Suits Optional As New Digital Team Moves Into The West Wing

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A Second Act For The Internet Of Things

Mikey Dickerson, the engineer credited with saving the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov, moved into the White House earlier this month to lead the new U.S. Digital Service (USDS). But just because he’s working a few steps from the Oval Office, Dickerson said he won’t be changing his style.

“People are putting up with me walking around [Executive Office Building] and the West Wing just wearing whatever,” Dickerson said in a video the White House released Wednesday. “I mean not just wearing whatever but I’m not wearing a T-shirt, I’m wearing some actual shirts with buttons and collars but that’s about where we’re at right now.”

And although you might be wondering who really cares what the newest government bureaucrat is wearing, Dickerson said he’s been inundated with Facebook posts and tweets asking him about it.

He said the online commentators want to know: “Is this the same old business as usual, or are they actually going to listen?”

And maybe Dickerson’s casual wardrobe could signal an important shift at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s about as corny as a promotional video comes, but it’s important that the White House is finally finding talent outside of Washington to address the repeated issues with government-operated websites.

The bugs with the original healthcare website were front-page news when the service first rolled out. More recently the Federal Communications Commission’s website breakdowns forced the agency to extend its commenting period for net neutrality.

If all goes according to plan, Dickerson will bring his Google experience to every government agency website, just as he did to the healthcare site in October. He says if he’s successful, no one will even know the USDS exists because websites will just be running correctly.

IMAGE BY Flickr USER Jorge Bernal UNDER CCPL LICENSE