Starting in February 2016, I’ll be joining the stellar team at 18F. It’ll be my third tour working to help government better serve the people.

The first time was for the initial launch of HealthCare.gov in 2010. I spent five months as a Federal employee in a rather Presidential Innovation Fellows-like position before that program existed.

The second time was for the relaunch of HealthCare.gov in 2013/2014 which introduced the health insurance marketplace. Despite knowing the work I and others did to establish a cohesive end-to-end experience that successfully remedied an earlier deeply flawed approach, the technical problems of the launch have deeply affected me.1 It’s been hard to shake.

I haven’t shaken it. I don’t really want to. An experience like that is deeply instructive. But I also don’t want that to be my last taste of government work.

So I’m thrilled to be joining 18F. I’ll be an Innovation Specialist with the Consulting division. 18F has been moving fast, doing amazing work, and using sound methods.

For some background on 18F and the role they play in the new government tech ecosystem, read Inside Obama’s Stealth Startup.

In addition to meaningful work with purpose and interesting problems, I’m seeking community. It’s something I’ve sought out before. I know a few folks at 18F already, and I’ve admired many more for a long time. 18F’s commitment to transparency has meant that I can observe the operations of the organization to a good degree from the outside. What I’ve seen looks familiar, in the best sense of that word.

I know I’m entering a period of intense learning and am excited to get started.

But first, I’m going to take a little time to recharge.

1 I have some issues with the prevailing narrative around the HealthCare.gov launch that I hope to address in the future. In short, there are many, many, many good people within government, who are deeply committed, mission-driven, and yearning to work in efficient and modern ways. I’m looking forward to partnering with more folks like that through 18F.

Map from 1910 by Walker Lith. & Pu Co. from loc.gov. 18F get’s its name from its headquarters location at 18th and F Streets as well as the eighteen fellows in the inaugural Presidential Innovation Fellows class.

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