What’s Next?

After my time as a computer programmer and then helping grow Oracle’s Enterprise Applications business across the Government and Commercial verticals, I’ve spent the last 16 years helping run successful technology companies (some more successful than others). I’ve worked hard and had some luck along the way, both entering and exiting. I’ve also been able to take some time between gigs to be with my family and reenergize. We’ve been able to enjoy a little world travel, but some of the favorites have been our family time in Fiji, Hawaii and Lake Tahoe. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is step back, reset your bearings and be sure you are ready and committed for what’s next.

Now though it’s time to jump back in. Some things have come together better than ever before. I know I’m addicted to growing companies, to striving to be a better leader and a better “executive athlete”. I also know that this next opportunity that has come my way beats all the others hands down (not to offend my friends since the others are great as well, but this one’s different). That’s because it combines a huge opportunity with a solemn duty.

Today we are announcing that I have joined iCitizen as CEO. iCitizen is the accessible and balanced civic engagement platform that transforms the way citizens and elected officials interact. And it is a company that is going to change America!

I love America, and I love solving complex problems. It seems like it has never been more important, for me and for all Americans, to join together to fix our political system. Nothing is more depressing than how money in politics drives a wedge between elected officials and the citizens who put them in office. Nothing is more depressing than how our elected officials seem to care less about what their constituents want than about where they are getting the money to stay in office. This isn’t how America is supposed to work!

Many powerful people like Harvard Professor of Law and Leadership, Lawrence Lessig and Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream are trying to stop money in politics. I think that’s utopian and will only change how the money flows around in politics. We need to make things more transparent!

If we want to see our elected officials focus — and I mean really centered–on the issues their constituents care about most, then we need to make the entire process transparent. I’m talking at every level. This is what iCitizen does. Through iCitizen, citizens can easily track their representatives and the issues they care about most, federal, state and in the future local. iCitizen provides citizens with a new way to know and with new power to act. With iCitizen, the citizen’s voice counts.

We’re living at the dawn of a new political age, and we should be as passionate about getting it right as our Founders were when they established America two centuries ago. They designed a brilliant framework for self-government that is still ours today. Our chapter in that great story is about putting you, the citizen, back at the center of things.

The next generation of informed and connected citizens is here now. It’s the beginning of a new era of transparency in how citizens and their representatives exercise the great responsibility of self-government that our ancestors fought and died for. This is our inheritance.

When I spend that special time with my children, I’m reminded of what I truly want for them and how important it is to add to the inheritance.  Sure, I want to see them confident, well-educated, well-situated in their careers and maybe even leave them some money.  But what I really want is for them to be able to grow up in, and into, a country even greater than the one I have known.  I want them to be informed, engaged and responsible citizens who can keep the show rolling and, in their turn, pass it on.

Parents always hope their children won’t forget the important things we taught them growing up.  As citizens, we need to remember the important things, too.  And as citizens today and tomorrow, we have opportunities that our predecessors could never have imagined. We have at our fingertips the tools to re-engage with our country and our government. We have the tools that will make America work as it was meant to work.

iCitizen is going to make this happen. That’s why I am in this game. It’s a game played for keeps, and we all have to work to win it together.

Please download the 1st version of the app (beta version), do your part and get engaged. You’ll find some amazing things there, and we’ve got a lot more coming soon!

Onward and Upward!

7 Comments

  1. Comment from Shana Ghekiere
    2015-04-23

    Russ,
    I am so glad you are taking a stand on this issue. Good work.
    Shana Lipton

  2. Comment from Dr. Ben
    2015-04-23

    Best of luck on this new adventure Russ. Anything we can do to separate money and politics sounds good to me.

  3. Comment from Robyn Wiggins Winneberger
    2015-04-23

    Congratulations Russ! Reading this puts a smile on my face. What a fantastic opportunity to make a difference! I work for a Member of Congress in North Carolina and have first hand knowledge and 17 years of experience with of the constituents concerns, troubles and their wishes here in the 4th District of NC. Please let me know if you’re ever in NC or if you need any first hand knowledge/feedback. My best wishes to you and your new adventure.
    Sincerely,
    Robyn

  4. Comment from bert sugayan
    2015-04-23

    Congratulations Russ. A worthy and noble venture that’s well-suited for your passions and talents. I look forward to watching this next chapter unfold.

  5. Comment from Bob Barton
    2015-04-23

    This looks very promising Russ!! I hope it accomplishes what you’ve laid out.

  6. Comment from Dale Hruby II
    2015-04-23

    Fantastic news Russ! I’ve been impressed and proud, (as your older cousin), to watch you thrive in your life journey. This seems to be another awesome opportunity for you to lead and effect change in our great country.

  7. Comment from Max Doel
    2017-04-18

    Good news Russ, thanks for this talented article and go ahead for next chapter. Best of luck!

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