Web 2.0 Representation in the Obama Administration

We are not 4 full days into the Obama transition period and already three web executives have made theoir way into the mix in some kind of advisory role. Yesterday, we covered the naming of Julius Genachowski of Launchbox Digital and Sonal Shah of Google.org to the transition team. Today, the New York Times points out that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has been named to his economic advisory board.

This got me thinking about what a Web 2.0 Administration would look like. In considering roles within the new administration, I’m suggesting possibilities based on their personal reputation within the web space with a favoring for people that own or run their own companies.

Chris Brogan is the ultimate diplomat and community guy, so he should be considered for Secretary of State. Louis Gray is my candidate for Ambassador to the United Nations. Oh and Tom from MySpace needs to be an Ambassador or something because he’s everyones friend.

Jason Calacanis is a master businessman, having been the CEO or an executive in companies such as Weblogs Inc., AOL and now Mahalo. As such, I am naming him as Secretary of Commerce.

Mike Arrington is not a practicing attorney, but it is his background. He is a no-bullshit kind of guy not hesitating to name companies to the dead pool if he thinks they have no chance and propping up companies who he believes does have a chance. Because of the nature of the FBI, and the Department of Justice, Mike seems like a good fit as the Attorney General.

Gary Vaynerchuk, as the ultimate communicator, is qualified and should be President Obama’s Press Secretary.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs seems to be the only CEO of a publicly traded company (AAPL) who seems to be doing okay in the economic downturn. Sure, he might want to redistribute iPods, and ensure the Star Spangled Banner is the top pick in the iTunes Music Store for 4 years, but he should be the Secretary of the Treasury.

Lightning rod video and puppet blogger, Loren Feldman, has no issue going after “enemies of America” (or anyone else) and as such, he gets my designation for Secretary of Defense.

Knowledge blogger, Dave Taylor, has built up a wealth of intelligence regarding a variety of topics. I nominate him as the Director of Central Intelligence.

Graham Hill of Treehugger is the notable nominee for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk as Administrator of NASA.

Julia Allison should definitely be a White House intern.

What do you think? Who else should be in the cabinet?

Added: Melanie Notkin has been nominated, and I concur, in comments below as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Her site is using Web 2.0 to enlighten and inform aunts, families and the general population.

Thoughts on Jason Calacanis and Walking Away From It All

Jason Calacanis, a colleague in blogging with whom I very much respect, announced last week his retirement from blogging. Many others around the way snickered and assumed it was a joke. I never thought it was a joke – mainly because I could sympathize with his sentiments.

In his “retirement speech”, an overly dramatic event that certainly added to the speculation of a practical joke, he says:

This was an extremely difficult decision, and I haven’t made it lightly. After five years I’m not sure I know any other way of being but the blog, but at some point you have to hang it up. I know that I had made the right decision for me and my family. I am very proud of the success that we have had in blogging and I leave the game with few regrets.

He later goes on to make the statement, “Blogging is dead.”

While I certainly disagree with the latter statement, I can sympathize with the feeling. I think every day that I get up, I go through the same routine in addition to the rest of my responsibilities:

  1. Ok, what’s on my mind today? (Note I’m not asking what’s in the news today)
  2. How does what’s on my mind affect my audience
  3. What were yesterdays stats?
  4. Are my ads making money for me?
  5. Any posts pending review from one of the other editors?
  6. Ok, anyone talking about me? (Looking at Google Reader)
  7. Big story breaking now… does it apply?

Honestly, when there’s things happening in all of those points of thought, then it gets extremely tiring. Not to mention the bitchmemes that pop up on FriendFeed and Twitter that boil my blood. Then the question is, do I respond or censor myself for the sake of my business?

I have long been an antagonist of Jason’s. I hope he knows it has always been good natured, from my perspective, and not the “hating” of which he refers. I think he does.

There comes a time when an early adopter (and Jason was an early adopter of blogging) bows out to early adopt elsewhere. From my perspective, not a day goes by where I don’t think about an exit strategy. Should I sell? Should I play for an acquisition? Should I just mothball the thing, leave the archives, and start over?

Obviously, I’ve done none of this though I have attempted a sale on the site before. Something tells me I’d be a whole lot more successful with such an attempt should I try it again, but I have a job to do for awhile longer at least and so I keep plugging away (Hope you like the content!).

So Jason, thanks for being an inspiration to many. You’re still around – you only quit blogging, not social media altogether. So we’ll certainly continue to rub shoulders. See ya around the tubes!

The Internet is Not a Free Speech Zone

It would seem that people, by and large, think that the internet is a free speech zone. We have blogs, these are our personal spaces and we can do whatever the hell we want.

In case you missed the memo, this is not the case.

Sure, you might not go to jail (actually, this increasingly becomes possible) but as bad, if not worse, is the possibility of destroying relationships because of your actions on the internet.

It’s not a free speech zone.

A few days ago, Loic Lemeur, the founder of Seesmic and someone who I have yet to meet in person, put out a very impassioned video calling Kosso (who is my friend and the developer of Phreadz) to task for disseminating private conversation.

I find this video very honest and transparent. Loic apologizes for direct comments that may have been inappropriate. From Kosso’s standpoint, he explains in a very coherent way why the whole thing is very awkward:

Now, if you’ve made it this far and watched the videos, you can understand that the politics of the web is a very delicate thing. It’s easy for people to get twisted up, but there’s always two sides to every conversation.

A few months ago, Loren Feldman started a series of parody videos mocking Shel Israel’s videos at FastCompany.tv. Quite a number of people took offense to these videos and that particular conversation got downright nasty. What some people don’t understand is that the internet is not a free speech zone and, if Loren wanted to, he could destroy their lives, businesses, client relationships, etc.

Does that make Loren a bad guy? No, I hardly think so. I personally think that Loren is one of the nicest and most honest guys on the internet. But I know he could destroy me.

That in itself doesn’t keep me from stepping into that fray, but it’s a healthy respect valve.

So to everyone I have bitten harshly in this internet world, accept my apologies. There have been a lot of them, but to name a few: Tyme White, Mike Rundle, Kris Smith, John Havens, David Krug, Robert Scoble, Mike Arrington, Jason Calacanis and others.

Life’s too short.