Inside Obama’s Stealth Startup


fastcompany.comFor Eric Maland, the whole thing goes back to that San Francisco wedding. Mikey wasn’t there—well, wait, actually, Mikey was there. But Eric didn’t meet him at that point. Eric met some other folks at the wedding who told him they were doing some fix-it stuff in Washington, and it sounded kind of interesting.

And now we’re chatting about it in front of the White House security gate, where we’re waiting to talk with the leaders inside about why guys like Eric are now wandering around this neighborhood with MacBooks in their shoulder bags and code in their heads. These are the “new techies,” as longtime Washingtonians tend to say, but that’s somewhat imprecise. These are people whose pedigree in Silicon Valley gives them the whispered reputations of gods and goddesses. I look at Eric. He’s wearing a faded T-shirt; his sparse hair is seriously matted down. Did he sleep lately? Exercise? Shave? All debatable. “Ever wonder what you’re doing here?” I ask him. He was the 13th engineer hired at Amazon, the first operations director at Twitter. Like everyone else on the stealth team that President Barack Obama is amassing and deploying inside the government, he never imagined he would live and work in D.C. “I guess I just like to fix things that are broken,” he says, shrugging.




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