Key Partnerships

Create a Evangelist Position

Most of the big APIs like Twitter, Facebook, and now LinkedIn have a dedicated core team that spends a lot of time evangelizing the API and working with developers to get what they need. needs a evangelist who can be the community manager out on the road listening and talking and generally spreading the word on and its value.

I think this is a separate role from leadership like Vivek Kundra and Aneesh Chopra (who have a ton of priorities so hard to manage bandwidth).


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Similar Ideas [ 4 ]


  1. Comment
    Ethan McMahon

    sressler, Great idea. Have you seen examples of this in other countries or states? It might make sense to have a team or a single manager.

  2. Comment
    David Smith

    I like that idea - hopefully the intent would be to also foster collaboration and cross-pollination between agencies so that agencies are not all off trying to re-invent the wheel on how to provide data, data services and metadata - additionally, this provides yet another opportunity toward fostering cross-agency collaborative efforts, toward understanding data needs and business processes which span multiple agencies, e.g. strengthening environment-oriented relationships across EPA, NASA, NOAA, USGS; emergency-response relationships across the respective ESF functions and so on.

    Similarly, strengthening federal/state/local collaboration - a lot of data is collected at the state and local levels and is then aggregated upward. Providing robust data, data services and so on back out to all participants is an opportunity for engagement and for improvements to data quality.

  3. Comment

    Regardless of what the position is called, any objective that lacks at least one stakeholder of the lead performer type is merely a wish.

    One of the elements that transforms a strategic plan into a performance plan is the identification of at least one stakeholder of the lead performer type.

    Elements that are candidates for inclusion in StratML Part 2, Performance Plans and Reports, are listed at

  4. Comment
    Chuck Georgo

    Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. I am an optimist and theefore I believe that no one will really argue against open and transparent government (done right). Having said that, I feel that doesn't really need an evangelist to spread the "gospel of data sharing."

    What does need is to have a leader that will work with federal agencies, the Congress, and the public to develop a program that makes specific, relevant, good quality data available to multiple categories of users to help make the public more aware of federal government performance.

  5. Comment


    I'm not sure the idea of a evangelist here is quite in that context. Perhaps a better title here might be liaison. The optimal role would be essentially an educator and "connector" who would establish a dialog between the various stake-holders and act to make sure that people are in fact aware of what's going on elsewhere.

    The liaison/evangelist's role would be perhaps a little thankless, but they would walk the boundaries between agencies, keeping tabs on what's going on standards wise and making suggestions to IT people in one department when another department or agency is either starting to tackle or has already tackled the same kind of work on their end. Owen does that to a certain extent, as does Donna Roy at DHS, but I don't know if there's a formal person within OMB (where it would logically reside) to act in that capacity.

  6. Comment
    sressler ( Idea Submitter )

    Thanks to everyone for the feedback.

    A number of places have community managers/evangelists now. For example, Justin Thorp for AddThis. On GovLoop (the site I run), we have Andy Krzmarzick as our community evangelist.

    I think the evangelist can be a point for questions from citizen developers, internal government questions about, and generally represent in promotion at the right gatherings, media, and events.


  7. Comment
    Chuck Georgo

    Kurt: Thanks for your comment. Please remember that the examples given - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, AddThis - are private sector companies who are in the advertising business and need to undertake activities meant to generate demand for their services where previously there were none; to me they established the API Liaisons because of a revenue driven need to be able to access each other's data--we have yet to define what this really looks like for the federal government.

    However, in the context of your idea, I do agree with you that having a "API liaison" would be more appropriate that an "evangelist" to help the various data providers and consumers build interfaces/make their data available to the cause. I would still petition for a having a good leader who can also work to establish good relationships with a) the people who would ultimately benefit from, b) the federal agencies (and other organizations who would provide the raw data, and c) the intermediaries who would develop and host the various dashboards and mashups that would deliver the data from b) in the right context and presentation format to a).

    Kurt and Steve: There's a very important saying in the sales business--"People HATE to be sold, but they LOVE to buy." I do not agree that we should be 'selling" and I suggest that we avoid any implication of needing to "evangelize" the need for

    If it is to be successful and (more importantly) sustainable, it must be built to satisfy a current and specific need (just as was), once people see its utility, demand will drive expansion into other areas--more viral marketing than evangelism (sales).

  8. Comment

    Although I have previously commented, I have not voted on this idea because, as a matter of general principle, I don't believe it is appropriate for anyone being paid by the taxpayers to "evangelize". (Nor do I believe it is particularly helpful to set up anyone as a scapegoat for what will inevitably be failure, since the need is far greater than any individual can fulfill.)

    However, I do believe that any objective being legitimately pursued with taxpayer funding should have a clearly designated stakeholder of the lead performer type and that part of that individual's role should be to work to efficiently and effectively engage performance partners who are pursuing complementary objectives.

    Toward that end, it would be good if:

    a) .gov goals and objectives were documented on agency Web sites in StratML format,

    b) data sharing objectives were associated with each of those goals and objectives, and

    c) were to become a "dashboard" by which progress against those data sharing objectives could be measured and reported.

  9. Comment

    Another way to say this is that a "product manager" or "user advocate" which listens to users of the system with the intent of product improvement ideas which can be rolled back into the system.

  10. Comment

    Great idea. But can you not call it "evangelist"? The header of this comment actually confused me and led me to believe that you were requesting a data set for people who prosletize for Christianity!

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