Feb 20 - #CodeAcross kick off town hall with Dr. Mashariki, NYC's Chief Analytics Officer

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(Noel Hidalgo) #1

#This just in!!!

To kick off CodeAcross NYC, we are hosting a cocktail reception and town hall interview with New York City’s Chief Analytics Officer, Dr. Amen Ra Mashariki. We are honored to host Dr. Mashariki, a Brooklyn native, graduate of Brooklyn Tech High School, and the former chief technology officer at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Together, we will discuss the future of data within New York City.

As the City’s Chief Analytics Officer, Dr. Mashariki oversees the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA), the City’s open data program, and a squad of top-notch data scientists. Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) works across agencies to better use data and develop innovative solutions that make the city work for all.

##Ask him a question!
We are gathering questions for Dr. Mashariki. Please reply to this topic and add your question to the others we have sourced.

##Introductory Questions

  • Do you have a moment that defined your desire to be a technologist?
  • How has science fiction influenced your vision of technological possibilities?
  • On the road to manager, what advice would you pass along to others?

##The Role of the Chief Analytics Officer

  • What does the CAO do? Why is it needed?
  • How does your role work with the City’s CIO, aka the DOITT Commissioner, and the CTO?

##Policy Questions

  • Which “technology” roadmaps have impressed you and what are you looking to pioneer here in NYC?
  • In three years, what would you like to have accomplished?
  • What is your plan to build a strategic technology plan?

##Technology Infrastructure questions

  • What role does design thinking play in helping to analyze and improve the systems within the NYC government?
  • Do you think NYC government has an obligation to minimize its software procurement cost?
  • If so, what is the role of open source?

##Open Data Questions

  • What is favorite NYC data set?
  • What is the role of government data within community based organizations?
  • What kind of cross-agency resources should be developed to help share data, technology and people across the city’s services?
  • What do you perceive to be the biggest obstacles to releasing data?
  • Creating meaningful open data is a difficult task. Within each Agency, what is the City doing to improve the City’s open data practice?

Don’t forget to ask your question by replying to this message.

RSVP to the kickoff town hall or our weekend festival

(Miranda N.) #3

The RSVP is currently

(Noel Hidalgo) #5

@mirandan247, this has been fixed.


This is probably a better question for Minerva, but since they both work for the same administration…

(Joel Natividad) #7

Four questions:

  • What steps are being taken to encourage “Open Data Dog-fooding” within and between City agencies, so opendata is actually used internally as an integral part of the City’s workflow? It seems that opendata, at the moment, is an additional burden, and is not really an integral part of each agency’s operational environment.

  • Do you see agencies being graded on Open Data and their degree of Dog-fooding so we can actually compute the ROI of Open Data? (see @sahuguet’s Calculus for Open Data). Perhaps, making it a part of the Mayor’s Management Report? Something similar to Mayor de Blasio’s FOIL report?

  • Do you see the City adopting something similar to the Jeff Bezos’ Big Mandate that turned Amazon from an online bookseller to the leading cloud platform powering the vast majority of today’s cloud-based offerings? Here’s the relevant section about the Big Mandate:
  1. All teams will henceforth expose their data and functionality through service interfaces.
  1. Teams must communicate with each other through these interfaces.
  1. There will be no other form of interprocess communication allowed: no direct linking, no direct reads of another team’s data store, no shared-memory model, no back-doors whatsoever. The only communication allowed is via service interface calls over the network.
  1. It doesn’t matter what technology they use. HTTP, Corba, Pubsub, custom protocols — doesn’t matter. Bezos doesn’t care.
  1. All service interfaces, without exception, must be designed from the ground up to be externalizable. That is to say, the team must plan and design to be able to expose the interface to developers in the outside world. No exceptions. (this was the basis of Amazon Web Services - internal APIs that were externalized and eventually, productized)
  1. Anyone who doesn’t do this will be fired.
  1. Thank you; have a nice day!

Ha, ha! You 150-odd ex-Amazon folks here will of course realize immediately that #7 was a little joke I threw in, because Bezos most definitely does not give a shit about your day.

#6, however, was quite real, so people went to work. Bezos assigned a couple of Chief Bulldogs to oversee the effort and ensure forward progress, headed up by Uber-Chief Bear Bulldog Rick Dalzell. Rick is an ex-Army Ranger, West Point Academy graduate, ex-boxer, ex-Chief Torturer slash CIO at Wal*Mart, and is a big genial scary man who used the word “hardened interface” a lot. Rick was a walking, talking hardened interface himself, so needless to say, everyone made LOTS of forward progress and made sure Rick knew about it.

  • What do you think of O’Reilly’s Government as a Platform Vision? Couldn’t the City actually save money by incorporating this into the application lifecycle, effectively decoupling interfaces, so underlying legacy systems can be replaced without disturbing dependent systems?

Proposal: BetaNYC NYC-optimized Community Geocoder
(Sanjay Seth) #8

I met with Dr. Mashariki a while back with some folks from the US Census. Got a good impression – Glad he is at MODA.

Question: What can New York City do to help the entire region adopt a more forward-looking approach to data, analytics, feedback, and engagement? How do we ensure that the entire region can build off and eventually leapfrog NYC’s efforts?


When will the MTA make available real-time schedule data for all the subway lines? There must be some way of collecting this or using operations data so passengers could anticipate arrival times for all the lines via an app. Would be a huge service improvement. Thanks.

(Marc) #10

Hi, My question is somewhat broad but like the word sustainability, rendered virtually meaningless through over-application, does transparency run the risk of falling victim to the same anti-pattern?

What does transparency mean to you? Is open perhaps a better descriptor? Can transparency and openness coexist?

I may have to miss the event due to a previous commitment. Thanks to Joly I can see it! Happy new year everyone!!! See y’all’s over the weekend.

(Marc) #11

Open by design! :+1:

(Brigette Blood) #12

I am interested in measuring the impacts of luxury developments in low income communities. What data sets are accessable to measure this?
Specifically hoping to gather mappable eviction data. What other data sets may indicate impacts of luxury developments in low income communities? Market rents? Loss or rent controlled units? Property tax increases in surrounding areas?

(Joly MacFie) #14

For those that missed it, the archived webcast is at