Health IT

4 Todd Park trademarks that make him and his speeches so inspiring

Even if you think President Obama has done nothing good for the county, you do have to give him credit for getting Todd Park to join the government.

Park was promoted last month to Chief Technology Officer of the nation and is a passionate advocate for entrepreneurs and private enterprise. If you haven’t heard him speak, put it on your short list of things to do. Even Tim O’Reily admits to a mancrush on the guy

After reading many interviews and watching him inspire audiences at both SXSW  and the Healthbox Investor Day, I’ve noticed these four verbal trademarks that make him such a dynamic speaker.


1. Data liberacion! (Spanish accent and ‘charge!’ gesture required) – One of Park’s missions is to get government data out of PDFs, bureaucratic clutches and other impossible-to-access places and into the hands of entrepreneurs. He often reminds people of the impact of the government’s decision to make publicly available data from NOAA and GPS satellites. Park’s unshakable faith in the ability of entrepreneurs to find solutions to the country’s healthcare problems starts with access to data (hear it at 1:39 mark of the video).

2. Machinereadableform (alloneword) – #1 only works if you’ve got #2 as well. When he’s talking about his work, Park roams the stage and speaks quickly. The first time he says, “machinereadableform,” you have to be paying attention to get this crucial point. Comments like  “market the bejesus out of the data” and “turn it into awesomeness” help keep you paying attention too.

3. “May the force flow strongly in you.” It’s hard to imagine another government leader as plugged in to geek culture as Park. He sprinkles his speeches with references that you have to be in the know to appreciate. He used the Star Wars comment to wish the Healthbox companies well and he quoted William Gibson earlier in his speech, “The future is already here it’s just not evenly distributed.”

4. “Thank you.” – Park says he has never been more optimistic about the future of healthcare in America and he credits this to coders, doctors, nurses, patients, and businesspeople working to make healthcare more affordable and more accessible. He makes you want to find a codeathon or an app challenge or even a government job to be part of the effort. It’s rare to find someone who recognizes the value of both government and private enterprise, and who can make you feel patriotic for doing innovative work in either spac

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