Tech Meetup at the White House
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About one month ago, I received the following e-mail:
On April 17, we’re hosting community organizers, city and state officials, and technology thought leaders for a Tech Meetup at the White House. Our goals in gathering are to support America’s innovators, to better bridge digital divides, to interconnect us on common topics, to better collaborate on challenging projects where we have deep need and passion to solve them, and figure out how to include all Americans everywhere in our #InnovationNation.
I hope you will be able to join us!
U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President
To which I promptly responded:
Please forgive my abruptness, but I’m sure I’m not the only one that has had this reaction—is this a real thing? Is it really at the White House?
I received the following:
Hello Zach! This is the real thing :) -- and no, you are not the only person to react this way. It's a very special invitation, and yes, we are all really, truly invited to the White House.
- Whitehouse.gov Blog Post: This Friday: Tech Meetup at the White House
- Meetup.com Blog Post: Announcing the first Tech Meetup at the White House
Later I discovered that they wanted me to do a very short talk (three minutes) about NebraskaJS.
Holy shit—my name is on the schedule.
Jump to the 2h 23m 26s mark to see my portion.
After my talk was over, I immediately posted this tweet:
Holy shit.— Zach Leatherman (@zachleat) April 17, 2015
Thank You Notes
This was, without a doubt, one of the coolest opportunities I have ever had in my life. A huge thank you to the Meetup team that organized the event and Megan Smith (US CTO) who I learned firsthand is one of the most amazing people on planet Earth.
Another huge thank you to everyone that has helped out with NebraskaJS: especially the original founders Jonathan Sharp, Andrew Wirick, and Eli Perelman; the current co-organizers Nick Nisi and Blaine Kasten; and all the presenters. I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity if it hadn’t been for you all. Thank you.
TechRepublic: White House plays matchmaker with local geeks and leaders to get more people into tech jobs
Zach Leatherman from NebraskaJS talked about battling brain drain--losing top talent to other parts of the country--drawing the attention of companies to the local talent pool, and essentially making sure no one is held back by negative perceptions relating to their geographic location.
Meetup.com Blog Post: Celebrating opportunity at the first-ever Tech Meetup at the White House
NextGov: White House Promotes Tech Meetups
CNN Money: First White House Tech Meetup: You are creating opportunity
WOW that is wild!! For some reason the thing I remember the most about the event was the afterparty jazz music and appetizers they served 😆
Ha! I was 8-months into a pregnancy beard and flew home before the after party just in case my wife went into labor. My daughter was born the next week!
Oh DANG what a life-changing time for you! The world was so different then hahaha 🙃