let’s say you wanted to go down to London. We’re not talking about a huge distance here — just under 65 miles. You could drive that today in about an hour and a half.

You’d probably be pretty excited to make this journey, because an incredible new piece of technology was just starting to reach broad adoption, that was going to…

Eric Hysen

Tech, data, and design for a better country. Former @USDS @DHSgov, @ObamaWhiteHouse, and @GooglePolitics.

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