Get Out of The Office

Nick Sinai
3 min readApr 26, 2024

Nick Sinai Fed 100 Eagle Award Remarks 4/24/24

Thank you Casey for that introduction! And thank you to the entire Gov Exec and FCW team for hosting such a wonderful evening.

In my book, Hack Your Bureaucracy, the very last line was a thank you to my firecracker of a wife, Christine. Marriage is all about learning from your mistakes. So let me start these remarks with a thank you to Christine for being such a tremendous partner in life. Thank you to all the spouses and partners who are here today, and often sacrifice so much.

Let me tell you a quick story. Last year, I had the privilege of visiting US Central Command. General Kurilla, the commander, invited a handful of startup CEOs and VCs out for an innovation tour in the region.

We spent almost two weeks touring bases in the Middle East including Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iraq. We saw operations centers. We walked the ships’ decks and spent time on flight lines. But most importantly, we spent real time with Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Guardians, and Coast Guardmen.

I was inspired by the young servicemembers I met in the CENTCOM region. They were far from home, yet they brought a spirit of innovation with them. We saw an Army first sergeant determined to improve the administrative processing of troops; an army dentist 3D printing teeth so troops can stay focused on their mission, and a young Navy Lieutenant experimenting with Starlink to connect unmanned surface vessels. All of them were determined to do their job the best they could.

And yet I also saw frustrated servicemembers using systems that still run on Windows 7. I saw poor network connectivity and legacy, siloed systems. We talk a lot about AI in this town, but the brave servicemembers I saw would have settled for some automation and integration.

I tell this story because this trip helped renew my passion for government modernization — not abstractly, but very concretely for the Americans who are serving today, doing the best they can with the systems and software they have today. We owe all of our frontline public servants — both in the military and in civilian agencies — the tools they need to do their jobs.

The trip also reminded me of that important saying: get out of the office.

For the gov and industry leaders here tonight — I would challenge you to get out of the office. Go spend time with your frontline employees and customers. How many hours this month or this quarter have you done that?

I’ve been fortunate to spend time in government, industry, and academia. It has helped me see multiple points of view, and learn even more acronyms.

To my friends in federal government, I would remind you to have empathy for the people hustling to help you find a better way forward. Transparency about your needs and process goes a long way.

To my friends in industry, I’d urge you to find a way to truly understand the mission, and recognize the complexity of the bureaucracy that even the most devoted buyer has to navigate successfully.

To my friends in Academia, I’d remind you that policy is only words on a page, and that execution, and the people who execute it, is what matters.

I’m proud to work at Insight Partners, where I’ve been for almost a decade. We have over 100 portfolio companies doing business with government. I’m excited to see the federal government increasingly using modern commercial software to improve government and better deliver services for the American people.

As Casey noted, I’m also passionate about the people side of government. Always keep recruiting was my motto when I was in gov. I guess I never stopped.

I’m excited that Chris Kuang, a co-founder of the U.S. Digital Corps is being recognized tonight as a Fed 100 winner. Chris, and his brilliant co-founder Caitlin Gandhi, took a simple idea at the beginning of the administration and turned it into a heralded program with almost 100 technologists across twenty federal agencies. Ideas are easy; execution is hard.

I’m truly honored to be included here tonight, among so many people that I respect. A huge congrats to all of the winners here today. I’m looking forward to working together.



Nick Sinai

Senior Advisor at Insight Partners; Adjunct Faculty at Harvard; former US Deputy CTO at White House; Author of Hack Your Bureaucracy