White House Hires Ex-Googler to Make Government Websites Suck Less (We Hope)

Uncle Sam: If at first you don't succeed, hire former Google wizard and HealthCare.gov resurrector Mikey Dickerson to clean up your mess. Again.

learn more about Kim Lachance Shandrow

By Kim Lachance Shandrow

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

From the moment it was born late, HeathCare.gov desperately needed life support. It was practically DOA.

Just six people managed to sign up for health insurance on the site's disastrous launch day last October. It was basically all downhill from there, as one technical hiccup after another further crippled the flawed federal health insurance exchange.

In the public eye, the president's Obamacare baby pretty much flatlined. To bring it back to life, or at least to working order, the White House called in a man named Mikey.

Related: 3 Website-Building Lessons Learned From HealthCare.gov Debacle

His real name is Michael Dickerson, a.k.a. "the invisible man behind Obamacare's tech surge." He's an elite tech sniper, if you will. The former Google site reliability engineer and one-time video game programmer was the lead digital "wizard" on the five-person ad hoc "Trauma Team" that resuscitated HealthCare.gov behind the scenes.

Mikey and his dream team saved the day, even if it was too late for Obama to save face. And now our 44th commander-in-chief is hiring him back again, this time to head up his administration's brand new U.S. Digital Service.

Dickerson's tall task this time: to make sure a huge embarrassment like the HealthCare.gov debacle never goes down again, not on Obama's watch. Technically, in close collaboration with 18F, a new "digital government" unit of the U.S. General Services Administration, he'll be identifying, diagnosing and fixing Uncle Sam's worst websites and computer services. The White House provides a detailed description of the massive find-and-fix undertaking here.

Related: Obama Compares Health-Care Enrollment Glitches to Apple iOS 7 Bugs

This isn't the second time Dickerson will clock hours for Obama. Actually, it's the third.

Before Dickerson's near eight-year stint at Google's Mountain View headquarters, he worked for Obama for America for five months back in 2012. He apparently prefers not to label the role he played in the reelection effort, entering "No Fancy Title, Thanks" on the section describing the experience on LinkedIn. He was part of a three-person team that designed and rolled out the president's real-time Election Day monitoring and modeling system.

He also hatched fancy algorithms for "targeting national TV cable ads to party preference and behavior and the tool that was used to do it."

Related: White House Brings On Microsoft Executive to Fix HealthCare.gov

Kim Lachance Shandrow

Former West Coast Editor

Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change
Innovation

The Greasy, Glamorous Rise of Mascara

You won't believe the grimy gunk people used to smear on their eyelashes -- and still do.

Business News

Police: 82-Year-Old Woman Found Alive at New York Funeral Home After Being Pronounced Dead

The woman was found breathing almost three hours after she was pronounced dead.

Business News

'Our Kids Aren't Even Safe To Order Food': Mother Outraged After DoorDash Employee Uses App to Flirt With Teen Daughter

One mom is going viral on TikTok after catching a DoorDash employee attempting to flirt with her 15-year-old daughter through the messaging service provided through the platform.

Business News

An NFL Rookie Scores a $514,000 Jackpot in Las Vegas

Los Angeles Rams running back Ronnie Rivers sat down to play 3-card poker and left a half million dollars richer.

Business News

'Completely Absurd': The Average U.S. Male Can't Fit Into Universal Studio's New 'Blatantly Fatphobic' Mario Kart Ride

Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge formally opens to the public as a part of Super Nintendo World inside of Universal Studios Hollywood on February 17.

Business Ideas

How to Make Thousands of Dollars on the Side As a Virtual Assistant

Apply your skills and experience to create a lucrative virtual assistant side hustle or full-time business.