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Q&A with the First-Ever White House Chief Digital Officer: People with Purpose, Puff Daddy, and The Hulk

What does a Chief Digital Officer do? Why did the President want to create this role? What advice did Sean Combs offer Twitter? Find out in this Q&A with Jason Goldman, the White House's first-ever Chief Digital Officer.

Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman

If you're on Twitter, delving into a few longreads on Medium, or writing a blog on Google's Blogger, you're familiar with the work of Jason Goldman. Working as a behind-the-scenes "Wizard of Oz," Jason helped build these social media platforms into revolutionary spaces for engaging with the world on what matters to you most.

Now, at 38, he’s moved across the country to helm a new role at the White House: Chief Digital Officer.

What does a CDO do for the President and the American people? Why did the President want to create this role? What advice did Sean "Puff Daddy / P. Diddy" Combs offer Jason? Find out below!

1. This is the first time that any White House has had a Chief Digital Officer. What do you believe your mission is here? 

 "The mission of our team is to connect people with purpose."

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2. What's the first thing you do when you walk into your office each morning?

"Step one is I get a smoothie from Protein Bar. Step Two is I have to finish the smoothie before I get to H street because there’s no more trash cans after that point." 

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3. How do you think digital platforms are changing the way people interact with their government? 

“[People] expect more human moments, more conversational moments, less being talked to and more being talked with.”

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4. What did the President say to you when he asked you to come work for him? 

"He said … there is still room to go in terms of creating something that is really value positive. That in and of itself is about making people’s lives better."

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5. What did you study in college? 

“I majored in astrophysics, which is a very practical degree. It gives you a lot of opportunities to, you know, really do nothing related to astronomy ...”

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6. Who is the most interesting person you've ever met? 

“Sean Combs came to the Twitter office to talk about marketing … it was one of the better conversations we’ve had [at Twitter].”

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7. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

"When I was a kid, I wanted to specifically work at the science museum in St. Louis, Missouri. I was like, "’Oh, this seems great. I can work at the Planetarium.’"

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8. What is the best piece of advice you've ever received? 

"The best piece of advice that a friend of mine gave me sort of five or six years ago when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do career wise — said, 'Whoa, whoa, I just want to stop you — what do you actually want to do?'"

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9. Which word or phrase do you overuse? 

"Right now, I think it’s 'kill it.’”

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10. What's the talent or superpower you'd most like to have? 

"…Bounding, which is basically like what The Hulk can do."

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