Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dave the G-Man

So an amazing and unnerving thing happened to me last week: I unexpectedly had to speak on behalf of the gang at the State Services Commission (the place that I work) on a panel about "Digital Democracy" hosted by Russell Brown, one of New Zealand's leading bloggers and journalists (that's him in the brown shirt).

This panel was pretty heavy duty too: it included Chris DiBona (far left), Google's lead guy on open-source software as well as a former editor at Slashdot, one of the techy community's key newsources; Alaister Thompson (next to Chris), who founded Scoop.co.nz, a website that revolutionized how news was distributed in New Zealand (every press release that comes out goes up on their site); and Rob McKinnon (between me and Russell), the guy who created a website called Theyworkforyou.co.nz, which helps you learn about what your MP says in Parliament, how they voted, and generally what they're up to.

In short, these guys are digital heroes. And me, well, I work for the government.

This all happened because we found out about the session through a colleague in another department, but unfortunately found that all the places were taken at the session. So I wrote Russell, telling him that our team's job at SSC was all about digital democracy, and could we please have a few places cuz we're so cool?

He wrote back really quickly: no problem about the places...but how about being on the panel?

Anyway, after some to and fro I was nominated by the team to go out to the panel. This was pretty serious for me, since I'd never, ever represented an organization of the magnitude of the State Services Commission, let alone being the ONLY government person on a panel about digital democracy.

The night itself was really fun, though incredibly hot. The venue was absolutely baking. This was good though, because I could blame the sweat pouring down my brow on the heat instead of the nerves. And there were a lot of nerves, believe me.

In the end, I think things went well. But judge for yourself! You can listen to the whole panel chat on Scoop here: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0702/S00058.htm


G-Plum said...

Way to go Dave! That is fantastic. I'm sure you did us proud.


Tomas said...

Well now, Mr. Hume! Little HEAT in the kitchen, eh?? Well then fly away, U WEE FAIRY!!!! Was there any doubt in your oratorical ability...wowing the crowd you did (i sound like Yoda here)! Congrats, am sure there was even more pressure than when u "addressed" paul martin in 2003! But you stepped up, kid! I think you liked representing government...dare I suggest that the "golden handcuffs" may soon be locked around your wrists, like that of your fiancee and many of your friends!!!!!!!!!!???????????????????????????

Speaka said...

Pretty cool...don't let the fame go to your head : )

Margaret said...

I think this falls into the category of...be careful what you ask for,
you might get it.
That was pretty funny about just wanting to get to the Session, and you end up on the panel!
I bet you did a great job too!