We interrupt this stream of civic tech nerdery to bring you a few bits of news about Civic Commons, the organization. In short, I’m moving on (to join Tumblr), and Nick Grossman is moving up (to be Executive Director).

Since April, I’ve been serving as the start-up executive director for Civic Commons. When we kicked things off, the need for Civic Commons — an organization to encourage, build, tend, improve, document, and evangelize open source and shared technology projects for cities and other governments — had gelled out of a series of conversations among a fairly wide array of civic tech nerds, most importantly Jen Pahlka at Code for America and Nick Grossman at OpenPlans. Together with our beloved (and bethanked) launch funders at the Omidyar Network and the MacArthur Foundation, we put together a plan for Civic Commons as a joint initiative between Code for America and OpenPlans, but independent in its operations.

With their initial support, together with a significant project grant from the Knight Foundation, we launched Civic Commons in May, aiming at an core set of objectives that included providing technical assistance to cities seeking to contribute or use open-source tech; building a strong pipeline of open source civic software; expanding the scope, utility, and adoption of Open311 - an open standard for core gov’t – citizen communications; and building a powerful and disruptive (in a good way) online marketplace that catalogs the universe of civic technology, enables easy discovery of innovative low-cost/high-value options (and the communities and vendors that support them), fosters joint development of shared resources, and thereby dramatically lowers the cost of tech procurement and acquisition for government agencies of all shapes and sizes. In the seven months we’ve been at it, we’ve made excellent progress on each of those fronts.

So it’s now time for me to head back to the private sector. I’m joining Tumblr, an innovative company that to me embodies the best of what the Internet makes possible. I’ll be Tumblr’s Vice President, focusing on international growth and community building.

I’m pleased to announce that the new Executive Director of Civic Commons is Nick Grossman. Nick is a brilliant, energetic, and thoughtful leader with deep experience in, and infectious enthusiasm for, civic technology, government innovation, open data and open standards, and collaborative software development. Nick is the ideal person to lead Civic Commons beyond the launch phase and into an era of sustained, high-leverage, globally-significant projects like the Civic Commons Marketplace.

Over this past half-year, I have been privileged to work with Nick, the amazingly great open source guru Karl Fogel, the peerless Open311 wizard Philip Ashlock, and our incredible Code for America fellows Jeremy Canfield and Michelle Koeth, along with my indispensable partners at Code for America — Jen Pahlka, Abhi Nemani, and Meghan Reilly. Rowdy thanks to each of you: Your work to bring transformative technology to government and civic life is one of the most exciting things on the planet right now.

Finally, I’ll just note that I’m not disappearing from the scene. I’m going to remain active as a member of the Code for America board, doing everything I can to ensure that Civic Commons gets the participation (and the resources) it needs to do its enormously important work, here in the U.S. and around the world.

About Andrew McLaughlin

Board of Directors, Code for America. Lecturer, Stanford Law School. [And Ex-X: Ex-White House. Ex-Google. Ex-ICANN. Ex-Berkman. Ex-vegetarian. Ex-Xbox.]
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  • Rebecca Mackinnon

    Congratulations Andrew!!!! Check out Global Voices’ Tumblr page: Fabulous to know you’ll be spearheading international community engagement.

  • Anonymous

    We are look forward to working with Nick and the whole Civic Commons crew. Good luck Andrew,

  • Nick Grossman

    Likewise; thanks Steven!

  • Joe Cooper

    “Ex-vegetarian,”  see, what the smell of a good beef steak can really do!