Politicians have historically left Washington to land cushy jobs on Wall Street. But as the alpha males of banking have decamped to California in pursuit of startup riches, Washington's revolving door increasingly opens to Silicon Valley, not Wall Street. Now techies are charming the latest D.C. free-agent: former Obama flack Jay Carney.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is reported interested in bringing Carney in to fight the taxi industry. Carney would fill the role of a senior executive tasked with "[battling] the entrenched forces mustered by Kalanick's dreaded taxi industry."
Kalanick is still looking [to fill the position], having talked to other political players such as former Obama White House press secretary Jay Carney (whose name is also being bandied about for the other big job opening in tech PR, at Apple).
Apple fanboys are abuzz with the possibility of adding Carney to the company's corporate ranks. But Apple blogger Jim Dalrymple of The Loop casts doubt on the rumor. According to his sources, "Tim Cook has never even met Jay Carney."
He may not have shaken hands with Apple's chief executive. However, a source told Valleywag that Carney was in Silicon Valley just days after leaving his post at the White House. The source said that on June 27th, Carney visited a dozen or so startups. On his tour of the Bay Area tech scene, he held short meet-and-greets with founders and employees, handing out business cards like Tic Tacs. But the source noted his visit was otherwise "totally uneventful."
He claims that he's just exploring his next move. Has wife and kids in DC and wants to continue to explore journalism. He had a wedding [that] weekend in the area so he was checking out some of his friend's portfolio companies.
A former White House official joining the tech industry is not unprecedented. Last year, Carney's predecessor Robert Gibbs opened a new startup communications firm in Washington D.C. with two other Obama advisors. Gibbs' firm employs tech-friendly rhetoric to sell their services, writing "We've built the most successful startup in political history" in reference to Obama's presidential campaign.
It also wouldn't be the first time Uber flipped a government official. In May, Uber signed on New York's deputy taxi commissioner as a corporate fixer. But pulling in Carney, with over three years of White House experience, would stand to be Uber's biggest governmental hire yet.