In its latest effort to embrace the startup ethos, the Obama administration hired Facebook’s former head of product Josh Miller as its first director of product
In a blog post on his personal website, Miller announced Monday his new role, saying he will lean on his time at Facebook to improve how the White House interacts with the public via technology.
“Wouldn’t it be great if your government had a conversation with you instead of just talking at you?” Miller writes. “The Obama administration has already responded to 255 online petitions that had collectively gathered more than 11 million signatures. Imagine if talking to the government was as easy as talking to your friends on social networks? White House officials have started to regularly host Q&As on Twitter. These initiatives represent amazing progress, and there’s so much more good work to be done.”
Before joining Facebook, Miller left Princeton University to create Branch, a messaging company that allowed users to host curated conversations. The service, funded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, was purchased by Facebook in January 2014.
During his time at Branch, Miller worked with Jason Goldman, who is currently the White House’s chief digital officer.
The hire is another in a long line of high-profile technology personalities leaving the private sector for work in the Obama administration. The U.S. Digital Service, the General Services Administration’s 18F and other various tech-driven teams throughout the executive branch are lined with talent from top technology companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter.
This is the second high-profile Facebook employee to move to the White House this year. In March, David Recordon, Facebook’s former engineering director, was named the White House’s director of IT.
“I’m as giddy, wide-eyed, and determined as ever,” Miller writes. “The White House has many digital products — from WhiteHouse.gov to the We the People Petition site. It’s a dream to be able to add to and improve this portfolio.”