TheBridge profile: Michael Daniel
Name: Michael Daniel
Current city: Arlington, VA
Current job: President and CEO, Cyber Threat Alliance
Past job: Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator at the White House
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? Central Coffee in Rosslyn
Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job. I worked for many years as an analyst at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). As an OMB analyst, you have to become an expert on the programs in your assigned area and then explain them to decision makers who aren't experts. You often have to render highly technical programs into non-technical language -- this skill turns out to be highly valuable in cybersecurity.
Q. Job advice in three words? Take your job, not yourself, seriously.
Q. How are you (or your organization) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech / innovation and regulation? At the Cyber Threat Alliance, the staff and I regularly engage with policy makers, business leaders, academics, and others on cybersecurity issues. We promote the development of evidence-based, technologically grounded law, regulation, and policy.
Q. What can innovators learn from policymakers? Innovators can learn how policy gets made, how to influence it effectively, and then how to implement it once a decision is reached -- too often, new policy ideas get adopted only to gather dust instead of being implemented.
Q. What can policymakers learn from innovators? Policymakers can learn about new methods for achieving long-standing goals that open up new possibilities. They can learn how technology can help them with their mission.
Q. Favorite book/podcast/long-form article you recommend? Click Here to Kill Everyone by Bruce Schneier is an excellent primer on the Internet of Things.
Q. Is there a piece of advice that you are still trying to master? Confront personnel issues head on, early. You can be gentle about it, but letting personnel issues fester is a recipe for disaster and you are doing no one any favors by avoiding.
Q. What would you say is the most underrated value in an employee? I’d say, staying calm and being able to communicate in a crisis. Many places value communication skills, but doing it well under pressure is a particularly valuable skill.
Q. Why are you part of TheBridge community? Why do you think it's important this community exists for tech, policy and political professionals? Technology and policy need to be deeply intertwined. Both affect almost every aspect of our lives in the 21st century, so it's extremely important for policy decisions to be grounded in a solid understanding of technology. It is also important for technologists to understand how the policy process works and that it often operates that way for good reasons.
Q. How do you unwind after work? I unwind through physical activity. I study Japanese martial arts, specifically karate-do (and have for over 20 years) and I run.
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