Podcast: The Director’s Cutts

This week we sit down with Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s Webspam team. His job there was to defend the quality of Google’s web search results, and you may know him as the creator of the first version of SafeSearch. As Paul noted on the show, he was seen as one of the few people  with whom ordinary folks could communicate about the often inscrutable world of Google search results and rankings.  You can read his blog here.

In 2016 Matt joined the United States Digital Services, or USDS, initially at the Department of Defense. Since 2017, Matt has served as the Administrator of USDS and is responsible for setting the overall direction and strategy for projects.  He has worked on everything from Healthcare.gov, to online services for veterans, to fraud prevention at the IRS. 

Topics discussed on this episode: 

The 1993 comedy film Dave, in which Kevin Kline plays a presidential body double who manages to fix government and melt the heart of Sigourney Weaver. 

Open source as an ever growing trend, even inside of big government. 

Which organization has more meetings and processes: Google or the US federal government?

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  1. Thanks for sharing this. I wasn’t aware of the USDS, so this is great news. I’m thrilled to see our government finally giving web technologies the attention they deserve. It’s truly inspiring to have witnessed the renovation of several government sites over the last several years.

  2. One of the negative communication tendencies of techies that I note, and this is my opinion: “Let’s fix the country”. These big claims come from a very enlightening era which is the internet (Communication) and open source development (Collaboration). Obviously things were not that easy before us. So please, consider improving the language. You will not engage with the governor with that appealing confidence and giant ego. Communicating with the governor is not like a late night podcast. This in my opinion grows confidence and makes collective intelligence grow smoother. Finally “this is a podcast”, It does not bother and does not necessarily fall in the case I made earlier, nevertheless, I am pointing out a wide spread phenomena among techies trying to make change in real world.

  3. Government is literally organized crime perfected. Governments are just a gangs of people that steal(tax) and threaten death(laws). There is no making any type of government work better, as stealing is immoral, it is the only immoral act (i.e. stealing life is ‘murder’). Renaming the stealing as “tax”,”citation”,”ticket”,”fine”,”license”,”registration”, etc does not change the act itself. People jump to what government spends the stolen money on, such as “roads”(flat places), “police”(state collection thugs),”military”(overseas thugs), “software” etc. Of course you can steal a percentage of all your neighbors income and do something useful with the money.. you can buy whatever you want once you steal their money.. the point is, stealing is immoral. Spending other people’s money is immoral, no matter how many people vote for it. Nothing is state or federally funded.. THE GOVERNMENT FUNDS NOTHING.. anything the government gives out, it steals from everyone at gunpoint. Don’t worry about big or small.. size of a ruler doesn’t matter; we don’t need rulers, we just need to think and evolve; death threats and stealing should be the very last solution to any problem, but with government rulers, that is their only solution to every problem! Not wearing your seatbelt? Threaten with death! (of course when the guy in a costume and gun with the flashing blue lights pulls you over, I think we all realize it is a death threat.. otherwise no one would stop). If you have an overdeveloped sense of right and wrong, your first thought should be to stop stealing money other people’s money to pay for things. I talk to my neighbors, I work things out, I never call the police ever.. not unless I want a 5 year old with a gun to solve my problem.. which is never. Please wake up, partisan debate between rulers, to pass laws to threaten people with death if they disobey is not the solution to ANY problem. Stop voting for rulers to steal and threaten death, and then begging them to not do those things. Grow up. Ruler yourself, you own yourself, and no one else.. you have no right to vote to threaten death to your neighbors and call it “laws”. Right now your brain may be flipping out because this is simple information is probably contrary to everything you have been taught in the 12+ years of indoctrination in the public child prisons where you are taught to ask permission to do basic bodily functions like going to the bathroom. If you are accepting government money as payment, it is stolen money; you would be more honest just buying a gun and going door to door to your neighbors and stealing from them directly; you are doing the same thing now only in a more cowardly fashion, robbing them indirectly at gunpoint using the government gang. For more information, please read facts and details on how governments are organized crime at understandingourslavery.com; meanwhile, quit your ‘job’ at government, it is criminal. Earn value by providing value, not stealing your neighbors value.

    1. Do you really think that without a central governance, which is chosen by all people in an attempt to represent what they aim for (and not only hoping in there intelligence, but also their faith, I mean boosting there faith each time they vote) is that bad ?
      Could we even build a road ourselves, or agree on any other standard even on the whole globe there were only two genius philosophers with only good aims ?

      1. Democracy is great in a lot of ways but it is focused on the non-technological spaces and has grown up from them. The real power-brokers who control things online — like, for example, freedom of speech — are now a small number of online companies. People get mad if a University (which is usually ultimately answerable both to a student body and to an elected government) no-platforms someone, but Google can do it with impunity and you wouldn’t even know. People cite the 1st Amendment but Twitter can decide at any point you are not allowed to speak at all in their internet geography because you hold an opinion they disagree with or simply feel should not be spoken aloud. Democracy tells us that the views of small elites should not count more than those of the masses, but that the populate be able to elect from such elites. What does Stack Overflow teach us?

      2. Just use the correct words, and the answer will become clear to you; here I’ll translate from your slave-speak language: “Do you really think that without a central gang of criminal rulers stealing from us (tax) and threatening us with death (laws) by people in attempt to have other people pay for things they want with our money, is that bad?” — answer, yes stealing is the only bad thing, it is the only evil, all variations of “bad” are someone using deception or force to steal value. Next sentence translation: “Could we hire the same companies that build roads that the government hires with our money stolen from us, and not waste 99% of that money on murdering goat herders overseas for oil?” — yes we could hire those same road building companies and we’d save a ton of money and the roads would be better.

  4. Wow, some really eye-opening insights in here! I think applying digital institutions at this federal level really could enact a sturdy and progressive wave of service reform to all parts of the country. While it is an underlying fact that the federal government at large can have a hard time mobilizing itself, this should lie the framework for a better holistic demographic of coverage for partisan necessities, and with more groups of individuals proactively reaching out to assert these things, the government should over time become more efficient in providing these things.

  5. Vitaliy Sh. says:

    How do i see the subtitles?

  6. 403 ERROR
    The request could not be satisfied.
    The Amazon CloudFront distribution is configured to block access from your country. We can’t connect to the server for this app or website at this time. There might be too much traffic or a configuration error. Try again later, or contact the app or website owner.
    If you provide content to customers through CloudFront, you can find steps to troubleshoot and help prevent this error by reviewing the CloudFront documentation.

    Generated by cloudfront (CloudFront)

    fix this please, I have already reported it in the past and you said you can’t do anything about it. It’s bothering and something not professional to block specific countries while this website is made for all.

  7. Here are the two sites Matt Cutts referenced at 8:45-8:55 to discover opensourced code:

  8. I know rite
    Your not surprised

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