Notes and Reflections by feoMike


September 24, 2019

in college, in the fall of 1989, instead of a semester abroad, i signed up for a field geography class studying the public lands management of the colorado plateau. this past weekend, 5 of the 12 of us from that trip gathered in rocky mountain national park as a reunion.


September 24, 2019

my turn in government is now over.i am leaving government service to take a position in the private sector.


October 02, 2018

my turn in government is now over.i am leaving government service to take a position in the private sector.

Better IT Results

March 24, 2018

We don’t change the rules of the procurement game, but we incentivize timeliness over scope creep, change how we plan for implementation, and restructure our vendor relationships to leverage the skills and experience of our dedicated colleagues in public service. Finally, we must articulate why we are prioritizing one project over another and what the boundaries of each project really are.


December 04, 2017

in 1989, i took a semester off from college to take a field geography course out of san francisco state university focusing on public land management. we hiked for 10 weeks in southern utah and northern arizona, the most beautiful country on earth.

tip of the iceberg

May 11, 2016

home mortgage disclosure act data, has been collected more or less with the same elements since 1990. a row in this database is a mortgage application. the volume of rows, without any filters, shows the number of applications for mortgages (originated, denied, or sold etc) in the US per year. it represents not a complete census, but generally speaking the most comprehensive assessment of mortgages annually in this country.

Cold Rain and Snow

February 18, 2016

do you remember the first time that is shook your bones? passion. i don't mean here ecstasy, or some fleeting feeling of flesh; i mean passion; an intense desire or enthusiasm; thirst of life. for me it was april 2, 1987. tonight i was reminded of it.


April 15, 2015

take a look at [this video](http://youtu.be/whwYsr_qTr8). its a high school basketball game. no packed house; not too many people in the stands. jounior varsity even. fairly uneventful, right? a substitution. a missed foul shot. quick run down court. a nice three point, and then a quick foul. nothing of significance really happens in this 44 second video (11.5 seconds of clock time if you are super observant).

cryptic flesh

February 26, 2015

while i in high school i hung up w/ a group of friends who were very smart, and somewhat subversive. these were people from town (i went far away to high school), and a couple of them noticed how fast certain folks grabbed on to a new fad, cool/hip thing or music.


November 01, 2014

i am so amazed by my uncle. my uncle paul, a stalwart in boulder colorado, has recently had a rebirth of music. a friend took him to see la boheme, which so moved him, that he has decided to bestow an endowment on the university of colorado opera program. he is an amazing man, and this gift is just a minor attribution of his character. i am in awe of my uncle, from the time i took him kayaking in the pacific northwest to celebrate personal milestones, to crashing at his house multiple times, or walking with him down pearl street, he personifies what it is to be human. there will be an event at the university of colorado in a week or so highlighting this gift from my uncle, and i am sorry to say i cannot make the event. however, my wife and i will honor my uncle's gift by going to see la boheme at the kennedy center here in dc next week.


July 29, 2014

this past week on npr morning addition, as the often do, they played a conversation from story corps. it was this conversation between a teacher and a former student. this conversation gave me chills. the conversation is between a high school teacher and a past student of his who didn't graduate high school.

the fixie federal IT paradigm

July 12, 2014

the fixie federal IT paradigm says we can strip investment to 1 cog that gives 85% of functions for 10% of its cost.

Great American Cyclists - Subtitle Innovation

July 08, 2014

This is an ignite talk i gave at a staff event. The intent of this talk is really to refresh our understanding of that great american sport, cycling, and tie it all back to our understanding of innovation.


May 24, 2014

for the past couple of weeks i have been reflecting on the last four years at the fcc. i feel, foremost, that we have had the great opportunity to be remarkably successful implementing information technology in federal government (albeit in a niche market of federal it).

its never about technology

November 09, 2013

its been eating at me. the constant tech news. the constant headlines about failed government IT contracting. the constant twitter feed of people telling each other what went wrong; how they know the answer. the constant emails from colleagues with email links to more news articles with more talking heads selling their answer. more hill hearings. all of this conversation misses the mark about what really matters. it is never about technology; it is always about being human.

the issue is the issue

October 07, 2013

good design integrates multiple technologies, and highlights the issue, rather than the implementing technology. we of course need these technologies, we should support and invest in them.

barriers to innovation

October 03, 2013

the antideficiency act is the law currently being invoked for having government employees not work. essentially is says that no one can commit the government to an expense without first having money to spend, as authorized by congress.

what i did on my 2nd furlough day

October 02, 2013

yesterday was my 2nd furlough day in the 2013 government shutdown. three small things happened to me personally yesterday that make me stop and think about the importance of government services. in particular government electronic services and open data drive a significant portion of the american economy.

what i did on my first furlough day

October 01, 2013

yesterday was my first day of furlough in the 2013 government shutdown. during the day i did the following things; watched as my wife go off to work before me for the first time in a long long time;

thoughts on disruption

June 15, 2013

earlier this week, GitHub released a very small piece of code which does one small specific thing; it recognizes a geoJson file in any GitHub repo, and automatically places a readmapbox map under those tiles with simple pan, zoom and identify functions in a web map. it is a remarkably simple feature, which i think significantly disrupts the traditional geospatial market. the end result of this tiny enhancement to GitHub, will, like many disruptions, significantly change the landscape of traditional geospatial practitioners. here's why.

DevEx Days

April 12, 2013

Recently at the FCC, we held an unusual day. We call it D(f)evEx (pronounced as either devex or fedex) Days, and this was our first ever. The idea stems from fedEx, where something needs to be delivered (as in 'to production') in 24 hours; combined with a developer day. We took the opportunity to take a time out for our day to day grind, and promise to each other that we would produce working product in the next 24 hours; in essence a focused day of learning new skills, or honing existing ones, NOT part of our regular duties.

FAA Airport Closures

March 22, 2013

Working on a previous conclusion that perhaps PDFs are not a great way to release data, and that indeed information like this is a) easy to produce and b) very cheap to publish and host as rich interactive content, I took the short time to open this data and make it releasable. Below is the dynamic map which is the result.

Example State Sequester

March 05, 2013

On Sunday, February 25, 2013, the White House released documents detailing the projected costs to states of the upcoming sequester. Several news outlets carried the story, however, only the Huffington Post had links to each individual state document.