The greatest source of pride for us coming to work every day at BillGuard is the privilege to protect people. To have people you’ve never met place their trust in you to protect them is a responsibility and feeling like no other. I imagine its similar to what police officers feel. So it’s not every day that our already high pride-meter gets boosted to a new level. This week saw such a day.
This Monday BillGuard attended a private White House roundtable event on Open Data. US CTO Todd Park and CIO Steven VanRoekel invited a small group of CEOs from mind-blowing companies in the energy, healthcare, education and finance fields. BillGuard was invited as a financial innovator using open data to protect American citizens. What an honor. What an experience. Because the event was closed to press I can’t go into details, nor was I allowed to take any photos inside (I did sneak a Foursquare check-in though!), but lets just say this administration is very forward thinking about what Tim O’Reilly calls “government as a platform“. They personally care, and are thinking proactively about the direct benefits to citizens that result from providing private sector innovators, and citizens, more access to public sector data. We’ve got two inspiring change-agents in the White House in Todd and Steven. Fancy titles aside, they’re big-data geeks at heart. We’re grateful for, and humbled by, their support of our mission.
After our working session we toured the West Wing. We got to see everything from the Oval Office to the Cabinet Room, even the kitchen. The historical enormity of the surprisingly small West Wing was overwhelming. To discuss data rights where Lincoln pondered civil rights, to stroll the Rose Garden where JFK paced and Roosevelt rolled — on a professional, working visit, was a life moment that will stay with me forever.