Rachel Sterne Takes New York

Rachel Sterne
Rachel Sterne

Did NYC just buy an $115,000 marketing campaign?

If you follow the blogosphere, you’ve probably already heard some of the buzz about Rachel Sterne, the newly minted Chief Digital Officer (CDO) for the City of New York.

From the straight ahead article on WNYC.org “The Woman Upgrading Bloomberg’s Government: Rachel Sterne” to the slightly more spicy article on The Observer, “Everybody Calm Down About Rachel Sterne, For Chrissakes” ), people—or at least the press--seem duly interested in the first paid CDO for a major city.

My interest is less on her credentials, her salary ($115,000) or her young age (27)—hey, anyone that manages to rise above the crowd at any age has already achieved something. My interest is what she plans to do for business and how she plans to do it.

In a telephone interview with Ms. Sterne and her handlers, the message I got was loud and clear: “public-private partnerships”. What exactly does that mean? It means that Ms. Sterne plans to tap private companies to come up with good ideas for delivering—and receiving—content and information with the residents of City of New York. In exchange, they will get free publicity (my words) for partnering / helping the city. By doing these public-private partnerships Ms. Sterne hopes to save the city money. How much money? Not clear. What digital platforms will she use? Not willing to commit or name names. What companies does she plan to partner with—big or small? That is not entirely clear yet either. But, with over 40 articles written about her and her new job, over 12k followers on Twitter and nearly 1100 followers on Quora—if buzz counts, the city is in the black.

Here are some of the business related comments I have found that are associated with Rachel Sterne:

On Quora:

Q: What are the best tools for crowdsourcing ideas?

A: Rachel Sterne: NYC Chief Digital Officer

A few I know of : All Our Ideas, Quora, Challenge Post, Facebook.

Q: Have Mayor Bloomberg’s administration’s moves to promote technology entrepeneurship in New York had real results?

A: Danny Rosen

Off the cuff: If you take a look at the trends, New York is becoming the next Silicon Valley. Google bought an entire building, Foursquare and a ton of other new startups are starting out from there. It seems as though something is moving technology east. If it's Bloomberg or not remains to be proven.

On Twitter:

TomMcGr Tom McGreevy

congrats to New York City for appointing @rachelsterne as Mayor's Chief Digital Officer. if #Toronto could only be as progressive...

ElleCommElle Communications

RT @fashionweeknyc: Congratulation to Rachel Sterne @rachelsterne The New Chief Digital Officer of NYC! Let's Bring Real time Fashion to NYC


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