Following Obama’s farewell address last week, he tweeted:
Thank you for everything. My last ask is the same as my first. I’m asking you to believe—not in my ability to create change, but in yours.
— President Obama (@POTUS) January 11, 2017
As a woman in tech, I am vaguely familiar the struggle for minorities in such a fast paced and absolutely necessary industry, I felt it necessary to pay tribute to the man who has not only inspired multiple demographics, but has also vastly increased the value and support of technology – an industry close to my heart (and paycheck).
Because in only eight years, Obama, you moved mountains in the tech world.
It was you who understood that America’s diversity is our strength.
You secured commitments from institutional investors to commit to increase the diversity and to take steps to attract and retain a diverse student body.
Your administration coordinated more than 30 companies – from Intel to Airbnb – to pledge and increase diversity within their workforces.
Your progressive immigration policies helped the tech sector to attract and retain some of the brightest minds on earth.
By staunchly supporting the free and open exchange of ideas as a seed from which innovation springs, it was you who attracted Silicon Valley veterans to come to Washington and foster a more innovative environment.
You’ve remained a close ally to the startup world throughout your two terms, defending smaller startups against larger monopolies.
You encouraged public investments in research and infrastructure, strengthening America and her citizens.
By recognizing that technology is an essential ingredient of economic growth and job creation, your legacy lives on in the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, bringing together industries, universities, and the government to invest in emerging technologies that will create high-quality manufacturing jobs, ultimately enhancing our global competitiveness.
Though you didn’t reach your original goal for jobs created, you did set the nation on a course towards manufacturing innovation.
Additionally, over your two terms, your administration protected an open Internet, taking steps to get more students and low-income Americans online.
And through the creation of the 18F, agencies now have the much needed help they need to improve how they build and procure technology.
Your fight for net neutrality, alongside the FCC, resulted in giving the commission the authority to police practices potentially harmful to consumers or to competition.
I won’t pretend it was all sunshine and rainbows – remember healthcare.gov? – but the many wins and the path America is (hopefully) going to continue down will stay long after the dust settles on today.
Last but not least, you weren’t afraid to get social – creating the White House’s first Twitter account.
While this may sound arbitrary, you encouraged citizens to petition their government online and helped bridge the gap between the public and the greatest office in the world.
On behalf of the tech sector (and my bank account) thank you.