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Andrew McLaughlin Leaves Civic Commons for Tumblr

BY Nick Judd | Monday, December 5 2011

Andrew McLaughlin in 2008. Photo: Joi Ito/Flickr

Andrew McLaughlin has left the open-source-in-government nonprofit Civic Commons to join Tumblr, he told techPresident today.

The former Google director of global public policy and White House deputy chief technology officer starts at Tumblr today. He has been serving as Civic Commons' executive director since April, working next to Civic Commons managing director Nick Grossman. Grossman will take over the reins at Civic Commons, which reaches out to local governments to help them open-source existing technology projects so that other governments can use their work, change procurement rules to make it easier to use open-source solutions rather than proprietary ones, and find open-source projects that would suit their needs.

Tumblr burst into political awareness last month when it joined the campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act by rolling out a variety of design-heavy stunts to draw its users attention to the pending legislation in Congress and urge them to contact their legislators to voice their disapproval of the bill. It was an unprecedented level of political advocacy for Tumblr, and a united front from Internet companies that have built their businesses on individual Internet publishing, sharing and remixing — an industry that lives and breathes thanks to fair use and the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

After helping to get Civic Commons off the ground this year, securing foundation building a team that spans a trinity of civic-technology-focused nonprofits — Civic Commons as well as Code for America and OpenPlans, which have been jointly incubating the nonprofit — it's time to move back to the private sector, McLaughlin wrote in a blog post on the Civic Commons blog:

So it’s now time for me to head back to the private sector. I’m joining Tumblr, an innovative company that to me embodies the best of what the Internet makes possible. I’ll be Tumblr’s Vice President, focusing on international growth and community building.

I’m pleased to announce that the new Executive Director of Civic Commons is Nick Grossman. Nick is a brilliant, energetic, and thoughtful leader with deep experience in, and infectious enthusiasm for, civic technology, government innovation, open data and open standards, and collaborative software development. Nick is the ideal person to lead Civic Commons beyond the launch phase and into an era of sustained, high-leverage, globally-significant projects like the Civic Commons Marketplace.

McLaughlin will remain on the Code for America board, he wrote, "doing everything I can to ensure that Civic Commons gets the participation (and the resources) it needs to do its enormously important work, here in the U.S. and around the world."

This post has been updated.

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