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Abhi Nemani
Works at Code for America
Attended Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California
Lives in San Francisco, California
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Abhi Nemani

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Alexander Howard originally shared:
 
Tom Friedman would ask GOP presidential candidates questions about smart cities, big data & broadband. Given the opportunity, so would I.

In an op-ed in today's New York Times, Friedman wonders why technology questions haven't entered the GOP debates, given how important that area has become to the nation's future.

Here's his peroration: "Therefore, the critical questions for America today have to be how we deploy more ultra-high-speed networks and applications in university towns to invent more high-value-added services and manufactured goods and how we educate more workers to do these jobs — the only way we can maintain a middle class. I just don’t remember any candidate being asked in those really entertaining G.O.P. debates: “How do you think smart cities can become the job engines of the future, and what is your plan to ensure that America has a strategic bandwidth advantage?”

Friedman's piece reminded me of something +Abhi Nemani wrote over the holidays, after a short exchange of tweets prompted him to think about a "Gov 2.0 presidential debate":
http://www.abhinemani.com/2011/12/25/a-gov20-presidential-debate/

Here's what he would ask the candidates:

"*Do you think the “Stop Online Piracy Act” will hinder innovation and creativity on the internet?
*The Obama Administration created two C-Level tech-focused position: CIO and CTO. Do you think those roles are necessary and would you keep them in your administration?
*We’ve seen that advances in modern technology have enabled companies in the private sector to grow and cut costs. How would you use technology to bring down the deficit?
*Why shouldn’t every document or record created by the government be immediately accessible online?
*In cities, throughout the country, local governments are turning the government as a service provider model on its head, and asking citizens to solve the local problems themselves. How would you apply this thinking to the federal government?
*What would you do to boost entreprenuership in this country?
*Would you change immigration laws?
*Provide government seed funding?
*Over 50 countries have joined the Open Government Partnership. Has it produced any real results and can/will it affect foreign policy?"

+Nick Judd (*See comment below*) suggested asking a question about the issues raised in his article about Gig.U, the broadband/telco initiative headed up by Blair Levin that Friedman referenced in his op-ed:
http://techpresident.com/blog-entry/gigu-asks-universites-and-telcos-work-together-internet-future

Good questions, all.

I don't expect to be given an opportunity to moderate such a debate this year, unfortunately, so my ability to ask +Mitt Romney +Ron Paul +Rick Perry, +Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum what their policies would be is a bit limited. (Their campaigns are, of course, welcome to comment here!). There are, however, plenty of primary debates left:
http://www.2012presidentialelectionnews.com/2012-debate-schedule/2011-2012-primary-debate-schedule/

....with media partners at +NBC News +ABC News +Fox News and +CNN International. Given how important technology and innovation has become to the nation's future, I can't help but hope that a producer at one of those outlets comes across this post and decides to suggest to the moderators that they ask questions about a topic that's deeply relevant to the nation's future.

#opengov #gov20
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Abhi Nemani

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Major props to +Nick Grossman +Jeremy Canfield +Alan Palazzolo +Karl Fogel +Andrew Hoppin +Andrew McLaughlin (and the other obligatory andrews) & Lauren Reid on the soft launch of the Civic Commons Marketplace! I'm convinced this will become an invaluable piece of the opengov infrastructure.

http://marketplace.civiccommons.org/

http://civiccommons.org/2011/12/civic-commons-marketplace-opens-for-business/
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Abhi Nemani

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Just heard about Hitch passing. Hurts. He was human in the fullest meaning of that word.
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So excited for +Andrew McLaughlin & +Nick Grossman -- great people to work with & good friends to have. Expect great things at Civic Commons & Tumblr.
Andrew McLaughlin originally shared:
 
Personal news: I've joined Tumblr, as VP, focusing on international, community, and other growth-related operations. I'm very psyched -- Tumblr's an amazing, innovative platform for creativity and expression around the world.

The other exciting announcement of the day is that the incredible Nick Grossman is taking the reins at Civic Commons. Between Nick, Karl Fogel, +Philip Ashlock, and +Abhi Nemani, Civic Commons has, pound-for-pound, one of the strongest teams I've ever had the great good fortune to work with. Details in the blog post below.
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Abhi Nemani

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I've been rendered irrelevant by technology #inevitable:

http://abhi.herokuapp.com/

Note: this post was updated because of my apparently pro-bono, neurotic copy editor, +Robin Pam :)
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Anytime ;-) Also, I forgot to mention that this is awesome.
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TechPresident's +Nick Judd picks up my earlier post about crisis tech use by NYC -- which I want to be clear, I thought they did overall a bang up job. In regards to my critique of the multiple, disconnected issue reporting systems, he presents a good counterpoint:

"A counterpoint to that is that the city never promised the CrowdMap would be a conversation; rather, the administration was nudged towards standing it up so intelligence about what was happening would be open and shared. There's no telling whether or not the city was going to knock down the real-world problems behind each of the dots that citizens put up."

This gets two broader points, I think, both of which I entirely agree with:

1) There will always be new tools stood up by citizens or other government departments without coordination with the relevant service providing platform (in this case 311) or at least without synchronization it; that's just the nature of technology in distributed systems.

2) Having more information as context for citizens in the midst of crisis is valuable and potentially can save them from venturing into dangerous or unsafe areas.

Both, however, underscore the need for common standards across reporting interfaces: data can and must be shared -- in crises more than ever. Open data standards and open APIs (like http://open311.org +Philip Ashlock ), enable systems to communicate with each other, ideally enabling data submitted to **any app* to be used by *every app.* Consider how you can tweet in TweetDeck and read replies in Hootsuite.

Let's get back to those two cases.

For the former (#1), if the lead platform worked on an open and popularly available standard, then new developers of new, better platforms could adopt it, effectively hooking them up to a hose of data from the existing systems. And then to boot the 311 system wouldn't have to worry about untended reports, since they could sync back up to their existing workflow.

For the latter (#2), when the data is able to move freely between systems, or more specifically, when CrowdMap can call the 311 data, and vis versa, you can provide richer context. Data is no longer siloed. What's in one is in the other. And more importantly -- when well set up -- an Open311 system could not only show all the dots on every map, but also show them go away.

That's the power of platform technologies for cities. You can stop being worried about innovation and new technology, and instead able to embrace them.
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Abhi Nemani

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This might be crazy, but I figured it's worth putting out there:
http://abhinemani.tumblr.com/post/14733614166/a-gov20-presidential-debate

What questions would you ask in a #Gov20 President Debate?
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Great slideshow from the Washington Post's feature of +Code for America.
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It's been a crazy couple of weeks at +Code for America.

Part 1: The Annual Report

You'd think that after the fellows left things would quiet down, but in fact after the fellowship cycle comes the end of the year, and so the need for an annual report. I'll say that what initially seemed like a chore turned out to be a rather worthwhile way to collect and articulate the stories from the year. And with 19 fellows in the inaugural program - that's hard, but fun. (Think about next years'...) So I think I've turned around on the idea though: for a small, but growing organization producing reports like this are, if nothing else, a good way to force yourself to identify what's working and what's not and share that with the public.

Let me know what you think!
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A New Kind of Public Service
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My take on some of the benefits of open data.

"Why? Because no one has a monopoly on good ideas. Openness allows for the unexpected, the unlikely, the unforeseeable; instead of just asking, what is needed, you can ask, what is possible. And you can mobilize a community of developers to build on top of your platform. This is critical in an era when governments don’t have the resources to explore every possible use of their data."
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Some observations and statistics from NYC's use of tech during Hurricane Irene.
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In his circles
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Director of Strategy and Communications
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  • Code for America
    Director of Strategy and Communications, present
  • Google
  • Young Democrats of America
  • Center for American Progress
  • Rose Insitute of State and Local Government
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Centralia, Illinois - Claremont, California - Centralia, Illinois - Washington D.C. - Oxford, United Kingdom - St. Louis, Missouri
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amateur mini-golfer, poor man's hacker
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amateur mini-golfer and poor man's hacker. currently coding for america.
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  • Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California
  • Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Thomas Jefferson School, St. Louis, Missouri
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