Saul Hansell from the New York times sat down this week with Aneesh Chopra, the newly confirmed chief technology officer of the United States. My first question, of course, was “What does the nation’s C.T.O. do?” It’s a question that has lingered after Barack Obama announced his intention to create the position during the campaign, and was made more confusing when President Obama appointed a chief information officer, Vivek Kundra, to coordinate the use of computers by the federal government.
Mr. Chopra said that his top goal, in a nutshell, was economic development using government policy to create jobs and business around technology. “My job is to serve as the innovation platform champion in addressing private market opportunities in support of public priorities,” he said.
It wasn’t the sort of conversation I might have had were President Obama to have appointed a Silicon Valley luminary like, say, the Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, as many technology executives had hoped. Mr. Chopra’s emphasis, by contrast, reflected his experience working since 2005 as the secretary of technology for Virginia, where much of his efforts went into nurturing technology companies.