I am on a break so rather out of the loop, but just heard the news about Rohan Silva leaving No.10.
Rohan was (or rather is until June) David Cameron’s special advisor and is one of the architects of the Coalition’s tech-friendly policies. As a behind-the-scenes operator his is not a name widely known outside of tech circles, but he deserves a huge credit for what he has achieved.
He is the third of what one might call “the big three” such advisors. First to go, when his boss got kicked out of office, was Nicolas Princen, who was Sarkozy’s man. That Sarkozy finally woke up to the importance of the internet at the very end of his tenure is, in no small part, due to Nicolas.
For most of Sarkozy’s presidency France was a byword for being a reactionary force as far as the net is concerned; this is the home of the Hadopi law after all. But there was a distinct change in the Elysee culminating in the absurd, but nonetheless significant, eG8. Significant because, ridiculous as it was, it was the first time the G8 had bee, albeit tenuously, associated with innovation.
And it got Sarkozy a nice pic of him shaking hands with Zuck for his Facebook page, which after all was the real aim.
As far as I know, Hollande has not replaced him.
Then more recently the stepping down of Alec Ross as the special advisor for innovation at the US State Department. He is the primes inter pares of the three.
His role in spreading technology around the world as a force for democracy is largely unknown but I am sure in time he will be given the credit he is due. To have someone with his understanding, and his sheer intellect, in that role was hugely significant.
Alec is well known on the conference circuit even here in Europe, he spoke at DLD and LeWeb amongst others.
All three are, I understand, going into the private sector to pursue entrepreneurial ambitions. And perhaps that is a good thing. What the public sector needs is the loan of talent and firepower on a short term, especially in such influential slots. But such talent is seldom going to find a permanent home in the public sector; it is too slow, too bureaucratic. Don’t expect many of these people to be drawing their civil service pensions.