Government service

I recently read Y Combinator’s Sam Altman’s blog post on the US Digital Service.

Basically, Sam shares the US government’s Digital Service project whereby it gets experienced tech engineers, product managers, and designers to work on government projects. Talent from Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Twilio, and YC has joined the project so far, with great results. The Digital Service has helped Healthcare.gov reduce its upfront development cost from $200M to $4M while reducing its annual operating costs from $70M to $4M.

I think that the idea of Digital Service is a great idea that more countries need to adopt. Being a government official and performing military service shouldn’t be the only ways in which you can serve your country. If you have a specific skill set, you should be able to put it to good use in a government role.

Your contribution shouldn’t have to be in the form of a long-term career, but could take the form of a 1-2 year full-time commitment or a specific consulting engagement. It also doesn’t need to be restricted to the field of technology. Whatever the specific shape of your potential contribution, there should be a government platform that accommodates your desire to serve your country in that way.