tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 15, 2016 5:18pm-6:01pm EST
year a day or so ago where we had an online application available. we now have our first full year of data. in that year, we have had almost 4500 people apply. to give you a bit of context, our acceptance rate is way more competitive than harvard because we are really looking for the best of the best. i cannot tell you how incredibly thrilled i am to work with such a talented team because the people of the united states digital service are phenomenal. we have is really interesting collection of leaders across the industry. everything from people like mikey who sets up the classes of engineers inside google. the founding members of amazon. people that took twitter's infrastructure to what it is now. it is an incredible collection of the smartest, genuinely incredibe people i could have ever imagined working with and
it is inside the government which is mindbending. i think that is a differentiating factor between the folks on our teams and any other team. they are coming in to do this not because they get to put the white house on the business card where they get to make tons of money because they are usually taking a pay cut to come into government, but they are not shabby salaries. they are coming because they want to make a difference in the lives of americans and want to work on things that matter. those of the type of people we are looking for. they tend to find us because of your looking to have an impact, there is no better place to be working than the united states federal government. hillary: we are really looking for people that can have empathy.
and that they for the people they are building the services for, the people working across from them. for thateally screen sense of mission driven, impact driven person. absolutely, we are screening for a certain skill set and certain level of skill, but really almost more than anything is that eq side of it. are you here for the correct reasons? if you are not, once you hit that first bureaucratic wall, you will not want to hop over it. you will have to be willing to bash your head into the wall and figure your way around it. lisa: so many that came straight from the private sector, in terms of the scale and impact of what it means. i worked on shockwave a little
while ago which was basically the advent of animation on the web. launch hulu. my code and my products have shipped to nearly hundreds of millions of people. i have been really fortunate to kind of affect the way people consume media in a significant way. nothing compares to what i'm doing now. the ability -- if i could just affect one person's life in terms of helping them go to college and make a better life for themselves, this would be worth it. to getting the opportunity affect more people's lives and have real significant impacts. this scale is enormous and different from the private sector. mikey: i will be quick. i would say you have to be pretty good at whatever is your
particular field of expertise. you have to be reasonably confident in yourself in that field of expertise because you will be in a lot of rooms where you will be the only one who has spread before and you need to explain how it is done and be convincing. a lot of times, you need to be resilient.t and very ready to beo let, ok with it when you let other people take credit for the stuff that you have done. if you are all that stuff, you're ideal for us. haley mentioned we are very selective. that is true. i would remind everybody who is notening that there is correlation between how good people are and what they do and how good they think they are and what they do. [laughter] not hear that and
think this is not for me. you may be exactly that person whether you think you are or not. john: fantastic. one more question and then we will go to the audience. some ideas that come from this president are not always the most popular in washington, especially from people on the other side of the aisle. especially since he had such a high profile in leading the effort, how is this being received in washington? is a bipartisan? what kind of support are you getting? haley: this is one of my favorite parts about the digital service. in the midst of the political rhetoric, we hear about them not working together. this has managed to thread t hrough both sides of the aisle.
it is the most fantastic example of a bipartisan agenda we can see today in washington. it is this incredible thing that is happening that in the process of th delivering processes to people and give care and access to the people that needed, we are also saving tons of taxpayer dollars and making government more efficient and effective at the same time what theboth parts of aisle wants. we as a result are getting tons of support all over d.c. one of the recent developments we are very excited about was a couple of weeks ago, congress came out with our fy16 budget. entireived almost our funding request from a predominantly republican hill which leaves a very strong
bipartisan support of what we are doing. we have a criteria that is mostly focused on how many users are going to benefit from the service. and it is truly providing a service. what is the opportunity cost for not doing something differently? gao, thedent and the government accountability office which are independent and works closely with the hill, they are almost exactly the same. the biggest problems that need to be solved everyone agrees with because no one thinks that veterans should be waiting longer to get access to the benefits. no one thinks government should be wasting taxpayer dollars on things that can be much less expensive and work simply. it is an incredible coming together of both sides. mikey: the budget thing is super surprising. we will not tell you the half-hour version of it. but, people who do follow these
things closely were dumbfounded because not only were we funded -- not only are we a project that the president is very personally invested in, asking congress for money, this congress for money, but our appropriations land inside the white house. if there is one thing this congress does not want to add more money to -- there is a few of them, but the white house is high on the list. this is a very surprising outcome. haley and other people helped. i didn't know what i was doing and still don't. we go in talked to the appropriations committee and make our sales pitch and we say this is what we are here to do and please give us money. they are very stonefaced and don't give much of a reaction. we find out when the spending bill comes out just like everybody else.
we don't get any special insider access. john: this is a good segue into these questions. given this is the president's last year, what are the goals for 2016? can you talk about those? hillary? from our agency, two big goals are to expand consulting services so we can help with the agency embedded teams that is getting into the agencies and we can help go in and be a startup team. we are expanding on that. we are also going around the acquisition space. entering the marketplaces. what we are experiencing right now is micro purchasing. it is very easy to purchase something with a credit card,
but the spending limit is dirty $500. $3500. we are building an auction platform. if you are a developer and never participated, we are sort of doing that. the code is open source. we develop quickly out in the open. that haveasks, issues been written for certain projects. we are going to put this one up for auction. it is interesting because we have done it twice. two different batches. bidfirst time, the task got down to one dollar. the person was trying to make a statement. i'm an open source developer but pay me a dollar. the second time, we want to be spurring business, participating in the community.
so, we made a few tweaks. it turns out that didn't happen this time, but another interesting plot twist but all of the final bids were around $ 350. lines of code which shipped in about 24 hours. we are changing the game on how services can be delivered and how we can scale our efforts. the plot twist was actually -- it was not one dollar, but somebody actually fixed the thing that we put out to auction before it was over. [laughter] john: what about usds? enoughit is obvious there is a presidential election this year.
it is almost a guarantee -- i know some of you have heard me say this. it is almost a guarantee that the next president and the next person in my job will not spend as much time together. together. healthcare.gov becomes with the agencies and the layers of people who will still be there. we will continue on into the next term. this is the institutionalization of the conversation that started and will go through all the way to the end.
it means a lot of different things to people in washington. what we are betting on is flat out delivering enough stuff of enough value that it is worth continuing. i do not mind. the criticism of the model is that we depend on appropriations. if they do not want to fund it next year, they do not have to. wise, depend on executive power from the top of the agencies in the top-down support. if we do not continually earn the right to continue to exist, we will not. i am at peace with that. it causes a certain amount of stress. worther to make the work continuing, we need to shift some things and we will talk about the appeals process we are working on right now.
system to produce a new for doing social security, disability claims adjudications, the immigration stuff you talked about that is ongoing. we have to improve the refugee admission process. , new one that we are on to is if you follow closely, the white house talks about executive actions on improving criminal background checks before you can buy a gun. we have worked with the fbi on that system. that is what we needed to show real results this year. are a lot of unknowns. the thing that is clear is that -- is that technology is only going to
become more important. the incredible transformations happening right now is that it is exceedingly ceor that, as president or of the country, you can have the background in policy, law, and economics. isther leg of the stool tech. it empowers. you can do the same thing -- you cannot do the same thing with the country anymore. that trend will not change, for sure. >> i have a question. not about 2016. it is important. some, this was the first time they had heard of "college scorecard." what have you been doing? millions have created user accounts. there are more who could potentially benefit. >> absolutely.
the target audience is underserved communities. are over 24 years old. it is important. we have this viable product and i am glad that it falls into what we are doing in 2016. iterates, ailds, culture of continuous improvement. part of that includes outreach and figuring out how to get the message out there and doing outreach to guidance counselors who are actually reaching the students. how do we continue partnering with organizations who are in communities and how do we get them to be enticed to use the data? will continue to iterate from the future perspective and from an outreach perspective. it ist of the beauty of that you do not need to have to
go to a .gov website and that is the whole point. on data is where users are, different education websites. not every person things about going to a .gov. we want to make that ok and push the information to where people are, instead of forcing them to come to us. >> two more questions and i have a final. the pushback from the contractors engaged in developing software the old way? you are so few in number and they are making a lot of money. >> those are facts. [laughter] mentioned, wes i are very much trying to work with the community and enable
and empower businesses and small businesses to do work. that is part of what the general services administration does. we are taking on the mantle on the technology side of things. all of the things that we do are in service of that. all of the marketplace is trying to get new business in and do business with government for the first time. you have to be registered at this thing as a registered business owner. these people are doing business with the government for the first time and it gives them a window into the experience. yes, they are absolutely companies all over the cou ntry doing business with the government and making a lot of money. what we are doing and we have , we this in various ways
are trying to fundamentally change these things getting done so that it can be faster, better, cheaper. and, when you show that that can be done with a lean, mean group of people inside of the government, you show good faith -- it is an $80 t.llion industry to do i. with the government. you cannot even see the dot we are in that. own.nnot do this on our we have to rely on vendors out there. what we can do is give a new experience so that they go agile, the design, and expect that
from the next people they work with and look for those qualities with the people they so that the whole system gradually begins to change. >> a great answer. >> we have thought this and talk this through. -- talked this through. everybody has different ideas. the first point i would make is that it is not -- we do not have to change every project in the entire government and hit the . forillion a year in i.t this to be worth doing. the project i described in questions, if we affected those, i would feel like what we did is worth doing. the second point is that there and or miss industry that will continue and be mostly contractor-driven.
bringing all of the work inside of the federal government would withstaggering expansion hundreds of thousands of federal employees and an agency bigger v.a. to take this inside the federal government and we do not intend for that to happen and are not making any effort to make that happen. in every event like this, and it never gets printed, picked up, amplified, we are not here to kill the industry. i don't care. that is great. i do not care if the same companies exist. have to fix the ecosystem so that it is more healthy. predict is that the government will continue to spend a shitload of money doing stuff. >> that will get quoted.
>> so, that will continue to happen and people will make a lot of money. making a lot of money is not, a priori, on the face of it, a bad thing. if we continue to spend the amount that we do and the thing works when we are done, if we do not have the 40% that never saw the light of day, if everything worked, that would be an improvement, even if we did not save a dime. anything toer got work better, but we save money, that would be an improvement. >> we could not do it without contractors. they do not want to build shitty services, either. they do not want to work that way.
that is the hypothesis we are working on. government isur propping up a failing industry. who else does waterfall except for us? to.hey do what we hire them if we get smarter about direct in them, no doubt. two newmitted bids experimental stuff we are doing with making competition more competitive and they will adapt. the direct us to set shins because we write the contracts. -- the directions because we write the contracts. >> are you looking at people who do biz dev? i see you shaking your head. >> absolutely.
we need a diverse range of skill set because -- skill sets. we need the best project managers, researchers, policy experts, and people who are good at getting shit done. i guarantee you there is no less hospitable government than the government to getting stuff done. of need to have a specialty bureaucracy-hacking. please apply. >> that is a real thing. >> the final question, make it personal. you talk about a shift in coach or, not just services. culture, and not just services. how have you changed? how has the experience changed
you? what will you take away, when you look back? honest, this change me for the rest of my life and i probably still have not learned all of the ways. my biggest fear is that i will never be as satisfied working on a project again because the impact of the federal government is so large and so meaningful in people's lives. we will probably spend the rest of our lives trying to find something as impactful. >> for me, i have only been doing this for months. having worked at a large corporation and several before, the way government works and the bureaucracy, having to get stuff done, it is not that foreign to me. the thing i have learned and has struck me the most is, i knew
that, when i was joining, my team members were going to be super-passionate, engaged, excited about what we were doing. what i did not know is that, as an outsider of government, i was blown away by the folks i am partnered with their. all they wantnd to do is make the world a better place for students, education, making it easier to get and more equal across the country. i expected resistance and you hear about how government is and how hard it is to get anything done and nobody wants to and it is just a bunch of bureaucrats. you are on the ground and all anybody wants to do is fix things. >> for me, you centered a
re,stion of around cultu and that has resonated the most. designer-- i was a doing web services in the around sector and mostly and for government, from the outside. i was doing marketing, sales, at the end of my stint. i have been preaching user-centered design for a long time and focusing on the user before the stakeholder. has stuck with me is that my job has not necessarily been about delivering projects. what youredible to me
can do when you put your focus on people and on culture. the number of people that, when you asked them what is the best thing, across the board, the first thing out of their mouth is, "people." when you scream for that, put a focus on people, diversity, wanting to hear from everybody, it is incredible what a team can do and it will change how i approach everything. mikey. >> i had the most time to prepare. i'm ready to answer this question. acknowledgee -- i that none of our lives are ever going to be the same. a good number of people will
come and have done a limited tour of duty, like we have done and have gone back to something resembling normalcy for what they are used to. i most likely will not and i can see that. i have no idea what will become of any of us. we talk about this, not just because we are -- we have no idea what will become of us in a year. is high and the sacrifices people make is high. depths, too. i will spare you. the specific job i do, being a backstop to a lot of people who come to work in the government, it turns out to be tougher. that thereed to me is a speech he loves to do about "there is no possible informed
consent here because it does not matter." i have to tell you how hard it is going to be and you are not going to believe me. it will be the hardest thing you can imagine and harder than that, when you get here. that is what i do. was, how has this changed you? my frame of reference has changed a lot. a year ago, if you talk to me about fixing the government, i would talk you about agile design process. i do not think about that hardly at all anymore. i think about the problems of managing a norm is organizations of people where communication becomes difficult and coordination becomes difficult. it is not sufficient that they want to get something good done. they all believe that they want to make service better for veterans.
that is a thing you have to come to terms with fast and it will make the first couple of weeks hard. you meet people and they all want to do the same thing. we are building an organization where a couple hundred of people, which is enough to have the organizational dynamic, are having to face the fact that we are not magically different from the people in the government. all of the same incentives that lead it to be difficult to run a group and reach consensus apply to us. it is likely that, whatever i go to do after this, i have no idea, i will be thinking about these problems. -- the other thing that you were talking about that this is a is, tremendous opportunity to have a platform that actually talks about building diversity. have takenk that we
on the ownership of trying to build that out and prove that it is possible and to prove that it is representative of the people we are trying to serve and, more importantly, we understand and know that we will develop better projects and have better things with the diversity of opinion and voices. that is a thing that we have tried to showcase and a thing that we talk about in the industry with the folks we are trying to recruit. the more we showcase that this is possible and it is possible to build a team like this and a better team because of the diversity, that is an important take away, as well. i feel like we have discovered something rare and wonderful tonight in the work
that you are doing. thank you for spending time and being revolutionaries. thank you so much. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] minutes, the road to the white house coverage continues with george w. bush hitting the campaign trail for his brother and speaking to reporters. the live coverage gets underway when they do. upn it is over, we will open the phone lines and take your calls.
tonight, the longest-serving commissioner talked about communications issues, the phone service, the net neutrality rules, unlimited streaming by providers. mckinnon.ned by john >> we should always be improving and attempted to bridge gaps to get people to help themselves. this is about enabling individuals and providing them with the technological means to get in touch with the doctor, so their health can improve, to have educational options, where they may not have a language or course in their schools. bridge these gaps so that the digital and opportunity divides -- how do we use technology to
close them? also, remarks from john roberts on how rulings are crafted by the court. he will talk about public perception of the court and the process for selecting justices. here is part of that now. roberts: the process is not functioning well. examplend ginsburg, for , they were confirmed with 2-3 dissenting votes between the two of them. look at my more recent colleagues, all well-qualified for the court, and the votes were on party lines for the last three of them or close to it.
that does not make any sense and suggest to me that the process is being used for something other than insuring the qualifications of the nominees. where theocess members of the committee asked questions they know would be inappropriate for us to answer. thankfully, we do not answer the is a differentt agenda they have when they participate in the hearings. it is not something for us to change and i do not see how we would do that. it is certainly up to them to conduct the hearings as they see fit. they do not seem, to me, to be productive. >> that was part of it. -- it took place before scalia died.
you can see the comments at 8:00. >> washington journal is a live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. join the conversation with other viewers. coming up tomorrow morning, journalists from politico. it includes the editor in chief, will talk about the creation of politico. aboutn roberts will talk the race between clinton and sanders. will answer questions on how can its plan to win. -- how the candidates plan to win. tomorrow morning, join the discussion.