While Adams signed a bill to create a national observatory before leaving office in 1829, it wasn’t until 1830 that a “Depot of Charts and Instruments” was created by the Secretary of the Navy. This eventually became the U.S. Naval Observatory, a decade later.The institution was funded by Congress 1842, in no small part due to the efforts of President John Quincy Adams, who served for nearly two decades in Congress after he left the White House. Adams was perhaps the Naval Observatory’s strongest contemporary political supporter and spent considerable time there with Maury, looking up at the stars.
Thursday was my last day at O’Reilly Media. The past three years have been extraordinary. No other professional experience I’ve had even comes close to matching it.
Tim gave me the opportunity to have an impact on the world in the spring of 2010 and I took it and ran with it for all that I was worth. I started my career at O’Reilly by interviewing Tim Berners-Lee, live on the Internet, and I finished by sharing the stage with Al Gore and Madeline Albright at Stanford, albeit in a non-speaking role. (Recognize that young looking fellow below?)
As I’ve navigated the corridors of power in DC, statehouses, boardrooms and legislatures around the world, O’Reilly’s name and reputation opened doors everywhere. I lost count of the number of times that I pinched myself during my travels.
I also lost count of the number of the hundreds of articles I wrote over the years, bracketed by videos, annotated pictures, and tens of thousands of tweets and status updates on Facebook, Google+, Tumblr and other services. My wonderful editor, Mac Slocum, encouraged me to use the Web and social media as a platform for narrative expression, increasing the surface area for ideas and amplifying the work of people innovated at the edges of society and social change.
I was blessed with brilliant, supportive colleagues who approached collaboration and work with purpose, good humor and wit. I’m deeply grateful for all of the advice, mentorship, teamwork and wisdom that they offered over the years.
I enjoyed the support of an amazing executive team when I spoke truth to power and pushed for change on important issue. Few companies would have provided the degree of editorial freedom and institutional support that I had from my very first day. I saw the work we did together had a positive effect upon the world, from Israel to Africa to Australia to Australia to San Francisco — and I heard about it from people in those places and many more. I’m deeply honored to have spent this time with O’Reilly.
Briefing the president and cabinet of Moldova about the Internet and the next generation of open government remains a highlight, as was my interview of the prime minister of Georgia and delivering remarks in front of the Brazilian Congress. There are also thousands of other moments and memories that I treasure that will never be as public but will be remain important to me in the years to come. Thank you all for your confidence and trust.
My email address at oreilly.com may no longer be a secure direct connection to but I welcome your news, tips and ideas through more than a dozen social media channels.
I’ll have more to share with the world about “what’s next” for in the days and weeks to come. For now, I’m looking forward to becoming a father for the first time in about 40 days.
Thank you to each and every one of you who have read, commented, replied, retweeted, reshared, picked up the phone and offered your time for interviews and reflections.
I look forward to seeing you online and around the world.
This afternoon, I gave a talk on open data journalism at the Developing the Caribbean Conference at the University of the West Indies, Mona in Jamaica. The diGJamaica liveblog captured the discussion. Video may be available later. For now, my presentation is embedded below, with many links inside of it.