Obama Is Recruiting Tech Geniuses to Save America
The goal: hire 500 by the end of 2016
By Brownie Marie,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2015 1:00 PM CDT
President Obama speaks to the Catholic Hospital Association Conference at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, Tuesday, June 9, 2015, about health care reform.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Maybe still smarting over the embarrassment of the HealthCare.gov launch, President Obama has since snatched up about 140 of the nation’s brightest minds to redo its technological infrastructure. The recruits came from Amazon, Twitter, Google, and other companies at the forefront of the Silicon Valley, and all were told they’d be taking a serious pay cut. The tradeoff? They would be helping their country move closer to being as efficient as their former employers. "What are you going to say to that?" Lisa Gelobter tells Fast Company, whose story by Jon Gertner is headlined "Inside Obama's Stealth Startup." Gelobter, a former exec at Hulu and BET, was appointed chief digital service officer at the soon-to-be revamped Department of Education.

By the end of 2016, the 140 techies will be a group of 500 distributed across federal agencies, working to overhaul a clunky, bureaucratic system that has frustrated Americans. For example, about 800,000 people had delay filing their tax returns this year after receiving erroneous tax information from HealthCare.gov. Obama hopes that his newly hired geniuses will help avoid such mistakes from happening again. "You will have a more user-friendly government, a more responsive government,” he tells Gertner. The writer phrases it larger terms: If the project works, it won't just improve functionality. It "might transform Americans’ attitudes about government too." (Click for the full story.)